Effects on skills and knowledge of a sensory teaching program for culinary students

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  • Marie Damsbo-svendsen
  • Bat-El Menadeva Karpantschof
  • Mikkel Stovgaard
  • Jacob Højgaard Christensen
  • Frøst, Michael Bom
Culinary practitioners (chefs and healthcare cooks) need tools to systematically assess and improve the sensory quality and acceptance of the food they produce. Sensory science provides these tools to develop, revise and improve foods. However, in the culinary arts educations in Denmark teaching in sensory science is limited. We developed a teaching programme for culinary arts educations, focusing on the use of central practices of sensory science in production kitchens. The teaching programme was tested and developed in dialogue with vocational teachers and culinary students. The material consists of five theoretical and practical teaching modules that cover topics such as the senses, sensory vocabulary development and training, fast sensory methods and factors contributing to palatability. In total, 137 culinary students participated in the teaching programme. The goal was to make culinary students master sensory evaluation techniques and improve their ability to develop food that is liked by consumers. Consequently, these practitioners can improve the sensory quality and acceptance of sustainable and healthy foods. Learning outcomes in a combined sensory knowledge (ten questions) and skills test (eight sensory tasks) were examined. Altogether 89 culinary students participated in both the baseline and follow-up test. Results demonstrate a highly significant effect in both domains. The knowledge scores were significantly higher after than before the course and the scores in the skills tests revealed a significant improvement of culinary students’ vocabulary after completing the course as measured by a higher number and quality of descriptors used to describe four different foods in an open description task. A higher number of descriptors used to describe foods by means of a check-all-that-apply (CATA) sensory descriptive methodology emphasized these findings. Integrating a course on sensory science and methods into the culinary arts educations leads to significant improvement of culinary students’ sensory vocabulary, knowledge and skills. The sensory educational programme is available in Danish with elaborate instructions for teachers through Taste for Life’s online services. Additionally, to train vocational teachers so they can teach it themselves, virtual courses on the sensory educational content were created in 2021 and are accessible online.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Food Design
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)119-141
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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