WSU Access, Host Programs Host Insider WSU University Cooking Class
What do you get when you make pizza, pumpkin and chocolate chip muffins, and ice cream on a Saturday?
Plates and bowls of delicacies plus an introduction to college-level science, if you’re a lucky high school student who attended a virtual cooking class hosted by the Office of Academic Engagement (OAE) at State University of Washington and the School of Hospitality Business Management (HBM).
For three hours, dozens of OAE students across the state followed in their own home kitchens as three HBM instructors in chef white worked in front of cameras set up in the commercial kitchen of Todd Hall at Carson College of Business. . OAE is part of the Academic Engagement and Student Success Division (DAESA) at the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.
HBM instructors have demonstrated everything from knife safety to chemical and biological dough expansion reactions of leavening agents. The students – many of whom had never cooked before – learned things like thermodynamics, like how heat and energy turn sticky pasta into tasty treats.
“This WSU Saturday experiment showed high school kids that literally science happens every day and that it can be fun, even in something as routine as making food from scratch,” he said. said Giselle Verduzco, a major in human development psychology, works with students at Bremerton High School and Hudson’s Bay High School in Vancouver as part of the OAE College Access Programs (CAP).
Ingredients for success
The primary audience were high school students from five schools participating in Cougs Rise, a federally funded OAE TRIO program that works with low-income first-generation students as they prepare to make the transition to college.
“We thought that cooking food together would be a new way to introduce STEM topics at the college level while also showing how WSU classes – in this case hospitality – give students science lessons in a unique and hands-on way,” said Jamie Callison, HBM Executive Chef and Director of the Marriott Foundation Hospitality and Culinary Innovation Center.
“Every semester we host at least one experiential learning adventure for our Cougs Rise students,” said Ray Acuña-Luna, Director of OAE CAP. “The idea of partnering with HBM chefs was the perfect recipe for success.”
OAE and HBM worked closely together to plan the class. Cesar Munguia, Araseli Solorio and Dani Neeld, OAE coordinators for Acuña-Luna and Cougs Rise, discussed the best ways to engage students and refined project and learning objectives. HBM designed recipes, detailed a lesson plan and assembled the necessary elements.
Develop a taste for science
“We have designed a menu to show that everyone is engaged with science every time they cook something,” said Jason Butcherite, HBM Chef. “We also harnessed aspects of nutrition in this real-time experiment.”
The science of leavening agents in baking was a big part of the lesson. They cause doughs and doughs to expand by releasing carbon dioxide and gases into the mixtures. The yeast in the pizza dough, the baking powder and soda in the pumpkin muffin batter, and the air infused into the cold ice cream mixture proved the team’s points.
“There was a lot of discussion of chemistry, physics, and microbiology in this course,” said HBM Ph.D. student Jessica Murray. “Energy. Hot and cold temperatures. Contraction and structure of gluten. Impact of fiber on the gut microbiota. Macronutrients and calories. And then, at the end, everyone was able to eat the products of the lessons.
Acuña-Luna said the cooking class was such a success that OAE and HBM look forward to future collaborations. Some CAP students visiting the campus in the summer might be surprised, he said.