Students learn culinary tricks in labs
Hospitality students at UH don’t just sit in a classroom. Instead, they study the culinary arts in six kitchen labs that include a microbiology lab and the cooking room of Barron’s restaurant.
Other labs include a demonstration kitchen, the food production lab, the food research lab and the sensory evaluation lab. Students study the science and chemical breakdown of food in a food microbiology lab.
The food research lab contains four large refrigerators and connects to the sensory evaluation lab with six garage-like doors where consumer taste-testing takes place.’
The demonstration kitchen accommodates up to 85 students and resembles a classroom with an open kitchen at the front. Projection screens enable students to get a close-up visual of demonstrations, which range from cutting techniques to the anatomy of a fish.
The facilities are all stainless steel and maintained by the students in accordance with strict sanitation and safety guidelines.
‘There are rules and regulations to follow, especially when they are representing their school,’ hotel and restaurant management professor Gloryvee Ramos said.
Once students have been through the lecture and demonstration segments, they are then ready to enter the instructional kitchen to practice what they have learned.’
The instructional kitchen includes three gas kitchens, three electric kitchens and an adjacent prep area where students deep fry and use the chargrill.’
The kitchen has a large spice rack with common seasonings such as cumin, paprika and coriander.’ Two large rolling trolleys known as ‘the cages’ contain kitchen utensils, cutting boards, pots and pans, large rolling pins and dinner plates.’
Students are given assignments such as the fajita lab, where they prepare dishes that showcase their knowledge of techniques and food information.’
Barron’s food production lab takes what the students have practiced and puts them in a real life situation where they cook, serve and run an actual restaurant with paying customers. Barron’s, which reopens for the spring semester on Feb. 2, is open to the public for lunch only, from 11:30 to 1 p.m. on weekdays.