I really enjoy cooking shows but like everything else on TV most of them have gone the way of ‘reality’, which is to say, they’ve been dumbed down, and dramatized. Public Broadcasting seems to be one of the last bastions of quality content over ratings-whoring so I really enjoy Create TV.
I saw a commercial for a cooking show I was unfamiliar with called Joanna Weir’s Cooking Class. Where most cooking shows are chefs talking to you through the camera (which is great and I’ve learned a lot from them) this one had a different approach. Each episode Ms. Weir would have one student on and would teach that student the lessons of the day.
This may not be the first time this concept has been used but it’s the first time I’ve seen it. Although I’m sure much time is given to the way these how-to-cook shows are presented to ensure transfer of learning, have an actual learner there is a way to provide (some) feedback in what has traditionally been a one-way communication model, broadcasting. In theory, this would allow the instructor to gauge the actual learning, misunderstood instructions, and best approaches to individual students. This is all kinds of neat!
The below quote is from the description of the show from the link above:
During each hands-on cooking lesson, students discover unexpected solutions to real-life problems, including gummy risotto, grainy ice cream, broken emulsions or over-whipped egg whites. At the conclusion of each episode, Weir and her students reflect upon the recipe, discuss key insights, ruminate about their experience and taste the delicious fruits of their labor.
So much of learning is making mistakes and we never see this happen on regular shows! You see all sorts of mistakes being made on ‘reality tv’, like ‘the wrong way to catch an alligator’, ‘riding a bicycle while intoxicated’, and ‘proposing to the wrong woman’ but many of these don’t have value in our day-to-day lives. But the wrong way to hold a knife is the kitchen may hold great value to us on a daily basis. This is almost right out of the text book about Reflective Observation from the Kolb LSI. Look at this person. What did they do? Did it work? Why not? The quote even explicitly mentions reflection, ‘reflect on the recipe’. This never happens on 99% of how to programs!
This is really encouraging to see and I hope more show adopt this idea.