Tasty times ahead as cookery students return to campus

Date: 22 June 2020

From international cuisines like Korean barbequed meat to fancy liver pâté, delectable dishes are being whipped up at Bendigo TAFE’s training kitchens as commercial cookery students return to campus to complete their practical learning.

This comes after eight weeks of remote learning, which included a combination of virtual classroom, home-based cooking and theory assessment tasks, in response to COVID-19 restrictions.

A range of safety measures has been implemented to support the students’ return to campus, including re-arranging the kitchen to allow ample social distancing, staggering group work and providing sanitisers and personal protective equipment as required.

For 51-year-old Certificate III in Commercial Cookery (SIT30812) student Tony Buckle, remote learning offered unique opportunities to learn in a new way.

“Our teacher did a lot of work to help with the home learning, like providing YouTube video examples and opportunities to explore websites to develop ideas and recipes. Every week it was clear what the outcome would be for each module and it all worked really well. I cooked things I would never have normally cooked. That’s the beauty of this course; it gets you out of your comfort zone,” said Tony, who is enrolled at the Echuca campus.

But there are many positives with returning to practical learning in Bendigo TAFE’s training kitchen.

“Getting hands-on experience is very important for commercial cookery; you can’t learn everything online,” said Tony who, after years of work as an automotive engineer, is pursuing a cooking qualification and a vision to open his own restaurant.

“There’s camaraderie in learning with my classmates; we work with each other and share tips.

“There’s also a big difference in cooking with home appliances and using commercial equipment. On my first day back on campus I used the Robot Coupe, which is an industrial blender, to make a liver pâté.”

Bendigo TAFE CEO Sally Curtain said significant work has been undertaken, and continues to be underway, to reintroduce students and staff to campus.

“As the Victorian Government has recently highlighted, TAFE is a key part of the vocational education sector with a critical role to play in the post-pandemic world to build skills and ensure students become job-ready,” she said.

“As an essential service, Bendigo TAFE has continued to operate and teach during the pandemic, just in a different way. We are very appreciative of our dedicated educators and students who have responded and adapted so positively to the new teaching and learning environment.

“We have everyone’s health and safety at heart and take guidance from the Government as we reintroduce our students and staff to campus in a staggered, methodical way.

“This means theory being completed through online classes and practical assessments on campus in smaller numbers with strict social distancing measures and personal protective equipment as required.”