School cookery lessons have often been accused of being neglected, but now a Cambridge exam board has turned to the man behind snail porridge and bacon ice cream to help revamp the curriculum.
Eccentric chef and food scientist Heston Blumenthal has teamed up with the OCR board to draft a new GCSE, which it hopes will get more youngsters engaged with cooking.
Blumentham, whose Fat Duck restaurant has received three Michelin stars, launched the new Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE at The Waitrose cookery school in London on 18th April and Mrs Allen from All Saints School was fortunate to attend participating with the man himself by cooking steak alongside Heston and his chef Otto from The Fat Duck. Workshops included the use of eggs as a ‘raising agent in Italian meringue and filleting round and flat fish. The Fat Duck team also gave a demonstration using liquid nitrogen to make sensory analysis exciting along with satsumas and orange oil.
He said: “My own passion for food began with questioning everything about the science behind cooking – which is what we need to encourage kids to do in schools. “Helping them to understand why eggs make a soufflé rise or liquid nitrogen produces smoother ice cream makes a massive difference. “It’s how they get engaged, learn and develop the confidence to experiment and get creative in the kitchen.”
OCR, which is part of the Cambridge Assessment group, has devised a draft of the new exam, which is set to start next year, with the first exams taking place for Year 11 students in schools in 2018. It has been developed by the organisation’s Cambridge-based subject specialist Sandra Marsh. She told the News: “Heston is working with us in a couple of ways; he is part of the promotion, talking to kids and getting everyone aware of the subject and giving it a higher profile.”
He has also worked on a series of explanatory educational videos to be shown in the classroom, while his ‘Heston’s hints’ will be included in a new textbook to accompany the course. Ms Marsh said: “The new course will focus on nutrition, which is very important, and pupils will be looking at the chemical properties of food. “It also covers food provenance, which looks at the global problems and challenges we face to feed the world safely and nutritionally.”
She added: “The technical cooking skills have not gone but have become more of a challenge; skill levels now are things like deboning a chicken and filleting fish for example. “It’s a lot to ask from teachers, but the feedback is teachers are really keen. They really need this subject to be revamped in order to be more successful.
Mrs Allen spent time chatting with Heston and he explained to her how Mans evolution and development was closely linked to the foods we ate throughout our human history. He is very concerned about the diet of today’s children, the links to obesity and diabetes and our children’s future health.
Mrs Allen can be seen with Heston on the news and she has a cheeky selfie on her phone to help her remember this truly inspiring day.
Read more: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Heston-Blumenthal-helps-Cambridge-exam-board/story-27737902-detail/story.html#ixzz46DI1YSbZ
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