#2: Meetings and Proposals

Posted by in Project Updates

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”

– Dwight D. Eisenhower

Weekly Objectives

Listing out our weekly objectives and achievements has enabled us to see what tasks we still need to complete as well as show us how far we’ve come on this project, this has helped to keep us all on track and motivate us for the entirety of the project.

  • Discuss our preference survey and taste test with Lee Green. For now, we still have different opinions on how many dishes we should cook for the taste test. Chef Green wants to choose and cook one from five dishes because more cooking may cause conflict with her course schedule. However, our aim is to let students choose which one is they prefer. We cannot compare and analyze the recipes if students only taste one, so we are still asking her if it is possible to cook two or more dishes for the taste test.
  • Start thinking about the survey. We aim to design a qualitative research method, which is composed of specific and in-depth survey questions to thoroughly understand the participants’ true opinions about the lunch menu provided by their school cafeteria. The survey will be created during our reading break and then sent to Chef Green. It should take students 20 to 30 minutes to finish the survey during their culinary class.
  • Address potential budget concerns. Although Chef Green said that her cafeteria can provide us some ingredients, we are unsure if there are sufficient funds for us to cook two or more recipes. Furthermore, although the cost of the recipes has been calculated by the students of the previous year, we have to re-calculate the cost due to the changes in vegetable prices. After the recipes are decided, we are going to ask Chef Green about the price of each ingredient during the next meeting.In order to achieve these objectives, our group will work during the reading break and may have another short meeting with Chef Green. Then we will be able to discuss the details and solve the mentioned problems. We strive to plan for every step and ensure that our future work can be successful.

Weekly Achievements

  • We have finished and submitted the proposal this week, which is an outline of our future work.
  • We have met both community partners, Marc and Chef Green, and we understand their expectation and how they can help us for the project.
  • We consulted Instructor Will and asked for his suggestions about the recipe budget, and he provide some assistance.
  • During the tutorial session, we brainstormed about how we can inform high school students about the importance of local food in the taste test.
  • All team members have finished the TCPS 2 and submitted the certificate through Connect

One of the major turning points in our process to date was finding out we were not going to be able to conduct all five recipes for the taste test, we will elaborate further using Rolfe et al.’s reflective model to give more insight into our groups thought process during the ups and down of this significant moment.


Since our last blog post we had scheduled a meeting with our other community partner, Chef Green the culinary teacher at David Thompson Secondary School, to achieve more insight into the project, which would guide us in the development process, and to go over the logistics of how we would implement the survey and taste test. We went into the meeting with our five recipes created by the previous LFS 350 group, ideas for the survey, and the rough draft of our proposal as well as our eagerness for the next steps to be set out. In the meeting with Chef Green we explained our vision of the project and what information we had gained from our meeting with Marc two weeks prior; Chef Green provided us with information about her culinary class, how we might administer the survey and the sentiment that if we needed any input on the survey she would be glad to help. Chef Green also posed some good questions that, in the development stage of our project, we had not fully worked out yet:

Is she going to need to purchase the ingredients for the recipes? Are we coming to cook the recipes with the culinary class? Are we coming after just for the taste test? Or are we observing the whole process?

Chef Green explained to us that since the five recipes were entrees that they would be too time- consuming and not ideal for her and the culinary class to do all of them since she has the curriculum for the class already planned out. With that we gave Chef Green the task of deciding what recipe she thinks would be best to make with her class; she was leaning towards making the Butternut Squash Pasta Bake or the Bibimbap recipe, both received the highest taste test rating from the previous LFS 350 group. We left the meeting feeling a little more overwhelmed with the new information and a few more setbacks than we had anticipated when we arrived at David Thompson Secondary School.

Butternut Squash Bake/Bibimbap (courtesy of Google images)

So What?

