A Typical Edible Schoolyard Kitchen Class
Rituals and Routines
Classroom Culture
Place of Learning: 

ESY Berkeley Teaching Staff
Edible Schoolyard Project
Berkeley, CA

A typical kitchen class at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley is 86 minutes (1 hour and 26 minutes) and is divided into three main parts: the Chef Meeting, At the Table, and Closing Circle. The kitchen classroom has rituals and routines for every kitchen class so students know what to expect and what is expected of them when they arrive.
Entering the Kitchen

Students line up outside the kitchen classroom and wait for a kitchen teacher to greet them. Students spit out their gum, come into the kitchen in an orderly fashion, put their backpacks away in the cubbies, put on an apron, and gather at the middle table for the Chef Meeting. (1-2 minutes)

At the Chef Meeting

The Chef Meeting is where we introduce and frame our lesson for the day, deliver content to all students, and facilitate class discussions. It is also when we explain why we have chosen the recipe we are preparing and to make academic links to the students’ classroom curriculum. Chef teachers rotate the role of facilitating the Chef Meeting, and we keep internal chef meeting notes for each lesson to maintain institutional memory and track modifications or improvements from year to year. (10-20 minutes)

  • Introduce the recipe and put it into context. If applicable, reference previous lessons.
  • Make academic and curricular links.
  • Take questions.
At the Table

After the Chef Meeting, students wash their hands and break up into three cooking groups. The classroom teacher divides the students into three groups before arriving to their first kitchen class of the rotation, and groups should have a balance of gender and personality. Each group has an average of 10 students, 1 ESY kitchen teacher, and 1-2 community volunteers. (70 minutes)

  1. Review the recipe(s) and introduce knife skills and cooking methods (5-10 minutes):
    • Demonstrate how students are going to prepare each ingredient on the platter. Have students identify the tools they will be using.
    • Break down the steps of the recipe(s) and explain the cooking jobs.
  2. Check-in and assign cooking jobs (5 minutes)
    • Have each student answer a “check-in” question (i.e., Where do you see yourself in ten years? Who is your favorite athlete, author or artist?). This can be a fun or provocative question that may or may not be food related, but will allow the teachers to get to know the students and visa-versa.
    • Have each student identify the cooking job(s) they would like to work on for the class period.

  3. Cook and set the table (40-50 minutes)
    • Students read the recipe together before breaking up into their cooking jobs.
    • While cooking, students practice our “clean as you go” routine.We expect students to clean up after finishing a cooking job before they move onto the next task.
    • Students taste as they cook and adjust the seasoning along the way.
    • When the students have finished preparing the ingredients and the food is still cooking, students clean and set the table. We typically use a plate, silverware, cups, and napkins, and students are also encouraged to create a unique centerpiece using flowers from the garden and other interesting items they find around the kitchen.
  4. Eat (10 minutes)
    • Since table groups sit down to eat as the food is ready, groups may eat at slightly staggered times.
    • The table group begins to eat only once every member of the group has been served.
    • This is a chance to talk about ideas related to the lesson, the recipe, or whatever interests the group.
  5. Clean up (10 minutes)
    • When they are finished eating, each student busses their own plate, cup, and silverware.
    • One table group goes to the dish washer to wash the plates, cups, and silverware for the entire class.
    • The other two table groups finish cleaning their table and cooking station, as well as the table and cooking station for the group at the dishwasher (see clean up job descriptions resource).
Closing Circle

Closing Circle provides an opportunity for us to hear what our students took away from kitchen class (e.g., If you were to prepare this recipe at home, what vegetable would you add?)