Culinary’s Move to Portables

Culinary has moved to portables, losing use of their old kitchen.

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Photo Grace Hilton

Smithey stands in the front of his portable classroom as he teaches his lesson.

Vikram Sambasivan, News Editor

With the recent shift to portables, some classes have been affected more than others. While a normal history class or math class can probably proceed with minimal hindrances, Culinary class will be affected on a much larger scale. With the loss of his kitchen, Chef Mitchell Smithey has been forced to get creative with how he teaches in this new environment. 

Instead of using hands-on elements such as the dominant method of instruction in the classroom, Smithey is now putting more of a heavy emphasis on other, equally important, parts of a culinary education aside from cooking. 

“Right now our portable kitchen is not cleared for us to occupy yet so we switched over and we’re working on sanitation and safety stuff right now,” Smithey said. 

The move to portables has also given an opportunity for culinary students to learn more about careers in this field. 

“Chef Smithey has already had two guest speakers in the culinary industry visit us since we’ve been in portables, they’ve shown us possible career paths in reference to culinary arts and prepared different foods,” Tyler Curry (’24) said.

Along with these new areas of focus and methods of teaching which Smithey is employing, there’s something else that is educating these students: adversity. 

“I think this is going to be a growth experience for a lot of them because we all have set ideas of what cooking at restaurants are and now those ideas are being challenged. So, anytime you challenge yourself and you have to find creative ways to accomplish the same things, you learn better, you retain it and you learn so much more” Smithey said.

Galvin speaks to his classmates during class in the new environment. After joining culinary his sophomore year, Galvin hopes that his underclassmen classmates will enjoy the new kitchen and restaurant once the construction finishes. (Photo Grace Hilton)

Students seem to share Smithey’s positive attitude about their shift to portables. 

“[The] hands-on learning is 100% hindered since we have far [fewer] opportunities to practice [new] skills, but our textbook learning, I would say, is significantly better because we can all focus on the work at hand,” Student Executive Chef Alex Galvin (’23) said.

Despite all the changes this semester has brought, students are very optimistic about what culinary will look like for the rest of the year. 

“I think aside from the bookwork that we’re going to have to do, [Smithey is] going to find new ways to keep us engaged and learning hands-on,” Curry said.