Why Cooking is Great for the Mind

Creating and making up recipes in the kitchen will always be fun. Losing some flour on the floor or eating half the mixture before its made is part and parcel of putting the apron on. Students can go through phases of taking over in the kitchen, really embracing the responsibility and role the chef’s hat brings to the table. So why not encourage it? Whilst procrastibaking (Yes…it’s a term now ladies and gents) is a thing, getting creative and producing a product that students are proud of can be great for their confidence and mind.

Now, unless their gearing up to be the next MasterChef or challenge Jamie Oliver, it’s likely they’ll be following a recipe. Recipes often involve steps where activities and tasks need to be completed in a certain order within specific time frames. Following rules and recipes like these, teaches students the importance of following instructions. Being able to read, understand and then perform an action can translate into the classroom. Students will be able to follow their teacher’s instructions clearly and learn to read the instructions and questions carefully to ensure all the information is absorbed.

Whilst there is a recipe and set of instructions to follow, there’s also a little bit of leeway for things to get creative. Whether it’s the toppings on a cake or the colour of the icing, students have the opportunity to take charge and let their creative instincts strike. Even picking the recipe or deciding on what to bake, ignites the creative cycle. Students can also feel a sense of responsibility in picking the recipe and ingredients needed to create their cake of choice.

A good cook needs to know and learn how to multitask. Boiling the water while prepping and cutting should be on the agenda for any aspiring chef. Students practising these skills in the kitchen will give them the confidence to take this mindset with them into their studies. Working on an English assignment that’s due on Friday, whilst studying for an exam that’s on Monday is where the multitasking comes in. With experience in multitasking activities and juggling due dates and time frames, students can tackle their studies with a little bit of ease.

It’s no secret and it’s also no use trying to keep it a secret that every chef fumbles. There’s mishaps, mismeasuring and mistakes from reading the recipe to dropping the cake from out the oven. It’s not so funny at the time, but thinking back on those times will bring a little chuckle to mind I’m sure. Stuffing up and failing at times will assist in fostering your student’s growth and approach to failure. Quitting the kitchen after a mistake won’t help when times get tough with the books. Resetting and re-framing the mindset will not only de-stress the situation but might bring about a new approach to find a solution.

We’re not all Jamie Oliver. We can’t all guess how much spice to add, or how many ml’s of that liquid. We need measurements right? Well, I certainly do. Students using instruments and cooking utensils to measure out flour, sugar, milk and other ingredients is a real-life maths exam at play. Getting the right measurement exact and possibly even converting fractions into cups or ml’s will get the maths side of the brain flowing together with its creative counterpart.