POSTED ON AUGUST 31, 2011:
Class is Cooking
If you can't take the heat, get out of the classroom
As the new school year kicks off, Oklahoma has decided to implement a new education program to coincide with the start of the year. In an effort to ensure everyone understands the program, Urban Tulsa Weekly has committed to assist in the dissemination of information regarding the new No Chef Left Behind (NCLB) program.
It is vitally important for everyone in Oklahoma to understand that the overarching goal of NCLB is for all Oklahomans between the ages of five and 18 years of age to become proficient in the culinary arts.
In order to ensure that this happens, these Oklahomans will be required to cook dinner five nights a week. To assist in this undertaking, the state of Oklahoma will employ chef instructors in each home. These instructors will eventually be compensated based on the quality of the food coming out of the kitchens.
Such a quality-based pay scale has not yet made it through the legislature. Until then, all instructors will be paid significantly less than chef instructors in neighboring states.
When the aforementioned quality pay system is eventually instituted, said quality will be judged exclusively by waiters, hostesses, dishwashers, bussers and other individuals who have received training in any sector of the food industry other than actual food preparation.
Under NCLB, no consideration will be made for any chef's past instruction or lack thereof, previous experience, or desire to cook. Chefs will be instructed in the exact same way across the state, leaving no room for different learning styles, social conditions, or the state of the kitchens in which instruction is occurring.
NCLB provides a silver bullet for culinary education, providing The One Correct Way to teach young chefs. The silver bullet curriculum assigned will come directly from the state legislature. Legislators with any culinary training will be disqualified from participating in the curriculum development process.
After the age of 18, all chefs exiting the home instructional kitchens will secure employment as executive chefs in Oklahoma restaurants, as this is the only true measure of a successful chef.
Every May, each kitchen in Oklahoma will be evaluated on whether its exiting chefs have become executive chefs. Until exiting chefs secure such positions, said chefs' home instructional kitchens will be placed on probation. Upon a second consecutive year in which a kitchen's chefs do not find employment as executive chefs, NCLB mandates that the Department Of Culinary Knowledge (DOCK) begin removing kitchen utensils and cookware from said chefs' instructional kitchens. Those kitchens will still be expected to produce successful chefs who reach the executive level every year.
Oklahoma home kitchens determined by DOCK to be underachieving by failing to produce executive chefs two or more years in a row will be placed on the Failure to Educate Chefs (FEC) list. Chefs on FEC list kitchens will have the option to move to other Oklahoma home kitchens that do not appear on the FEC list.
The fact that resources will be spread more and more thinly as more and more chefs leave their DOCK'ed kitchens and migrate to these more successful kitchens will not be taken into consideration during annual evaluations.
All chefs will be required to learn how to prepare meals from several different cooking schools of thought, but will only be evaluated on their preparation of Chicken Cordon Bleu. Lawmakers do not, in any way, believe that instructors will only spend time teaching chefs how to prepare this one meal, and certainly not when the presumed passage of the quality-based pay scale occurs.
All chefs will be presumed equal in their skills until they demonstrate otherwise. Further, when preparing for the systemized evaluation based on the preparation of Chicken Cordon Bleu, not only will there be no allowances made for family recipes that may deviate from the state-sanctioned recipe for this meal, but also, all chefs will be expected to create the dish perfectly, irrespective of previous training.
Italian chefs, molecular gastronomists, bachelor chefs, oyster shuckers, Hamburger Helper experts alike will be expected to execute the correct preparation of Chicken Cordon Bleu. Those chefs who are discovered to excel at cooking Chicken Cordon Bleu, or any other dish, for that matter, will not receive any instruction.
All chefs in Oklahoma, which again is to say every single person in the state between the ages of five and 18, will demonstrate the same knife skills at the same time. Again, no consideration will be made for a chef's age, the amount of knife training a chef has, any missing appendages, or being left-handed. All chefs will also be equally adroit at preparing a hollandaise, a bouillabaisse, light mayonnaise, and Bixby maize.
The instructors of those chefs who cannot do so will have more items removed from their instructional kitchens. The threat of further reduction in cooking resources will serve as sufficient motivation for instructors to pursue greatness in their instructional kitchens.
No instruction time or resources will be spent on teaching the fine art of breakfast preparation, as this falls far behind the core subject of dinner meals in terms of importance, dietary requirements, and relevance to chefs' daily lives. Instead, heavy emphasis will be placed on the only truly relevant cooking skills: red meat preparation and vegetable steaming. All research pointing to the importance of the fine art of breakfast preparation in the abilities, cognitive development, and thought processes of young chefs has been proven to be part of the liberal agenda.
While there is no evidence -- neither empirical nor anecdotal -- that these methods will produce the desired effect, this is the path we as a state have chosen to follow.
Lawmakers -- all well-versed in the intricacies of educating chefs of all ages, aptitudes and abilities -- are confident these measures will produce quality chefs across the state, and that these measures will allow underprivileged chefs in poorly-performing kitchens a better chance at gustatory greatness.
After all, our chefs are our future. Don't they deserve the best of everything? Don't we owe it to them to pursue intelligent, well-designed programs like NCLB that will put them all on the same culinary level, regardless of ability?
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