Culinary Arts Using a Curricular Approach Lens


By Dr Keith Mason

Culinary arts are interdisciplinary in nature, inviting treatment in several school subjects. This encourages including food to foster subject-area concepts and skills. Curricular frameworks can be utilised to frame food-related lessons. Within the English-speaking world, food preparation has traditionally been part of home economics. In North America, the field has been renamed Family and Consumer Sciences, yet it still includes food preparation as one of its goals.

Culinary Arts: Subject by Subject

Table 1 outlines various subjects in which culinary arts may be integrated with, recommended activities and skills. You Eat What You Are, by Thelma Barer-Stein, provides details on how indigenous crops are utilised within a culture’s food preparation.

Table 1. Culinary Arts by Subject


Culinary Arts: A Menu of Curricular Frameworks

Curricular frameworks have been developed to design lessons, guiding how food is addressed in learning.

Cooperative Learning: Because sharing food is a social event, students can plan meals, prepare food together and share their creations with classmates.

Differentiation: Students can interview one another on food preferences, revealing how individual likes differ from others. Students can show mastery of culinary arts in different ways. Differentiation allows for varying tastes in foods, ethnic variations in food preparation and a variety of ways to assess students.

Habits of Mind: The 16 dispositions or habits within Habits of Mind can certainly apply to culinary arts.

1) Persisting:

Practice over and over to learn recipes, cooking and baking techniques and the culinary field. Learn by continuous practice and persistence.

2) Managing Impulsivity:

Study recipes, cooking and baking techniques and food concepts to improve your knowledge base. Focus on the recipe at hand. Make sure you have all your ingredients and utensils at hand.

3) Listening With Understanding and Empathy:

Listen to the teacher and classmates as they talk about food preparation and welcome their contribution to your culinary skills. Appreciate what others have to offer.

4) Thinking Flexibly:

When creating a recipe, think of your options of how to best create your dish or dessert. Brainstorm with classmates and your teacher to explore the possibilities.

5) Thinking About Thinking (Metacognition):

Keep a journal about your cooking experiences. Include what you have learned and insights about the cooking process.

6) Striving for Accuracy:

Review a recipe before beginning it. Verify your measurements and the order in which you prepare your recipe.

7) Questioning and Posing Problems:

Ask questions about cooking or baking procedures.

8) Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations:

When preparing a new recipe, use your previous experiences with cooking to accomplish the new dish.

9) Thinking and Communicating With Clarity and Precision:

Rehearse in your mind before beginning a recipe preparation. Revise and rewrite your own recipes before attempting to make them. Practice a recipe preparation before sharing it with the class.

10) Gathering Data Through all Senses:

Consider food preparation using the five senses. What will the dish taste like based on the ingredients? What will the dish smell like? What will the food feel like in your mouth? What will the dish look like and how can you enhance eye appeal? What will it sound like as you cook the food?

11) Creating, Imagining, Innovating:

Come up with a creative way to prepare a familiar recipe, giving it your own personal touch.

12) Responding With Wonderment and Awe:

Try a food at a restaurant. Discover what the food offers you in terms of taste, aroma, appearance and nutrition by appreciating its positive qualities.

13) Taking Responsible Risks:

Try recipes from a different culture, or ones that are challenging to improve your culinary expertise.

14) Finding Humour:

Take note of errors in food preparation. If a food is undercooked or burned, how can you avoid this in the future?

15) Thinking Interdependently:

Actively participate in class, whether it is a whole class, group work or partner activity to enhance your cooking abilities.

16) Remaining Open to Continuous Learning:

Place yourself in situations to continue learning to cook such as a trip to a local restaurant, watching a TV cooking show or reading recipes everywhere you can find them. Review recipes and realise all that you can learn from reading.


Food is essential in our students’ learning experiences. Whether in a separate home economics course or treated in other core subjects, food deserves treatment in schools. Students benefit from culinary arts using a curricular approach lens. Cooking not only spans the Habits of Mind, but also touches on all the various learning styles. Let’s meet learners in creative ways through food!


Keith Mason has been a world language educator and linguistics specialist for 37 years. He is based in New Jersey, U.S.A. Keith’s teaching and research areas include musicals in the curriculum, foreign language pedagogy, Romance linguistics and curriculum. He received eight Rising Star Awards from the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, U.S.A., for integrating musicals in the high school curriculum. He is currently writing a book, Musicals across the Curriculum.

Read more posts from Dr. Keith Mason.


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