Peninsula Specialist College’s semi commercial kitchen is an exciting and vibrant learning space where students of all ages and abilities experience the magic of food preparation and cooking. It provides a safe and supportive environment for students to explore the sensory properties of food ingredients and create wonderful recipes to share and enjoy.
Our semi commercial kitchen was established in 2011 with support funding from Bendigo Bank. The kitchen was designed and built by Russell Bald, whose vast experience in the hospitality industry is reflected in the clean, seamless design and functionality of the space. The kitchen is outfitted with an excellent range of domestic and commercial equipment and appliances, making it a flexible learning space appropriate to needs of junior, senior and VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) students. Student outcomes are drawn from the Victorian Curriculum, Design and Technologies – food specializations and supporting curriculum areas. For example, PE and health, critical and creative thinking. Over the past three years it has also provided an excellent training and assessment area for VET (Vocational Education Training) students undertaking Certificate ll level units in Hospitality.
Peninsula Specialist College’s semi commercial kitchen is also home to our ‘state of the art’ commercial coffee machine. This popular piece of equipment is used by Certificate ll Hospitality students to practice their barista skills for the unit ‘Prepare and serve espresso coffee’. Lattes, cappuccinos, long blacks and hot chocolates are regularly served to staff and visitors, providing an authentic café experience for students. Junior and senior students also regularly assist in the preparation and delivery of beverages, and delight in taking orders for hot chocolates from their peers at the end of a busy cooking class. The commercial coffee machine is an awe-inspiring centerpiece of equipment: so much so, students, junior and senior, ask “can you teach me how to use that?”
Teaching programs in the kitchen offer a beautiful and highly visible continuum as students progress through the school. One day, our youngest students are exploring flavours, textures and aromas while making basic muffins, on another, our VET students will be practicing food hygiene and safe work skills while preparing up to 60 staff lunches!
This semester some of our senior students are participating in ‘The Breakfast Challenge’. In this sequence of classes, teams of students are challenged to make and present a plate of breakfast food using specific pantry ingredients and kitchen tools. It is amazing to watch students plan and cook their menu, with staff only offering technical advice and ensuring safe preparation and cooking practices. After four classes of practice and experimentation the teams will serve up their best dish to the judges and be scored on taste, presentation and teamwork.
The kitchen is an engaging learning space for all students. Lessons are hands-on, use tangible materials and offer an array of sensory exploration.
Classes are carefully designed to challenge students of all abilities and ages to express opinions, make choices, solve problems, work in teams, use a range of cooking methods and kitchen tools and try new foods and recipes. Safety and hygiene practices are taught and carefully implemented in all classes.
The outcomes and experiences for students range from simply observing and touching a food ingredient, to a smell or cautious taste, mixing wet and dry ingredients, flipping a pancake or making a toasted sandwich.
All lessons are geared to the needs of individual students and respect sensory, cultural and dietary differences.
The kitchen also provides a communal hub within the school. During special events such as the springtime fair and end of year carols, the kitchen swings into action with students assisting to prepare and serve food and drinks to visitors and members of the school community. This social/communal function of the kitchen is so important for students as they adapt learning to various experiences and share their knowledge and skills with pride and ownership.