What Are Mistakes That Novice Culinary Instructors Make?

If you are new in the field and are working as a novice instructor in a culinary school, beware that you don’t make these common mistakes.

Mistake 1 – Thinking that teaching is just about being able to cook.

Teaching the culinary arts is not just about teaching someone how to cook, it’s about a lot more. From the way a student holds a knife, right to proper etiquette in the kitchen, there are many skills that culinary instructors need to teach. In addition, they need to introduce their students to the different ingredients used in the kitchen, meats, vegetables, spices, herbs, seasonings and so much more, and how each of these different ingredients play a role in the overall dish. Not only do students need to learn how to use these different ingredients, they also have to understand the proper cooking time and temperature for each ingredient so that everything can be cooked properly at just the right moment.

A culinary instructor has to teach their students more than just one or two recipes; it is important that they are able to show them all of the components involved with creating an entire meal. All of this takes time and patience which often times novice instructors may lack due to their inexperience as culinary professionals. After getting thrown into teaching situations without having had enough experience themselves first, soon arises frustration on both sides of the student-instructor relationship where learning doesn’t happen because no one’s expectations are met.

Mistake 2 – Not enough planning for the class.

Planning what they are going to teach in each and every class is important as a culinary instructor as it is for any other profession. Planning ahead of time ensures efficient and effective use of class time. By planning out exactly what will go in each lesson not only does it help create a level playing field between you and your students but also helps everyone stay focused throughout the lesson.

Mistake 3 – Too much talking and not enough demonstration of cooking techniques.

Culinary arts are all about practical lessons and therefore when an instructor talks more than he or she demonstrates, the students tend to lose interest and quickly become disengaged. When demonstrating techniques, it’s best to do so slowly as this helps the students better understand what they are doing wrong.

Mistake 4 – Teaching too many recipes at once without a clear progression from one dish to another.

While teaching recipes is important, it is equally important to progress from one dish to another in a logical manner. Doing so helps the student understand how one technique affects another and why it is important to have a clear understanding of these techniques in order to become an excellent cook. It also lets them know when they can skip certain dishes without affecting their ability to complete others later on.

Mistake 5 – Doing all the work themselves; students should be doing some of the prep, stirring, and cleanup in order to learn how it’s done properly.

When an instructor does all the work, then this means that the students are not getting any hands-on experience. Instructors should always be willing to lend a hand, or give guidance when needed, but should allow the students to do the work themselves. This allows for students with less experience and confidence to learn by following the instructor’s example without feeling too overwhelmed.

Mistake 6 – Believing that they have nothing left to teach their students after a certain point in time.

After an instructor has been teaching for a while, they might feel like there is nothing left that they can teach their students. They may just think that everything has already been said and done, but this is simply not true. Instructors need to constantly review old material while adding in anything new that pops up or comes about during classes. This also means going back through lessons if certain steps are still giving issues; it’s never too late to make things better!

If you take these points into consideration when dealing with your culinary students then you will find yourself becoming more successful as time goes on. Remember: The most important part of being a teacher or instructor is making sure that your students are getting what they need to know in order to succeed, whether they are to become junior chefs in chef shorts (these come as unisex shorts these days and are ideal for keeping cool during hot summer days) and cook shirts, or head on to more ambitious futures.

A lot of culinary instructors think that once you have taught something, then it’s pretty much set until the next time around. However, this is not true! There will always be new things coming up each and every day in the cooking world; therefore, instructors must continually update their lessons so they can pass on knowledge to their students. Instructors also need to remember that most of these types of mistakes can easily be avoided if they communicate with their students and offer help along the way so everyone learns in a safe environment with little stress.