Chef's Blog

November 11, 2016

Kinesthetic Learning and the C-CAP Program

from Chef Brian Dragos

My whole early career was based on ‘OTJ’—aka ‘On the Job’ training. The same kind that most people receive when they start a foodservice job. I followed a waitress when I was a busser or helped another dishwasher when I washed dishes. Later, I followed my father around as I learned my first pantry position. My introduction to culinary terms was rather helter skelter—a mix of English and French (and even at times German). I was only exposed to what was currently needed or what was used for the current position. Even at 14, I excelled in the kitchen. Looking back, I always thought it was just me and the quality of training I received from my father, American Sous Chef and French Chef mentors.

It wasn’t until I reached my forties that I actually learned the term ‘Kinesthetic’. It was during my time as the Senior Chef Instructor for the Military Supply Command. I learned about kinesthetic learning as part of the Navy’s supply school training. When tested on my learning style, I scored above the 90th percentile for kinesthetic learning.

It all started making sense! I never really liked formal classroom learning, and at times was even referred to as ‘that kid’. The one who, when called on, was lost and the class rolled their eyes or even laughed at. People like me are really challenged by lectures, speeches or even books. Death by PowerPoint indeed! On the bright side, kinesthetic learners can watch someone make a burrito and after getting their hands on the tortilla and filling, can roll 800 perfectly! I’m glad students today are tested for different learning styles and instructors are graded by their use of different learning styles. Kinesthetic learners like myself can get into special programs based on how we learn best. I’m glad I learned about the different learning styles people have, but only wished it was recognized earlier in my life.

I feel very lucky that the culinary trade existed and my father led me here. It makes you wonder how many other young lives can be changed with just a little direction. Programs like C-CAP, the Careers through the Culinary Arts Program. If you haven’t heard of them, I suggest you look them up . It’s a phenomenal program that provides exposure to our industry young, financially disadvantaged people. Their mission is to provide mentors, guidance and scholarships to break the cycle of poverty and help these young men and women reach their dreams.

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