UW-Stout professor, chef teaches classes online

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 5:07 PM CDT
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One local chef and teacher is still helping his students serve up cuisine in the kitchen, despite COVID-19.

For more than 35 years, students at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie have learned the ins-and-outs of the restaurant industry from professor and chef Phil McGuirk.

"Having him as a teacher was a truly unique experience because of the sheer amount of knowledge that he has about foodservice," said UW-Stout student Rayne Holmson. "I don’t think that coming across someone else like him would be an easy thing to do."

But when the coronavirus hit and classes moved to online, McGuirk had to close the kitchen doors and turn to technology. The 80-year-old culinary expert says this was a big change for him.

"Get it all set up," said McGuirk. "Get the computer and making sure everything was working properly. I had spectrum come out and do all of that. It took 2 days."

Despite not being together in the same kitchen on campus, the learning has continued. McGuirk assigned his cooking students diffeent recipes to make at home with what they had available.

"The one after that was chicken breast, a 6 ounce portion," said McGuirk. "Do something with it. Maybe you want to pound it out and do a little stuffing, filling, bread it, bake it off in the oven, whatever they want to do. We were just very interested in seeing what they could do."

The chef says there are still many kinks to work out when it comes to online learning.

"This is my first time doing this," said McGuirk. "I learned a lot of things, I think I should've given more guidance."

Even with the kinks along the way, McGuirk says his students didn't fail to impress from their at-home kitchens.

"I really was very very impressed with their works so I went to Culvers."

McGuirk says he bought Culvers giftcards for his students because of their hardwork during these unprecedented circumstances.

"We could tell that the switch to online schooling was difficult for him in the sense that he enjoys in person teaching so much," said Holmson. "It was a nice way to still make a gesture to show that he cares."

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