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.

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            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.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            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
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            • Transferable Credits
            4 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
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            • Recognized on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year from 2010-2014
            • Day and evening classes are available for flexible scheduling.
            • Offers bachelor’s, associate, and diploma programs in business, culinary arts, criminal justice, cosmetology, and more.
            • Takes a unique “Focused Learning” approach, where students typically take only one class per month to concentrate on one subject with one faculty member at a time.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council on Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
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            • Accredited
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            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            2 Program(s) Found
            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits