The "A Ha" Moment

As a teacher at a culinary school, one of the greatest and most rewarding moments is when students experience an "A Ha" moment right in front of your face. It's a lot of fun to know that you just managed to bridge a gap in understanding by a certain combination of spoken words or actions made.

Last week, I was up in front of my classroom full of eager culinary students, demonstrating a classic French sauce called Bechamel. For newcomers to Le Cordon Bleu, the initial discussion of the repertoire of classic French preparations known as the "mother", or primary, sauces can be confusing and intimidating. Each of these sauces is steeped in tradition, and demands a fairly specific set of ingredients being combined in a time honored way. As I cooked butter and flour together to make the white roux, then used it to thicken the milk I had infused with onion, bay leaf, and clove, I looked around at my students and saw a bunch of blank stares. I could feel that they were all thinking something along the lines of "that's weird".

Once the sauce simmered gently for the proper amount of time, and had transformed itself into the satiny, creamy concoction we know as Bechamel, I could sense that my students were about to have a revelation en masse. As with most of the "mother" sauces, Bechamel requires straining through a fine mesh sieve to render it absolutely velvet smooth. I seasoned the sauce to taste, and had every one of my students taste it. This is where many of them experienced the "A Ha" moment. One of them proclaimed, "This kind of reminds me of the sausage gravy I make with my biscuits." Another said, "That's a lot like the Alfredo Sauce recipe I made the other night." And a third stated, "Couldn't we make it thicker and then use it as a souffle base?" One even asked, "If it were really thick, could it be used to bind croquettes and fritters?" As I answered "Yes" to every one of those questions, and then proceeded to talk the rest of them through the many everyday uses of this classic sauce, I knew they had all just crossed that bridge to a place where a previously vague concept had become a solid piece of useful knowledge.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Each campus features a public restaurant where culinary students work under the direction of professional chefs for real-world experience.
            • Hosts Platt College’s Food Fight, a friendly dessert competition for students held once a month.
            • Offers programs in culinary arts, nursing, and healthcare.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (AFC) and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • 5 campuses in Lawton, North and Central Oklahoma City, Moore, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
            Show more [+]
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            1 Program(s) Found

            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid