The Pied Piper of Kitchens – but the kids are holding knives

This year, my school has decided to focus on literacy. Literacy across all subjects to ensure improvement in writing skills due to Queensland *finally!* joining the rest of Australia in conducting external examinations for Seniors. As part of this program, we as teachers, are being encouraged to also write a lot more and experience what our students are experiencing. This then led to an ad-hoc poem written during one of our staff meetings which I bravely shared with my fellow teachers.


Lessons start calmly.

So calm, that you might be fooled into thinking that disaster does not loom in the background.

They are keen. Excited even!

They get organised…

Hair tied back. Hands washed and dried.

Aprons on. Equipment out.

They wait for the signal to being.

It’s like they’ve heard a gunshot and they are off to the finish line!

Whereas, I?

As alert as a bloodhound.

Reminding students to be safe.

“Say behind when you walk past someone!”

“Tuck your fingers in.”

“No…no! Do not put metal in the microwave!”

The squeals from oil splattering.

The moans of pain from singed thumbs and slightly dismembered fingers.

The green faces at the thought their dish could be partly for a cannibal.

Eventually, it all ends.

The knives are put away.

The benches are clean.

The food is packed away to enjoy at the end of the day.

And how do I feel?

Like Pied Piper with the occasional bunch of Gremlins that sometimes gets splashed with water.


The universe of diversification

First of all, I would like to tip my hat to one of the blogs that I have been following by Ian Wade. His ideas on diversification and some of the things that he has been using in his classes have been a large inspiration for this professional development video. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen myself on video and also awhile since I’ve had to do any kind of professional development since I’ve been buried in books for the last few months studying for my masters. So I’d really like to know what you think!


Did I meet my objectives? Did I help you guys learn about diversification through the video?

Was the information  useful to you? How so?

Did it seem like I understood the topic? Did I communicate clearly?

Was the setting, the time and the format appropriate for the information that I was delivering?

So I made this thing called a Prezi…

Ever heard of Prezi’s? If so, you are a little behind the times 🙂 I discovered this baby quite a number of years ago and from time to time come in to dabble and look at amazing things that people have done with it. I must say that in comparison to this, my level of proficiency is nowhere near the advanced level, but I think I’ve done alright, don’t you? The students definitely love seeing what it does! Have you used Prezi before? How did you find it?

Ever played with pop rock candy?

Let me remind you of a guessing game that I posted up a few days ago….


Just looking at it you more than likely wouldn’t have any idea what it was. Except it does look like a dessert and it has been deliberately made to look like a flower pot. This dessert, in fact, caused the best faces being pulled at a dinner table I have ever seen. Why? Because I never told my guests that there were pop rocks in it. Adults suddenly became children as surprise was overcome with giggling delight as memories from childhood games filtered through their minds while eating this scrumptious pot of chocolate gold. Albeit it was messy, I didn’t think how much mess the “crumb” would make on the table but it was definitely worth it!

So where did this idea come from? My love, Heston of course!

Exploding Chocolate Gateau Starts from 6:40. I’ve used almost the exact same recipe though it has been turned on it’s head to look like a flower pot and because I didn’t have a spray gun!

Of course this morphed into a multitude of ideas to be used in the classroom and enabled my students to come up with ways of using unusual ingredients in their cooking.

Have you ever used pop rocks in your cooking before? How did you use them? I’d like to know!

If you haven’t… how would you use them? What weird and wonderful ideas can you come up with?

For the love of the game

There is something about the adrenalin of service that people whom have never worked in Hospitality will never understand.

I was reminded of this while watching Masterchef last night. Three contestants had to attempt Christy Tania’s Mango Alfonso in three hours.


The recipe has 10 elements, over 30 ingredients, numerous advanced cooking techniques and just to throw a spanner in the works, let’s make them do a bit of molecular gastronomy as well. This recipe would make most experienced chefs balk in horror. Let alone if you are an amateur cook. However, if you love your adrenalin, you would have loved the opportunity to take this recipe on.

I’m not naturally a competitive person. I’m more bookish than anything else but there is something about food challenges and service that really gets my heart pumping. As I sat there watching them do the task I couldn’t help but be immersed and reminded about what it is like to work in Hospitality all over again. It is very competitive. But it’s not about competing with anyone else…

Hospitality is a competition with yourself.

It’s about seeing how well you can handle…


time limitations,

constant tests of memory when it comes to recipes and orders,




a rushed environment,

being on your feet for at least 8 hours a day,

dealing with a variety of people,

the crazy hours,

the back breaking work

and having enough faith in yourself that you are not going to beat yourself up over mistakes that you might make along the way.

It’s about learning how to pick yourself back up after those mistakes that make or break you in commercial kitchens.

It is a special kind of person that can handle working in those conditions.

This is why I loved working in Hospitality.

This is why I love teaching it now.

If you can make it in a kitchen, you can make it anywhere.

Why do you love Hospitality?