What do you do when you normally have a hands-on culinary program with a kitchen full of students each day and the shelter-in-place edict is looming? That’s where Scott Wade, President of the Culinary School of Fort Worth (CSFTW), along with his chef faculty and admin staff found themselves on Friday, March 13th. They brainstormed as a group about whether to press pause on the school or switch to on-line, video-based classes and demonstrations. They shared concerns about their ability to maintain top-notch quality through a completely different approach. Admittedly divided, they ultimately decided it would be better to continue moving forward than to pause, and on-line video classes would begin the following Monday, March 16th. Their world as they knew it had to pivot quickly.
The faculty and staff worked all weekend to solve for three main issues: 1) how to change the seven month curriculum plan so that students could learn everything possible on-line but then come back to the kitchen and have all necessary hands-on time when the shelter-in-place edict is lifted, 2) what class format would keep the students engaged, interacting, and continuing to learn so the School could maintain their standard of high quality, and 3) how to teach most effectively using various on-line tools (the techy part).
The CSFTW team arose to the occasion and indeed launched on-line learning the following Monday. The first week required many adaptations but they quickly worked out the kinks and are continuing to evolve. Being ever attuned to the students’ needs, the faculty and staff hold individual calls with each student weekly to answer questions and calm their fears about graduating or attaining the skills needed.
In addition to the changes to the School program and format, the team at the CSFTW has opened their doors as a semi-grocery store and you can even order prepared meals for pick-up. This has allowed them to fill a need within the community and provide jobs for students whose externships ended earlier than planned.
When Scott describes what’s happening at the CSFTW, this is what I hear: vision, leadership, teamwork, adaptability, and commitment to their students.
When asked what he is most proud of, Scott says it’s how quickly his team has adapted and pivoted to a new way. At this point, the CSFTW has finished more than four weeks of on-line classes. They’ve sold lots of “pantry items” and prepared many meals. And no surprise to hear, they continue to adapt on a weekly basis as things change and progress.
Like me, I hope you found some inspiration in the CSFTW’s story. Do you or your business have a “ray of sunshine” to share? Please reach out to Sara so you can potentially be featured too!
For more information about the CSFTW’s Pantry Items and meals for purchase, visit: https://www.csftw.edu/csftw-grocery-items