The Advantages for Chefs Who Go to Culinary School

Recently I was walking through a market in my Platt College uniform. A woman stopped and asking me an interesting question. “What are the differences between Chefs that went to a culinary arts college and those that worked their way up in the kitchen?”

Chefs that attended and graduated from a school have a few advantages over a chef that work their way to the top of a kitchen.

Culinary Art graduates are well-rounded

Culinary programs have evolved since I went to school. Instead of concentrating on Classical European techniques, students are exposed to international cuisines. Making them much more employable as food trends emerge.

To the contrary a chef that work their way up typically only learns from the kitchens or other chefs that mentored them. This limits their marketability as a chef to other kitchens, creating a glass ceiling effect.

Culinary grads learn more than cooking

Sure culinary students go to school to learn cooking. However, going to school teaches them discipline. The expectations of chefs typically is regimented.  From uniform standards, having recipes written, and upholding integrity of the position as “Chef”; many culinary graduates appreciate the strict discipline after a few months.

Culinary degrees becoming essential for many positions

Many companies are requiring a degree in culinary arts even for entry level positions. Reason being employers recognize a person’s dedication to the industry. An individual that endures culinary school has invested into the food service occupation.

Networking beyond the city limits

Most chefs that worked their way to the top in a kitchen never network beyond the city limits. They become stagnant and complacent within their own restaurant.

Culinary students typically become friends with many instructors and fellow students. Having a pulse on the trends and places that maybe hiring. This is a huge advantage. As with social media, it is crucial to network and staying current.

Career Services is your friend

When you choose to go to Culinary school you give yourself the advantage of having a dedicated Career Services team to assist you in, not only finding employment opportunities that are right for you, but in creating a professional resume, making contacts and networking in your career field, job interview coaching, and communication development.

As you can see there are many advantages to earning a Culinary Degree.  If you are interested in the Culinary Arts Program at Platt College or any of our other culinary programs, such as Pastry Arts, or Hospitality & Restaurant Management you can contact us here.

Written by: Gerald Egger, Culinary Arts Chef Instructor – Platt College Tulsa

To Be Your Student

Graduating from a traditional, four-year college, I didn’t have the privilege or experience of learning from the skilled professionals at Arizona Automotive Institute, Platt College, and South Texas Vocational Technical Institute. While I was able to learn many of the same important life lessons you instill upon our students – professionalism, sacrifice, service, leadership, respect and discipline. I cannot help but wonder how great it would have been to be one of your students.

  • To work side-by-side with a master welder bending molten metal
  • To learn medical ethics and patient care from nurses who have experienced the joy of life and sadness of death throughout their career as part of their calling, credo & DNA
  • To sweat under the hood of a tractor trailer or automobile with someone who could tear an engine apart and rebuild it in their sleep
  • To trace the veins of a patient with a Medical Assisting Instructor on route to a perfect stick
  • To replicate a sterile operating environment ensuring the field and formation exceeded the expectation of a seasoned Surgical Technologist
  • To roll egg whites delicately, flip a crepe perfectly, or flambé a dessert elegantly as my chef instructor stood watching with admiration, pride and nervousness
  • To properly learn dosage calculations, effectively administer air management techniques and recite recent revisions to medical record coding
  • To be on the roof of a commercial building identifying faults in an air conditioning unit with an instructor who knew the problem before we took our first step up the ladder
  • To take impressions and fabricate crowns, as a Dental Assisting Instructor stood by as a mentor & cheerleader
  • To mimic the graceful motions of a Professional Massage Therapist as they outlined a flawless Swedish technique
  • To sit completely awestruck in a class where a general education or CAS instructor was able to effectively connect theory to reality, and reality to my career aspirations

While my list of missed educational opportunities is long, as the President & CEO of Ancora Education, I have had made up for it through my many interactions with each of you – our esteemed faculty.

As we close out National Teacher Appreciation Week, I know I am a better person for working with, and learning from, each of you. As a company, we stand in complete admiration of your contribution and commitment to student success. You are the reason our educational model works. You are the reason our students work. Their experience, in your presence, creates life-long opportunity, tangible change, and a better future.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Zawisky

President & CEO

5 Reasons to Celebrate Your Instructors during Teacher Appreciation Week

When you really add up all the time we spend in school, from kindergarten to high school graduation and even on to higher education for a lot of us, it’s evident how important a role teachers really play in our lives. Without teachers, we would have no doctors, nurses, or presidents. We would have no mechanics, engineers, or welders. We wouldn’t even know how to read this very article.

