As a cooking instructor, I go into each class with a passion for the food I am presenting, gratitude to be able to do what I love and hope. Hope that I don’t cut off a finger, drop something, burn myself or otherwise get myself into an embarrassing situation from which I cannot recover. Hope that everything runs smoothly and that I’ve planned and prepared well. Hope that my helpers (to whom I affectionately refer as my “backup singers”) remain safe and energetic. Hope that my students enjoy the food I serve, will use one or two of the recipes again and are having a good time. And hope that I can inspire someone to stretch their skills or try something they didn’t think they could do.
With demonstration style classes, it is easier to “read the room” and to know if your information is hitting the mark with students. Because most everyone is listening at the same time to the information I am presenting, I usually only share information once – of course, there is the occasional question for clarification or the random “I missed that, could you say it again?”
In contrast, when I am teaching a hands-on style class, it is more difficult to know if everyone is understanding what I’m saying. Often there are one-on-one conversations happening – between and among students, with me and one or two students, etc. – and folks are working at their own pace. There are times in hands-on classes when I’m giving an explanation or I am showing a technique and some people miss it. This is the nature of hands-on classes. As much as I try to stop and reiterate the important points, I know some things get missed.
And with all classes, regardless of the type, there are some folks who give immediate feedback while I’m teaching a recipe, some folks who comment and/or ask questions at the end of class, and some who leave without comment. I welcome feedback. I like to hear what students think about what they’ve eaten, techniques they’ve learned, experiences they’ve had, etc. I appreciate constructive suggestions and, if I’m being completely honest, I appreciate the occasional “ata girl” too!
So this past week, when I answered the phone at work – the way I usually do, “Good morning…The Kitchen Shoppe….this is Janice….may I help you?” – and heard in reply “oh good, just the person I wanted to speak with” my interest was piqued! It was a student – K.S. – from my recent hands-on macaron class with a question.
We talked briefly and she told me about her recent adventures in macaron making. Before we hung up I promised to email her some information as soon as I could locate it. Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on it pretty quickly and had the email off to her in short order. Just as quickly I received a reply with a brief note and a photo attachment. The first paragraph ended with “I’ve attached a picture for you ~ I’m so happy about how they turned out!”
Not sure what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised to see this:
Beautiful macaron shells. Glossy, smooth tops. Perfect “pieds” – or frilly feet – on the bottom. A pretty color. As an instructor my heart soared! Clearly K.S. had learned what I’d been teaching that rainy Tuesday night in November! There’s just something satisfying about being a part of someone else’s learning process…
Of course, I replied that I was so proud to see a pic of her labor of love. And K.S. blessed me with another photo:
A plate of perfection! They look so good I can almost feel the crisp shells melting in my mouth. And it did not escape my notice that the backdrop was a beautiful cloth with an illustration of French lavender. A little nod to the French macarons!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to K.S. for providing feedback, for sharing her photos, and for giving me permission to share them with you. Now there’s just one more thing I hope….that they tasted as good as they look!