Skip navigation

Student chefs cooking up success at home

TCC Culinary Supplies

Tidewater Community College’s student chefs are cooking in their own kitchens to make the grade.

TCC staffers bought and packed the ingredients students would need to continue their studies at home. The next day, students picked up their supplies in a “drive-by” format while practicing social distancing and staying outside of college buildings.

Chef Amie Burns packing food for students to use with remote learning.

“We chose ingredients and recipes that would work well in a home setting but still emphasize the skills and techniques needed for each course,” explained Deanna Freridge, who is teaching  American Regional Cuisine this semester.

Students picked up their ingredients maintaining social distancing and staying outside college buildings.

TCC chefs Freridge, Carolyn Blackmon and Amie Burns recorded their labs, including a demo on how to prepare your kitchen for home learning. During the first few days, their goodies included cranberry orange scones, cream of broccoli soup and potato and onion knish.

All of the demos are available in Canvas, the college’s learning platform, and on YouTube. Additionally, lectures are offered via Zoom video chat.

 “So far there are no hiccups in the road,” said student chef Valerie DeFreitas. “I’m pleased with how things are going. We received our products in a timely fashion and are now cooking and learning as usual.”

Students receive a checklist of the skills they need to learn for each lab, and then record videos showing themselves completing each recipe. The final step is to upload their videos to Canvas so they earn credit for their work.

Burns encourages students to keep the videos candid. “We just want to see your technique. With limited food supplies, we don’t expect a bunch of different takes. Don’t worry if the dog barks or your kid pops in. Just keep rolling with it,” she said.

All of the Spring Semester courses are underway in a remote format, including Principles of Culinary Arts, Principles of Baking and the advanced American Regional Cuisine. Other non-lab classes being taught are Food and Beverage Cost Control, Labor Cost Control and Beverage Management.

“With cooking I get the vibe that you have to work with what you have,” said student chef Melissa Coleman. “And while we might not have the same equipment at home, we can make it work and learn to improvise. In the long run, these are important skills to have.”

“We are really glad to have all of this technology so we can keep our students going,” Freridge said. “We’re finding that they are all willing and excited to be cooking remotely.”

Remote learning with the culinary program also allows student chefs to provide food for their families during a challenging time.

“We are grateful to be able to help ease the pinch many are feeling during this time,” added Nancy Prather-Johnson, dean of Business. “Providing meals for families is a nice plus to all of this.”

WTKR’s Margaret Kavanagh talked with TCC students and chefs about remote learning in their home kitchens. See more at WTKR-TV.