Jul 13, 2017
Idaho Potato Commission honors innovation in teaching via social media

The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) recognized new methods and breakthroughs in professional foodservice training programs with the 2017 Idaho Potato Commission Leadership Innovation Awards for Excellence in Foodservice Education at the 13th annual Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ) Leadership Conference.  The International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach — part of South Carolina’s Horry Georgetown Technical College — hosted the award ceremony on June 22, 2017.

Criteria for this year’s IPC Innovation Awards centered on inspiring and teaching students using social media platforms for class assignments, research, ideation and inspiration, as well as general communication. The awards are open to foodservice instructors in high schools and post-secondary schools nationwide.

“Beginning with the first Leadership Conference, the Idaho Potato Commission has supported innovative teaching techniques at culinary schools. We created IPC sponsorships and scholarships to expand educational and culinary creativity and to generate long term benefits for both the Idaho potato and the foodservice industries,” said Don Odiorne, IPC vice president-foodservice. “Maximizing social media is an important step along the way.”

Hervé Guillard, a baking and pastry instructor at College of the Canyons’ Institute for Culinary Education in Santa Morita, California, earned the 2017 IPC award, submitting his food safety and sanitation teaching plan via communication platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. His students asked social media users if they had ever experienced illness due to consuming prepared foods or ingredients that were improperly stored, handled and/or cooked. Respondents were asked additional questions concerning symptoms, illness duration and whether or not the incident was reported to the source. Finally, Guillard tasked students to construct an epidemiology and make educated guesses as to how food safety principles were violated in each case.

Guillard’s students reacted positively to the project, becoming more engaged with the teaching material by relating it to real-life situations, discovering that food-borne illnesses are not restricted to the restaurant environment, and gaining a better understanding the power of social media.

Jill Hurt, a culinary instructor in Family and Consumer Sciences at Bourbon County High School in Paris, Kentucky, was runner-up for this year’s Innovation Award. For Hurt and her students, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram became platforms to promote and sell items from the school’s Culinary Pathways catering business and culinary classrooms. Leading up to NFL Super Bowl 51, Hurt used Facebook to promote sales of student-prepared containers of Buffalo chicken dip, mini Hot Browns and cookies. Not only did shared information increase sales, but interested customers swelled the distribution list for the program’s business catering. Resulting profits supplement funding for ingredients and other culinary classroom and kitchen lab needs.

Applications for 2018 Idaho Potato Commission Leadership Innovation Awards for Excellence in Foodservice Education will be posted at www.CafeMeetingPlace.com in August 2017.


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