Walking inside Namm-204 is a room you never would thought to be a classroom. Large electric mixers that is bigger than the kitchen aid mixer families have at home. Sliver prep tables long enough to be a dinner table for a large family. Different sinks that have labels indicating what kind of sink it is. When looking up, you see big computer screens around the room that are used for presentations and lectures. Your classwork is to create desserts or candy. The sounds inside are the buzzing that is either coming from the fan on top of the stove or the refrigerator. The pastry lab is located in the Namm building and are used mostly by hospitality management students who have pastry and baking classes. The pastry lab is where students in the hospitality management learn what its like to work in the back of the house in a bakery or restaurant.
Room 204 in Namm building is located on the second floor. This classroom is not a chair and a desk type of room. But, is actually a kitchen where students bake a lot of desserts for their Pastry & Baking Arts class 1 and 2. In the lab, students will learn the basics of baking and get a feeling of what its like to work in the kitchen. Every student who are in the pastry lab are required to be in uniform and must bring in their tool kit to every class meeting. The students in lab are seen mixing ingredients at prep table, washing & sanitizing dishes or utensils, and decorating or frosting a cake. According to the City Tech website, before a student can enter the Pastry & Baking classes in the lab, they must pass with at least a C on three prerequisites classes. The following prerequisites classes are Introduction to Food & Beverage, Perspectives in Hospitality Management, and Food Safety & Sanitation (NYCCT). Students who don’t pass 1 or all of the 3, are not allowed to enter the Pastry & Baking classes. Students in their fourth year and decide to do Pastry & Baking arts as their area of focus will always be in the pastry lab most of the time.
There are a few professors that teach in the pastry lab in the Hospitality Management Department. One of them is Thalia Warner, a Pastry & Baking Arts professor at City Tech. I had met Professor Warner in my 1st semester when she taught my Food Safety & Sanitation class. She and I sat down in N 204 to interview her about the pastry lab and what the class is like there. According to my interview with Professor Warner, I had asked her the kinds of desserts the students in the pastry lab make, she answered, “Different pastries like pies, French desserts, yeasted caked, cheesecakes, and cream pies”. From her answer, there are many different types of desserts students and professors makes in the lab. I also asked her how are the students working in the lab, she told me that “Students always work in groups in most of the time”. Students probably have to know what its like to work with other people and help each other make a certain type of dessert.
Sanitation and cleanliness is a must when taking classes inside the pastry lab. As students learn in the class, they are also required to practice cleanliness in the lab so they can understand how to prevent food from being contaminated and how to properly store food. According to the Servsafe Coursebook, they briefly state that “If you don’t keep your facility and equipment clean and sanitary, food can easily become contaminated. It all starts with correct cleaning.” (Archambault, Curt, et al, pg. 12-2). If the pastry lab is not kept clean, food will be contaminated easily and possibility of rodents might start coming in. Also in my interview with Professor Warner, I asked her if the kitchen (labs) are kept clean at all times, she responded with, “Absolutely, clean and sanitize in the end” (Xavier, Gion). The pastry lab takes cleanliness seriously in order to prevent people eating contaminated desserts and other types of baked goods. Students who follow this rule will understand how to prevent dirtiness when they are working in the kitchens outside of City Tech.
From knowing about the pastry lab and what its like in there, it opens my interest in learning new things such as how to make a certain desserts and practicing cleanliness in the kitchen. As a hospitality management student myself, I am really excited to enter the pastry lab for baking classes and learn new things. Learning is not always just by the books and writing, but also how to practically do it. Once I learn how to work in the pastry lab at City Tech, I will know how to work in the kitchens when I graduate from City Tech.
New York City College of Technology (NYCCT) – Hospitality Management – Course Outlines. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. http://www.citytech.cuny.edu/academics/deptsites/hospitality/courses.aspx
Xavier, Gion. Personal Interview with Thalia Warner. 3 December 2015
Archambault, Curt, et al. Servsafe Coursebook 6th Edition. (n.d.). Chicago. 8 December 2015