Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA culinary students work behind the scenes to cater meals for film students

June 15, 2016 - University Marketing Communications
Stephen F. Austin State University instructor Chef Todd Barrios explains the proper chopping technique to hospitality senior Janice Nelson of Fort Worth as they prepare one-pot Jambalaya in SFA's Special Problems in Film Industry Catering course, where culinary students plan, prepare and serve three-course meals to SFA film students during the summer.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University students enrolled in the Special Problems in Film Industry Catering course man their stations in the kitchen-each group working on a different course.

At one table, two students slice cherry tomatoes as they prepare a Louisiana sunburst salad. Near the oven, two more students chop celery and peppers to add the finishing touches to their one-pot Jambalaya. Another group cracks eggs and whips sour cream for butter-cake beignets.

Culinary students work on mastering their craft from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday by preparing meals for SFA students in the filmmaking program.

Chef Todd Barrios, instructor in SFA's School of Human Sciences, explained that the culinary course "flips" the classroom by teaching the content online and the application during class.

During the summer I session, students in SFA's filmmaking program produce an independent, full-length feature film. These students must remain on set throughout the day while they learn from SFA faculty members and visiting alumni with industry experience.

That's where Barrios and his culinary students come into the picture-they prepare meals for the filmmaking students. This unique collaboration allows both sets of students to receive real-world experience.

Barrios said the course promotes last-minute planning, menu changes and time alterations because of the film schedule.

"The culinary students get a glimpse of what the real world is like when things change at the last minute, but the food quality, quantity and service must not be affected," Barrios said. "The students also get experience planning and preparing meals that provide what the film students need nutritionally to sustain them throughout their long days."