Setup hinders culinary arts’ efficiency

By Michael Santone, News Editor

The culinary arts departments has a new and updated home in the Student and Administration Building, but the state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen design has been outfitted with basic installation mistakes that inhibit efficiency, but education still perseveres.

The classroom which is also used for labs holds 28 to 30 students and is equipped with an audio and video setup that includes three cameras focused on a full kitchen, six large screens to maximize viewing of the demonstration taking place at the front, as well as a headset and speaker system.

Culinary arts professor and department Chairperson Nader Sharkes said, “The idea is fantastic but the execution is not good.”

In the initial meeting, there were discussions of Bluetooth wireless, but the remote is placed on the back wall and can not be removed, he said.

To have to go back and forth to replay or rewind a demonstration is time consuming.

“It’s one drawback,” Sharkes said. But the design problems don’t stop there.

The cameras which are used to bring the instructor to the back of the classroom are positioned in an awkward way, he said. “One camera placement cuts off my head, the other is directed at nothing. These are elementary mistakes,” Sharkes said.

Culinary arts student Linda Montano said when Sharkes is using the cameras they begin to malfunction and operate in the wrong direction.

“Chef gets frustrated because he can’t see what he is doing, and neither can we,” Montano said.

“When this happens, Nader will have us come around him to finish the demonstration or for a closer look at some details.”

Montano said, the small problems with the new building and equipment don’t really affect her learning. “Just having more grills makes everything run smoother,” she said.

One of the other main design issues is the location of the control unit, Sharkes said.

This unit which contains the on and off switch, connections and master controls, is placed in an enclosed section of the counter next to the refrigerator. “The whole unit overheats and freezes because it’s too confined.”

Sharkes said he believes the confined space is the reason for the hardware overheating because of the lack of air. The overheating causes glitches that happen before and after lectures and cause the monitors to occasionally turn off, freeze and lose connection, he said.

Sharkes said, “Students are frustrated when you have a new system that does not work.”

Culinary arts student Kyle Delos-Santos said the new kitchen is better than the last kitchen but there’s always going to be problems with anything new.

She said, “The things that are supposed to help use, aren’t helping.”

Delos-Santos said Sharkes goes above and beyond to accommodated us, and in the end everything works out.

Culinary arts assistant professor Elisabeth Schwarz said during her dining room lectures in the Aqua Terra Grill there have been many problems getting the screens in working order.

She said, “This causes us instructors to looks unprepared.”

Critical Solutions Eric Chiu was made aware of the issues pertaining to the system glitching and freezing.

He said, “The problem was a USB compatibility connection.”

It has since been replaced.