Linking to hospitality and catering in science

Linking learning in science to the vocational course a student is following can be very motivational.

Microbes are widely used in food production to preserve food, enhance flavour or improve texture, and so this is the ideal topic in biology to grab the attention of students who are following vocational catering courses. 

This resource list highlights some great activities and practical work which look at this area more closely, as well as nutrition and the use of enzymes in food production.





line-height:115%;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif";mso-fareast-language:EN-GB">Whilst this list provides a source of information and ideas for experimental work, it is important to note that recommendations can date very quickly.  Do NOT follow suggestions which conflict with current advice from CLEAPSS, SSERC or recent safety guides. eLibrary users are responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is consistent with current regulations related to Health and Safety and that they carry an appropriate risk assessment.   Further information is provided in our Health and Safety guidance.



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Links and Resources

Practical Microbiology for Secondary Schools

In catering, students will learn about baking bread and related bakery products where the fermentation process achieves three primary objectives: leavening (carbon dioxide production), flavour development and texture changes in the dough

The investigation on page 28 illustrates the effects of temperature on yeast (enzyme) activity in bread making.  You could extend this to investigate the use of different types of flour or varying the quantity of yeast.

As part of their vocational training, students will also need to appreciate the importance of personal hygiene –hand washing and general body hygiene .  This can be a dull topic on paper, but an investigation in the science lab will really bring the subject to life!

The investigation on page 40 uses the harmless yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to simulate the contamination of hands with faecal microbes and the effectiveness of hand-washing in removing them. Different brands and thicknesses of toilet paper and different types of soap may be evaluated.

Why not link up with the catering department to investigate the importance of cleanliness in the kitchen?  Students can take swabs from a food preparation area and inoculate agar plates.  Then clean the area thoroughly and repeat the process to find out how effective their cleaning is.  Incubate the plates at 20–25 °C in the science lab for 2–3 days. After incubation the plates should be taped around the circumference so that the lids cannot be removed. 

To extend this activity, Microbiology Online have a great resource to help students observe colony morpholgy which can be downloaded as a pdf.  Additionally, in the teachers section of this website, you'll find safety guidelines, risk assessment, good microbiological practice and spillage management.

Useful guidance for technicians can be found in the section on Preparation of media and cultures.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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Paul Gray - Bakehouse Manager

If you've ever been to York or Harrogate, you will probably have been to Betty's!

This is a film showing the role of the Bakehouse Manager at Betty's, which can be used to introduce the bread making activity above.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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Useful Microbes for Secondary Science

This simple practical illustrates to students another use of microbes in food production. They make a basic yoghurt and then examine the culture under the microscope. This is a good opportunity to develop skills in slide preparation and microscopy.

Students make observations before and after fermentation.

Although precautions are taken not to introduce contamination, tell students that the yoghurt should not be eaten or sampled. Food-producing facilities need to be inspected and are scrupulously clean. The school laboratory is neither.

The activity can be extended by having students plan investigations into factors such as the effects of temperature, starter culture volume or how storage conditions effect shelf-life of the product.

How could they test the quality of the yoghurt? Eating it is not an option, especially when testing shelf-life as the product will eventually become spoiled. Students can suggest objective measurements. If time and resources permit, the investigations can be carried out.

 

publication year
2010 to 2019

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The Ploughman's Lunch

Once students are familiar with fermentation in bread making, Microbes on the menu (page 2) provides a fascinating list of foods which use microbes in their production, including olives, salami and soy sauce.  You can use these as exhibits around the room with information about the type of microbe and its effect on the food. 

In the main activity students investigate the production of sauerkraut by fermentation of cabbage.

There’s a lot of science in the making of sauerkraut!  The salt removes fluid from the cabbage by osmosis, so this provides a nice opportunity to revise osmosis if students have already covered it.

Students can compare the bacteria in freshly prepared and older sauerkraut by inoculating  ready poured plates, practicing aseptic technique.

When making sauerkraut, the sugars are fermented by lactic acid bacteria into organic acids which then inhibit the growth of other microbes as the pH drops.  Population growth is not in the biology subject content at this level, but as an extension acivity you could simplify the questions and answers from the worksheet and make them into cards, allowing students to work in pairs to match them up.

For homework, can they devise a menu using only food and drink which use microbes in their production?

publication year
1990 - 1999

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Microbes on the Menu

This is a great handout to go with the activity above, or for you to use to add interesting information to the exhibition of foods around the room which is suggested as the starter activity. 

Alternatively you can use it as stimulous material for homework activity suggested above: devise a menu using only food and drink which use microbes in their production.

Also included are some recipes that utilise microbes. These are for:

• bagels
• elderflower 'Champagne'
• ginger beer
• yoghurt
• Quorn and mushroom stroganoff
• Thai tofu coconut curry

You could work with the catering department so that students cook one of these recipes in the same week that they investigate the use of microbes in their science lessons.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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The Hunt for Vitamin C; the Effect of Cooking Processes on the Vitamin C Content of Cabbage

In this investigation, from the Royal Society of Chemistry, students investigate how the vitamin C in cabbage is affected by different cooking processes.

It is a good opportunity for students to practice their titration skills, as well as considering the effects of different cooking techniques on the nutritional content of foods.

In catering students need to understand functions and sources of the main nutrients, healthy eating guidlines and nutritionally balanced meals, whilst in biology students should learn about diseases influenced by nutrition.

Linking learning to real careers adds relevance and is a great motivational tool, showing how science is used in so many jobs.

In this film, Nicola talks about how she became a senior nutritionist and now works in the community encouraging people to eat healthily.  She really enjoys seeing the results of her work in her patients, "they're feeling better, they're having a healthier diet, some of their health problems are getting much better and they're smiling with confidence."  The film would make a good introduction to this activity.

publication year
2000 - 2009

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