By Jason Misner
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER, HDSB STAFF
The title of the instructional video sounds shocking but for staff members and students in Robert Bateman High School’s culinary program, the message about kitchen safety and making healthy food choices was sharp and on point.
Presented by Food Diva, an online cooking video resource, instructor and guest speaker Chef Maribel Linfield brought her positive message about safe knife use to the school through her video, The Cutting Edge of Child's Play – Empowering Children to use Knives.
On November 26, Grade 10-12 students enrolled in a new cooking course, as part of the life skills program, were shown how important proper culinary tools are – in this case, knives – to help create healthy meals and snacks.
The goal of the seminar was to open the world of food preparation to students by showing them how to properly and safely use different kinds of knives to cut and dice everything from cheese to fruits and vegetables. Knives were not handled during class and instead students were shown an instructional video.
Acknowledging the “cheeky” title might be contentious to some people, the 12-year chef stressed the point of her presentation and video was to urge people not to be afraid of culinary tools, like knives, but rather respect their power by learning how to use them appropriately.
“If everyone knew how to use this useful tool (knife), you would get more kitchen confidence, more self confidence and you would be much more empowered to make better choices in your food decisions,” Linfield says. “A hundred years ago, everyone knew how to cook and everyone knew how to use a knife.”
Teachers and students were thoroughly impressed by the message Linfield brought to the school about kitchen safety and making healthier food choices.
Grade 12 student Trevor Johnston says he learned the right cooking utensils can make food preparation fun by learning “how to be safe with a knife.”
Excited by the prospect of Linfield’s visit, teacher Doug Cooper was even more excited about how the seminar worked out. He said the school is trying to get life skills students interested in cooking and baking.
“We want empower them with the skills of getting over the fears of cooking with knives,” he says.
The seminar is “completely tied in” into the school curriculum of developing vital independence skills, said Susan Gabriele, department head of the life skills program at Robert Bateman High School. She noted she also learned a lot.
“I know Chef Cooper has been working on these skills with the students but this seminar is a nice reinforcement,” she says. “A lot of them are afraid of knives being. They will live on their own and they do need to know how to cook for themselves.”