With all things considered, we should show our appreciation for our teachers every day, but since this week happens to be when, we as a nation, observe Teacher Appreciation Week, here are five reasons to celebrate your instructors:

  1. Their Inspiration –

Your instructors possess an immeasurable amount of knowledge and understanding of their field, and they have chosen to share their passion and knowledge with you, as their students.

  1. Their Dedication –

As instructors they have chosen to dedicate their lives to helping their students have a successful future. They give of themselves, day-in and day-out to help you along your educational journey.

  1. Their Support –

When you’re having a hard time understanding a concept or struggling with preparing for a test, your instructors are there to offer you their support. They want to see you succeed and will go out of their way to make sure you have the support you need.

  1. Their Willingness to Challenge You –

Your instructors are there when you’re struggling, but in the same way that they will support you, they are also willing to challenge you.  It is through these challenges that you learn to grow, both as a student and as a person.

  1. For Believing in You –

Even when you might not have believed in yourself, your instructors believed in you.  Because they believed that you could succeed, you believed that you would succeed.

Share your reasons to celebrate your instructors in the comments!

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator – Ancora Education

Study Techniques That Compliment Your Learning Style

shutterstock_217035208_renderedStudy, study, study. Do you find yourself studying excessively, but your grades aren’t reflecting all the effort you’re putting in? Then maybe you aren’t studying in ways that compliment your learning style. Contrary to popular opinion, textbooks and lectures might not be the only way to prepare yourself for an exam.

What is a learning style and how does it effect me?

Learning style has to do with the different ways that people bring in and absorb new information. Knowing your learning style can help you use your strengths when studying.

Ever wondered why you do well in some classes and not in others? This may depend on your learning style. Whether taking a regular class or studying for a major exam you can greatly increase your productivity by tailoring your study habits to compliment your particular learning style.

You might be a Visual Learner if…

If you never forget a face, but have trouble remembering people’s names then you might be a Visual Learner. If you’d rather watch the movie than read the book, you might be a visual learner. Visual learners process information best when it’s presented to them visually.

Study tips for Visual Learners:shutterstock_280433198_rendered

Take detailed notes

Whether you are sitting in class or reading a text book, make sure to take lots of notes. By taking copious amounts of detailed notes you give yourself the ability to review what was covered later at your own pace, and the act of note-taking itself contributes to your absorption of the material.

Watch a video on the topic

Like I said before, if you’d rather watch the movie, then maybe you should. Now this doesn’t mean go watch the new Star Wars movie instead of studying. It means finding videos online that cover what you are studying. Whether you Google a short clip to answer a particular question or you use an online learning resource like Khan Academy, you will find videos to be strong study aids. Note: Make sure your videos come from reputable sources.

Use Flashcards

Flash cards will help you learn the subject using repetition to ensure you retain the knowledge. There are many apps available if you don’t feel like making your own flash cards. Apps such as Chegg Flashcards and Studyblue allow you to keep score and track your stats so that you know what areas you need to focus on.

 You might be an Auditory Learner if…

If you find you enjoy humming aloud or talking to yourself, you might be an Auditory Learner. If you remember words to songs and notice sound effects in movies, then you might be an Auditory learner. This just means that you study best by listening. Auditory Learners tend to perform the best in classes that emphasize lectures and class discussions.

Study tips for Auditory Learners:

Record your lecturesshutterstock_272450690_rendered

Recording your lectures allows you to listen to them again when trying to study. There are many apps available.

Verbalize what you’ve learned.

In the same way that visual learners learn from writing notes, auditory learners can solidify their learning by verbalizing what they’ve learned. Put it into your own words, this helps you to truly grasp the subject and remember it longer.

Read aloud

Read aloud whenever possible. After reading a chapter, summarize it out loud.

Use Mnemonic Devices

A mnemonic device is a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something. Using a mnemonic device can make remembering dull or difficult to learn material such as numbers, formulas, dates, terminology, or concepts easier and maybe even a little fun.

