Colourful, Autumnal High Teas

June 18, 2020 at 9:19 AM

With a chill in the air and winter on its way, colourful, autumnal themes were selected by our Year 10 Food Technology classes for their annual High Teas this week.

Food Technology at Year 10 is designed to foster creative and critical practice in a project-based environment, encouraging our students to develop their thinking, design and practical skills over a series of projects. ‘Designerly thinking’ is an important aspect, with trial and error forming part of the process that leads to the final outcome.

The students’ High Tea project entailed menu design, food photography and styling, event planning and management, an introduction to where food comes from and how it is consumed, basic food chemistry and nutrition, along with product development and manufacture for a target audience – in this case, groups of staff who were more than willing to sacrifice their lunch hour for a tasty serving of High Tea in exchange for providing a little honest and constructive ‘customer feedback!’

When it comes to food, diversity is the key - diversity of flavours, textures, appearance and smell. There is also a well-known adage that we ‘eat with our eyes first’ and so presentation is all important. In this instance, the students had taken care to theme their table settings, ready to present their work to the staff. The students were tasked with working in groups of four to design and make both a savoury and a sweet item, taking into consideration any pre-determined dietary requirements for their elected ‘stakeholder’ such as gluten or lactose free items. They also worked to a budgetary constraint of no more than $2 per individual portion.

Group work originally started during Lockdown, with the students collaborating via Microsoft Teams to communicate their ideas. They also used this time to create a menu card, developing their illustration and layout skills using InDesign, as well as creating forms to gather stakeholder feedback on their ideas. Microsoft Excel was used to analyse and evaluate their outcomes and to cost their recipes.

On return to school following Lockdown, they continued work in their groups, turning their research into feasibility studies, making three trials of their chosen menu items. These were taken to their staff stakeholders for early feedback to help further develop the product against the brief and theme in readiness for serving at their High Tea.

And so after weeks of planning, it was down to preparing, plating up and serving their chosen items to four groups of discerning staff! The Food Technology rooms were a hive of activity in the period before lunch, building to the moment that their creations were stacked high on plates, ready for staff to taste and critique the food offerings!

The students did an outstanding job, delivering tempting food and excellent table service, with the opportunity to interact with teachers as ‘potential customers’ providing another important skill set.

The staff left having enjoyed the food but also knowing they had provided an important link for the students between ‘chef and customer expectations.’ Well done Year 10!

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