Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Food and cooking podcasts for furthering student learning

by Chef Tom Beckman, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Chicago

Editors' note: This article was mentioned in "Podcasting in education" (page 16) of the Summer issue of Chef Educator Today.

For Tom Beckman's podcast, CHIC Podcast/This Week in Food, click the image above.

Five years ago, I was driving and heard a story on National Public Radio about shows that originate on the Internet. You could subscribe to them and get them on a regular basis. This intrigued me, and I listened to my first podcast that night. Since 2005, podcasting has exploded from a niche amateur market to mainstream commercial popularity. More than 100,000 different podcasts are now available. Here are a few food podcasts and video podcasts that I like and have been able to use in the classroom.

One of my favorite podcasts is The Splendid Table, with Lynne Rossetto Kasper. She has guests on her show that range from wine experts, cheese experts, food writers and chefs of every stripe. She also offers her own brand of food and cooking advice. She is quite professional and creative.

Cook's Illustrated, the quality cooking magazine, offers a video podcast on how to prepare entire dishes in just a few minutes. The dishes are fully explained, but they are so well edited that, for example, coq au vin can take just three minutes to demonstrate. Some cooking experience is suggested, but the lessons can be understood by anyone.

Hungry Nation aggregates several video food podcasts into one feed. A feed is how the podcasts are transmitted through the Web to the eventual listeners or viewers. Hungry Nation consists of Working Class Foodies, Vendr TV, 12 Second Cocktails and many more. They are not done by professionals but are done in a professional manner. They are all video podcasts. A teacher may want to bring in a projector to show video podcasts in the classroom.

The very best video podcast has to be Sky Full of Bacon. Sure, it has a weird name, but host Michael Gebert produces each podcast like a good magazine show. He has done shows on sustainable fish, pie making, good eating in the country and how an entire pig can be fully used. Each show is packed with information about chefs and their food.

Do you have a favorite food podcast that you use in your classroom to further student learning? Tell us about it in the comments section.