Discover Year 9 Food Tech!

Note from the editor about our featured photograph: In an exemption from the ‘Phones Away for the Day’ rules, students are allowed to use mobile phones in school when staff authorise them to do so, as in this instance.

Have you ever wondered what Year 9 Hangarau Kai (Food Technology) is like at Westlake Girls High School? 

During your practical lesson each week, you enter the classroom with your apron tied and hands washed, wearing hairnets and covered shoes, eager to try out new recipes or design and create your own products. All this while cooking with new friends and gaining valuable knowledge and experience. If you make a mistake, that’s fine! It’s all part of learning in this subject. 

In our first practical lesson, we were challenged to turn a pikelet recipe into our own creation. By changing some of the ingredients, shape, size and colour, our group was able to create a dark chocolate pikelet, made in a waffle maker, changing it into an entirely different product. 

Hangarau Kai is all about teamwork and collaboration. We swap tips and share techniques, and when we’re done, we share the food we have made within our group. Our classmates act as stakeholders to give us feedback on our creations and provide advice on what we can improve on. And if being able to work together isn’t enough, we also had creative freedom in our practical assignments, with the opportunity to make anything from waffle stacks to savoury soups.

It is not just about making food; in our non-practical classes, we have learnt about the design process, a little bit about the science involved in cooking, measurements and ensuring accuracy, using our senses to evaluate food, we learnt about harmful bacteria and the temperature danger zone, and even a little bit about nutrition. We have also had the opportunity to use our own culture as the inspiration for the dishes we created. Some examples from our class included; kumara and lamb dumplings, sapasui baked potato, pani popo twists, pork and coconut rice, and parāoa parai (fried bread) burgers.

Our final practical in the unit was a mystery box innovation challenge. For this, each group was given a list of ingredients, and the challenge was to create a new product by utilising the ingredients in a different, more unique way. This was a great opportunity to showcase our creativity. We began by sketching out our initial ideas for the design and ended up inventing a completely new dish that we would never have thought of before.

All in all, this course was not just about practising cooking skills, but also encouraging our creativity (auahatanga), encouraging problem solving, building relationships and working together with others (whakawhanaungatanga). We had to work together throughout the entire process, including the cleaning at the end of every practical. 

It was a valuable experience for us, and we hope to be back again someday.  We’ll remember all we’ve learnt and take away the knowledge and experience home to share with our whānau.

Teachers of Food Technology: Ms Clouston, Mrs Beaumont, Mrs Segetin, Ms Pike, Ms Bickerstaffe.

By Heidi Geertsema & Sophia Tremain-Choudhary