Work in Groups

When working in a group you can discuss the subject and better absorb the material. You can also quiz each other.

You might be a Tactile/Kinesthetic Learner if…

If you hate using an owner’s manual when you buy a new gadget or reading the instructions to put together IKEA furniture, then you might be a kinesthetic learner. If you tap your feet to music and can’t sit still in lectures, you might be a kinesthetic learner. This means you comprehend information best through hands-on learning. Kinesthetic learners tend to do better in labs than in lectures.

Study Tips for Kinesthetic Learners:girl typing on laptop with socks

Apply what you’ve learned

If you’re studying from a textbook, you can get frustrated pretty quickly. To combat this frustration and better understand the material you covered, look for practical applications for what you’ve just learned.

Take short study breaks

Rather than forcing yourself to sit and study for long periods, break up your study sessions into 30 minute increments with 5 minute breaks in between to stand up and move around. This can be beneficial to all students, but especially for kinesthetic learners.

Keep your hands busy while studying

Believe it or not, kinesthetic learners study and comprehend information better when their hands are involved. It can be as simple as holding an object, like a stress ball, while studying or typing out your notes.

What to keep in mind

 No matter what your predominant learning style may be, it’s important that you keep in mind that it’s just your predominant, not your only learning style. Most of us are a mix of all three.  Don’t be afraid to try methods from other learning styles as well. The goal is to find what methods work best for you.

 Find Out Your Learning Style

You can find out what your preferred learning style is by taking the assessment found here.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator – Ancora Education

Communication Can Change Everything

communicationAs a Surgical Technology instructor and clinical coordinator, I came to this field knowing that I wanted to help people. I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives in a medical aspect. I enjoy the gratification of making someone feel better. I moved through the ranks as Surgical Tech, evening shift, day shift, specialty tech, and finally heart scrub. Eventually, I was asked to come teach at the Platt College Oklahoma City Central Campus. In all my time in this field, whether it be in the hospital or in the classroom, I have found that there is one thing critically important to the profession that can’t be found in any textbook, and that is communication.

As humans we are able to communicate in many different ways. One such way is by asking questions. When I’m teaching a class, I welcome the students to question what I am telling them. If I don’t say a medical term correctly, I want them to tell me. I feel that I am encouraging a culture of critical thinking.  If new information is presented, they should pull from all of their knowledge and experience to evaluate if it is right or wrong. There are so many ways to do our job as surgical technologists, and I want the student to be able to have an open mind and ask why and how the information can benefit them and make them a better scrub. These are the kind of people we need, not only in this profession, but in the world.

When I go to sites like Facebook or other forums for Scrub Techs, they are constantly telling each other what they are doing wrong. They quickly pull rank by saying how long they have been doing it and dismiss any new ideas. I think if we could find a way to talk to each other by asking questions, such as, why they did something a certain way, or why they feel that their way is a good practice, we could accomplish so much more. We should communicate with each other in a positive manner and with an open mind. We should look past judgment and take with us the good.

Listening is also an important part of communication.  Active listening can build better relationships. Being able to listen effectively makes for a productive employee, and a productive employee is a desirable employee.

Communication can be uncomfortable when you disagree with someone and have to confront them. There are many ways to do this without anger or conflict.  The first thing to do is edit your thoughts before speaking. Just coming out and telling someone that they are wrong will most likely make them mad.  Instead, find a way to clearly and concisely let them know that you do not understand the way they did something; it will make the person more open to speak about their actions. Second, you should always communicate with a good attitude. When engaging in a conversation with someone, your body language and attitude need to match.

My final word of advice would be to speak up and speak often. Communication skills are paramount to a team-oriented career like surgical technology. As stated by M Leonard, S Graham, and D Bonacum “Effective communication and teamwork is essential for the delivery of high quality, safe patient care.”

We liveperson at computer in a world where social media and technology allow us to hide behind a screen and never look people in the eye. That’s why I feel such a sense of responsibility to teach the importance of communication.  Many errors can be avoided by speaking up for what is right. Minor misunderstandings in relationships can be avoided with better communication. Have the courage to speak up. Have the passion to learn and truly understand what you do.  Have the drive to be the best you can be and enjoy what you do every day.

Written by: Nola Jones, CST & Surgical Technology Instructor – Platt College OKC Central