Luanne Wiles: Culinary Arts Chef Instructor


Welcome to Connect FCS Ed, I am your host Barbara Scully and I have an amazing guest with me, her name is Luanne Wiles, and she teaches over at Tri-Tech Culinary Skills Center, based out of the Tri-Cities, Washington in Kennewick, Washington.

I’ve had the amazing experience of meeting her, actually this last February, I believe, at an Open House where I took my 16-year-old daughter to look at the the pre-veterinary classes offered through Tri-Tech. And that is how this friendship over food and teaching and education, was formed and…we’ve had some amazing experiences.

Ready? Let’s get started…


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• We have 23 programs, I believe at Tri Tech, and so they’re all vocational programs, all taught by teachers who have been in the industry and usually experts in their field. So, from dentistry, nursing, radio broadcasting, automotive, diesel, auto body, law enforcement fire, and the culinary arts. Lots of programs at Tri Tech, and so students can come for one to two years. If they start as a junior and they are successful, then they can apply to come back for a second year, and it’s really preparing them to be job ready. (3:27)

• So I was really scrambling, as many of us were in March when things for shut down, we were in shock, and I don’t think that we had a good game plan. And we weren’t all on the same page. So, knowing what I know now, serve safe is going to be difficult to teach online, but it can happen. How will I do it differently? Just like this, I will have synchronized meetings with the students where they can see my face, we didn’t have that in the beginning of our shut down, we weren’t allowed to use Zoom. So, we had no face-to-face with the students, and you have to have that to get engagement. (6:42)

• I’ll be starting my ninth year doing this, and over the years, I’ve looked for videos online, and there’s a lot of technique videos and things that you don’t want the students to learn the wrong way from. Once they develop the knowledge base, they’ll be able to recognize that themselves, so I can just pull in other people’s videos and so yeah, I have had to learn to edit video, and that has been more challenging to me than anything. (10:19)

•   It’s more like a 2-inch binder that I provide for them and their picture is on the front of it. And it’s a professional portfolio, I try and tell the students, I try and get them to engage, that it’s not just an assignment, even though they get a technical English credit in the class, and that’s a lot of where that comes from. They do a professional resume, we teach them how to do a resume, a mission statement, a cover letter. And oh my gosh, there’s 10 components, we do six evidence of best work, which is through photos that they take of their best works and what they learn, so any artist, whether it’s a culinary artist or a musician, or whatever industry you’re in, you have a professional portfolio and it shows your best work. It’s a project that we work on all year. (21:17)

•   I was a Catering Operations Manager of Renton Technical College, and I had a crew of probably 30 or 40, they were on-call part-time, so depending on what our catering gigs were, we could have the three or four crews. We could do four weddings in a day. It was very high volume, and safety was paramount to me, but I noticed that people didn’t come to me having been taught safety in the kitchen, and a safety as we know now with COVID-19, is more than just not getting cut with a knife, it’s about food safety and pathogens and just operating on a high level of alertness that things are being done right in the kitchen. So, that was really important to me when I came to teach young people and I feel like we’ve been successful. I’m just hoping I can make that translate now to the computer…that online version. (32:30)

August 19, 2020

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