Telling your teacher your dog ate your homework is an old excuse for not getting your work done, but some Iowa State students are hoping to tell their professors that fellow students ate their work. Beginning students in Iowa State’s culinary science program are allowed to create recipes for dishes that could be put on the menu for fellow students.
Program coordinator, Erica Beirman, says it’s part of the skills learned in their introductory course where they become actual chefs and cooks. She says rotate through all the dining areas, learning knife skills and equipment to get an idea how a large-scale operations flows. Bierman says midway through the semester they can bring in a favorite recipe and work with the chefs to get it approved.
Bierman says the students have to know everything it takes to feed a big group of hungry students. Bierman says they learn preparation techniques for large scale operations, proper equipment utilization, labor utilization. The students start by making the dish for 20 students, and get feedback. They then take the feedback and improve the recipe to serve a larger group. They have to learn how to take the recipe and turn it into something that can be used to feed a big group, while maintaining its appeal.
“A pinch of pepper in a recipe for eight people versus a pinch of pepper for a recipe for 80 — when you multiply that up sometimes you don’t want quite that much,” Bierman says. She says they have to learn you can’t always just multiply the amount of spice you use, you may have to add the spice based on taste for a larger serving. The program is new to I-S-U, and last year they came up with their first student created recipe.
She says a student created a Cyclone pasta with red and yellow peppers that show off the school colors, and they’ve also created some recipes for the Iowa Soy Foods Council. Bierman says creating the recipes gives students great hands on experience in dealing with food issues, while getting direction from professionals.
Bierman says the students get to utilize the input of the chefs on campus, which she says is a unique aspect of the course.
If the recipes prove to be tasty, and cost effective to adapt to a large scale use, they are put in the dining hall rotation. Bierman says the culinary science program has gotten more and more interest from students, and she credits the popularity of the cooking shows on television for part of that popularity. She says there are now 50 students in the program.