A middle school culinary curriculum is interdisciplinary, as students are expected to “cook, learn, grow” while participating in special group projects taught by Chef Ameer Natson.
The 45 minute class was for cooking, but students learned about math, critical thinking, and process management. Some tie ins were obvious, such as reading a recipe, measuring ingredients, and others were masked as part of cooking, such as when students were asked to think twice about the sequence of steps in the recipe.
Natson deliberately embeds academic lessons into the culinary activities. This is because of his early exposure to cooking, and how it impacted his life and career.
Natson’s father ran a bakery, and a beauty salon. He made it important to teach his pre-teen son about business. “I’m going to teach you how to be an entrepreneur,” he said, and set the 11 year old up with a hot dog cart in Newark.
Natson is now a renowned chef, trained at the French Culinary Institute, and has been a successful personal chef to many stars. He has used his celebrity connections to create opportunities for students.