Sometimes in Life, You Just Get Lucky #sol20
October 13, 2020
As many perhaps, I take a slow start to Saturdays sometimes, this past Saturday, after making some coffee and a loaf of banana bread, I watched a couple of episodes of The Chef Show on Netflix.
While watching the interaction between Jon Favreau and Baker Chris Bianco, I am reconsidering my coaching and perhaps even my teaching.
Chris gave Jon and the chef’s in attendance a super fast run through of focaccia bread. Now, of course, Chris has been making this day in and day out for years. I believe he started his first ‘restaurant’ in Phoenix in the back of a convenience store. He talk a little about the dough process, the shape, and then took some time to discuss the ‘mattress making’, the holes in the focaccia dough that give it it’s distinct shape. I know this quick run through gave the chefs in attendance some schema to hold on to.
Then Chris gave Jon the formed dough to finish the process with. He let John form the holes in the focaccia. When he had questions about how much crushed tomatoes, Chris answered, “Do what feels right, you’ll know.” When Jon had questions about how much cheese to put on, he said, “What looks right to you?” On they went, Jon finishing his focaccia pizza and them trying it together.
Then Jon asked Chris to make the focaccia pizza while they watched again. Chris went through the actions slowly and the watching chefs and Jon Favreau narrated his actions. “Oh, he pressed the holes larger.” “He didn’t make them so straight.” “He put less tomatoes. He pushed them in the holes”. “He mounded the cheese.” You could see the learning grow as they talked through this last time.
Chris Bianco let them feel their way with just a little guidance. He let them ask questions and even make perhaps a few small mistakes. He let the new bakers walk through the process and watch and process each step. He gave them agency. It makes me want to try this very process with students as they try new writing and other skills. Giving them a taste of their own success. Making their own observations.
When the watching chefs commented on how much better his focaccia tasted to them, he answered, “sometimes, you just get lucky.” It reminds me of this saying.
“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.” —Zenrin Kushû