Last week, we had investors aka teachers, administration, and staff come in to evaluate our student's marketing pitches, and taste their signature dishes. Ultimately, investors decided how to allocate the $1500 they had been given to award teams with the best overall concepts. The Launch was a huge success and I was so impressed by all of the collaboration, thought, and creativity that was demonstrated. With the seed money awarded by investors, food trucks have begun their race across the United States to learn about regional cuisine.
Mini Challenges are a game mechanic that I love using to have students learn about regional cuisine. In the Amazing Food Truck Race, mini challenges come in two forms: Speed Bump Challenges and Truck Stop Challenges. In a Truck Stop Challenge, teams are given a recipe for a regional dish and must prepare and present it within the class period to a judging panel. In a Speed Bump Challenge, teams are given a mystery box filled with ingredients common to that region and they must create a dish within the class period that best showcases the ingredients and cuisine of that region and present it to a judging panel. My student's had two options. They could either use clams as their regional ingredient or cranberries. To my surprise all teams chose cranberries however, what impressed me was the speed in which they collaborated and formulated a plan for a dish that could be made and presented within 60 minutes. Even more impressive, each team came up with a unique creation that drew from separate sets of skills and techniques they've learned. I was beaming with pride as they presented their dishes for evaluating.
My Culinary 4 students (in same class period as Culinary 3) judged the dishes in groups of 3. This is where the magic really happened. To watch my Culinary 4 students discuss and critically think through evaluating each item almost brought me to tears. They took this role so seriously and gave such wonderful feedback to my Culinary 3 students. Truly, they did a better job than I would have done. It was a perfect example of the power of peer evaluation.
For both the Truck Stop and Speed Bump Challenges, teams with the highest scores earn a predetermined amount of grocery money that can be used to purchase ingredients for their first Regional Challenge. In our Regional Challenge, teams are redesigning their signature dishes to meet the flavor profiles, and cuisine of that particular region. Local food truck owners and staff members will be coming in as customers to judge their dishes and hear them describe their dish's connection to the region's cuisine. Each customer will be dividing up $1500 among teams that they feel are most deserving and this money will be added onto their total score. The Amazing Race is getting exciting! Stay tuned as the adventure continues!
Culinary teacher & Discovery School Lead in Southern Oregon, passionate about finding innovative ways to make learning magical for students. Love to gamify!