I.What are the behavioral effects of the contemporary celebrity chef on the teenage cook: perception, reality and burnt toast – quality versus showmanship
II.There is an effect as it relates to interest and captivating the attention of the student cook. There is no correlation between teenagers viewing cooking programs with celebrity chefs and the desire for teenagers to pursue the career.
III.My own experience as a culinary arts teacher keeps me in the realm of classroom instruction with teenagers on a daily basis. Additionally, theses students are pursuing careers in the culinary field, including cooking, baking, hospitality and foodservice management. When interviewing students for acceptance into the program, the topic of television cooking programs has often come up. I frequently inquire as to where the student sees him/herself in the next ten years. On occasion, an interviewee will respond with some correlation with my culinary class as a jumping off point for becoming the next celebrity chef that they saw on television
IV. Research methodology:
A) Design: 51 current culinary arts students, ages 15-17, will be asked to respond and complete an online investigation of how influential celebrity chefs are in their own decision making for the student’s career. The students will be asked to anonymously respond, using a handheld response system, to questions about their favorite television chef, their favorite television program, their favorite cooking/food-related television program, the reason why they decided to become a member of this class and their career goals. The system being used is the Renaissance Classroom Response system, developed by Renaissance Learning. This system uses handheld infrared transmitters with individual screens to display questions and responses. The responses are then transmitted to the base receiver attached to the AccelTest testing and survey software package. AccelTest will provide a graphic display of the responses corresponding to the questions asked of the respondents.
B) Celebrity Chef: A chef whose name and/or image is generally recognizable by the public
Burnt Toast: within the confines of the researcher’s classroom, this term relates to getting something done, regardless of the quality.
C) Process: Following the use of the handheld system, study director will examine the student responses to determine the correlation between the likelihood that students are entering the field based on what they witnessed on television or whether their decisions were based on other factors, like desire to work within the industry, familial influence, creative desires, ease in which jobs are located or basic desire to earn a living wage.
B) Current tenth and eleventh grade culinary arts students at XXXXXXXXX Technical High School who were told of the need for their instructor to complete a study, but not the nature of the research. There was no incentive offered neither for the completion of the study nor for their participation. The students share varied backgrounds, limited to that they are all aged 15-17 with a diverse socio-economic status, racial profile and gender make up.
C) Culinary Arts Students at XXXXXXXXX Technical High School
A)Handheld response system with the questions: Who is your favorite television chef? What is your favorite television program? What is your favorite television food program? Why do you elect to go into the culinary field? Answers are multiple choice with the respondents able to select only one option.
B)The questions were developed for use in this study and administered using a handheld classroom response system usually used for summative and formative assessments.
VII. Data gathered:
Of the 51 participants, students reported 47 preferences to a particular chef that would be found on television, with 4 showing no preference or ability to identify any of the chefs. Given a list of television shows, 28 reported preferences of television shows that had a food-themed nature, 11 had a non-food theme and 12 had no preference to any of the shows. Of the food-related shows, 44 had specific preferences for the programming and 7 did not identify a program with which they would classify as a preferred program. Lastly, given a choice of various reasons for entering the field, 6 mentioned the positive influence of what they witnessed on television as the determining factor, 8 mentioned the positive influence of what they witnessed on television as an interest factor but not the sole reason, 16 indicated that desire to enter the industry came from childhood/familial experience, 9 indicated no clear facet for the selection, 10 indicated their desire to work with their hands/personal gratification and 2 declined to answer
VIII. Analysis of data:
The research indicates that some of the respondents may have been influenced by what they witnessed on television as a determining factor to enter the culinary field. Additionally, it appears that television is a catalyst for generating interest in cooking and foodservice. The stronger catalyst for prompting students to enter the field appears to come from their interest in becoming craftspeople versus gaining fame. Additionally, the respondents seem to grasp the facet that entering the field is not based on finding fame. Lastly, the data indicates that many respondents find an interest in cooking programming available on television.
There appears to be a minimal correlation between contemporary television celebrity chefs and the desire for students to be influenced by what they witness on television. The few students that indicate that television cooking shows are to their liking may be expressing their interest in cooking exclusive of whether or not they would watch the show, but as an indicator that they are involved in the culinary arts class. However, the data collected fails to show whether the students are interested in cooking programs because they are involved in cooking or are they interested in cooking as a result of the programs. The majority of the students indicate that their interest in cooking is not a result of their favorite celebrity chef show, but because of other reasons. The students, in discussions following the formal collection of the data using the response system, indicated that they felt that most of the television chefs do not really complete all the work that is witnessed on the programs. They indicated that many of the chefs have staff that does work for them off the screen.
X. Summary (Abstract):
There has always been some question as to the ‘pop culture’ influence of the contemporary celebrity chef on the general public. Does this chef influence buying practices? Does this chef influence people to go into the culinary field like that of budding, young crime scene investigators? Culinary students were polled to determine the actual influence that determined their course. Using a technology platform, students were asked to establish a connection with cooking programs and celebrity chefs. Students were asked if the field that they entered appears to be ripe with opportunity to enter the same field as these celebrities or are they entering the field so that they can emulate those chefs. While the conclusions indicate that there is some influence in on student performing within the confines of the culinary arts class as a result of the television chef, it appears that most students wantonly enter the field exclusive of the influence of the celebrity-chef.