Due to schedule restrictions, only half of our group could make the meeting, so those who attended were tasked with bringing the news back to the rest of the group. Once everyone was up to speed, we discussed how we were all a little disheartened as we thought that cooking all five recipes for the taste test and comparing them was the basis of finding out the students’ preferences as well as the feasibility of making them in their cafeteria setting. Although we fully understood the concern, since in LFS 250 we were set with the task of creating a workshop using BC’s curriculum and discovered how time-consuming the whole process is and how making changes to the preplanned curriculum would be also. In addition, in BC’s curriculum, there is specified content that the students are required to learn and the recipes we are providing may not fall within those guidelines or they could be recipes and techniques the students have previously been taught.

Most of us have a certain image or plan in our head of how things are suppose to go, especially during a project with a clear outline, objective and outcome thoroughly thought out and that is exactly what our group had done. When we started this project we set out our goals and objectives, and planned exactly what we needed to for our project and when it needed to be done by.

  • Meet with the community partners
  • Make a survey to find out students preferences
  • Give students the survey
  • Conduct a taste test for the five recipes

Our list sounded easy enough and none of us thought much could go wrong with it. Therefore, when the taste test didn’t seem to be going the exact way we had wanted it to, we were hit with uncertainty and the feeling that our once structured, straightforward project was now all up in the air and we really didn’t like this new position we had found ourselves in. Ted Harford said it perfectly:

“Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it’s not helping you.”

In Tim Harford’s (2016) TED Talk: How messy problems can inspire creativity, he described an experiment where teachers gave handouts, to half their highschool students, that had easy too read, more familiar fonts such as times new roman while the other half were given more difficult font types such as comic sans italicized. At the end of semester they were both administered the same test and those students that had been given handouts with the more difficult fonts to read did better than those who hadn’t. This was because the students were given an obstacle, something more unfamiliar and they had to slow down and find a new way to adjust and improve upon the situation at hand.

Having an obstacle, like the taste test issue, emerge during our process has pushed us to become more adaptable to unexpected situations and has allowed us to consider more creative ways to give the taste test which  could also have the potential of being more beneficial to our projects’ outcome. If the process was too simple and straightforward we may have missed some creative ideas that we wouldn’t have considered if our plan had gone foolproof.  Also we could have become more accustomed to having things going exactly as planned which would be problematic during the rest for our project as well as in our future careers because if a problem ever did arise we wouldn’t be very conditioned innovative, on the spot thinkers. So in the end, we as individuals and as a group benefited from our objectives not going as we had originally hoped, because we learned to think more critically and creatively, in addition our project is better off for this.

Now what?

Collectively as a group we will now go ahead with conceiving alternative strategies to attaining the preferences of the students without them cooking all five recipes. Recently, we quickly brainstormed a few ideas such as providing two surveys instead of one or cooking the rest of recipes ourselves and having the students taste them in comparison to the one they produce. Luckily we came up with these alternatives easily and now we don’t see this setback as detrimental to our project as we originally thought. Further correspondence with Chef Green has occurred this week outlining times, dates and new logistics for the survey and taste test. We are currently waiting for her feedback so that we can continue with our planning. We are certain other roadblocks may arise amid the duration of our project but we are now more aware and conditioned problem solvers, set at working through any new issue as a team.

Upcoming Objectives

We’ve got some work ahead of us . . .

  1. Getting the survey started

As we are prioritizing the survey for this project, we believe we need to do an in-depth research on surveys that are out there. The survey will mainly serve to find out what students currently eat for lunch, where they eat, what would they like to eat, and what foods they find in the cafeteria.

Marc advised us to use the Centre for Ecoliteracy (CFE) as a guideline for creating the survey, and thankfully it has provided very detailed instructions on writing a school lunch survey.

We want our survey to not only be succinct but also intriguing so the students won’t be bored. We will also try our best to emphasize the importance of the study by explaining how it can impact them positively, and thus motivating them to answer the questions honestly. Chef Green also told us that she can provide us with iPads for the students to fill out the survey, which would make it easier for us as data entry is much easier using a computer.

  1. Setting a date for taste test

As mentioned before, we came across a few problems regarding the taste tests. As soon as we figure out a solution, we will contact Chef Green and set a date.

Make sure to tune into to see what obstacles, accomplishments and results we gain from the creation of our survey to the implementation phase as well as the process of conducting a taste test in blog post #3!