The secrets to the best flaky pastry, crispy donuts and dreamy vanilla slice delivered to students

Wintec chef tutor, Carl Houben delivers a lesson and a batch of mouth-watering donuts

Wintec chef tutor, Carl Houben delivers a lesson and a batch of mouth-watering donuts.

Teaching a hands-on cooking course online requires a whole lot of problem-solving and innovation, but Wintec chefs Carl Houben and Joshua Bailey are delivering some delicious results.

Before lockdown, Wintec culinary arts students spent their days immersed in the hustle and bustle of Wintec’s training kitchens, learning how to bake, braise, sauté and grill to create the perfect dish.

No longer able to access the commercial kitchens, professional cooking tools and equipment or a full range of ingredients, Bailey and Houben had to innovate…and do it quickly.

Their mouth-watering video tutorials are getting a lot of attention online.  

“Theory is easy to deliver online, but the practical side of teaching culinary arts is a challenge, due to student resources, equipment and ingredients being so different from home to home,” says Houben who has been posting some of his cooking demonstrations to Facebook and YouTube.

His most popular YouTube video, which shows viewers how to make vanilla slice, has been watched by more than 300 people in a week. Other videos include how to make dark chocolate mousse with raspberry and chantilly as well as a Kiwi favourite – mince and cheese pie – which racked up an impressive 1,200 views on Facebook.

“After I posted the mince and cheese pie cooking demo on Facebook, lots of friends, family and pie lovers posted up their own mince and cheese pies. It’s cool to see people in their bubble recreating their own version at home. It’s the original Kiwi lunch isn’t it!” laughs Houben.

Away from the kitchen, chef Joshua Bailey has had to upskill his online facilitation skills quicklyAway from the kitchen, chef Joshua Bailey has had to upskill his online facilitation skills quickly.

The pair have been working together, streaming live cooking demonstrations from home for their students to watch, learn from and replicate.

“The other day Carl was doing a live cooking demonstration via Zoom. He was busy cooking and had a GoPro attached to him so I narrated the session and answered any questions the students had, which was really cool,” says Josh.

Josh says that 90 percent of the duo’s students are attending online classes and while the students are looking forward to getting back into the Wintec’s teaching kitchens, he believes they are enjoying the online interaction.

Inspired by the live cooking demonstrations, one of their students recently hosted a live cooking demonstration for more than 60 Facebook followers.

The students are encouraged to cook dishes from the practical online lessons at home then take photos and post these to the class Facebook page and the student learning platform, Moodle. This becomes part of their formative learning.

Students are already facing a number of barriers while adjusting to learning online,  so Wintec is reimbursing all students who cook the assigned tasks from home for the cost of the dish ingredients.

Bailey manages the Moodle page for his and Houben’s classes and says he’s had to upskill his online facilitation skills very quickly.

“We teach in pairs so while Carl is teaching, I control the Zoom session by muting all sound except the tutor and ask students to type questions into the chat function. I record the class session and load it into Moodle below the Zoom class appointment, so the students have access to the recordings for revision purposes. This lets Carl focus on teaching, while I sort out the rest.”

Houben’s delicious sugar-dusted donuts which students are replicating at homeHouben’s delicious sugar-dusted donuts which students are replicating at home.

For Houben, having a daily routine and dedicated workspace, his shed, is crucial to working from home being successful.

“I try break my days up because I’d go crazy driving a laptop every day. I’ve been doing practical lessons in my home kitchen. I’ll record one day and edit the next day which helps breaks all the Zoom meetings up.”

Find out more about studying hospitality and cookery at Wintec

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