Industry Update
Opinion Article20 August 2020

Adapting EHL’s Practical Arts Pedagogy To New COVID-Secure Measures

By Beatrice Venturini, Hospitality Insights content editor at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne

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An interview with senior lecturer, Cyrille Lecossois, who teaches culinary arts and the Research & Development programs at EHL. He explains the significant and successful changes that have been implemented post-COVID-19 in order to guarantee safety at the school in all areas relating to his teaching practice.

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1. How has the Practical Arts dept adapted to the new hygiene & safety operations?

We have drawn up internal regulations concerning hygiene, food safety, staff safety, and of course, student safety. Our previous hygiene rules have been drastically strengthened, improved and changed due to directives from the Federal office of Public Health and GastroSuisse related to COVID-19. These new regulations are being applied to all our workshops.

I've been working on the creation and implementation of these new standards in partnership with Ms. Sabrina Lavaux, project manager of Workingsafe. Workingsafe is a collective platform of specialists from Hospitality, HR and Digital Communication, who have formed a collaborative team that promotes professional safety standards.

In addition, the Culinary Arts coordination team has devised a hygiene test for the students based on the new regulations in place, which gives each student a certification in good hygiene practices from the get-go. At the start of every new class and workshop, we take a few minutes to reiterate the importance of these hygiene practices, either by going over the new regulations or by watching the Workingsafe video together.

2. How have the food stations changed at EHL?

This has been a big question for all of us. Everything has been impacted and our familiar mealtime habits shaken up. After much strategic thought, we have put in place the following:

  • floor markers for social distancing
  • hand sanitizer before entry
  • pre-prepared trays that include cutlery
  • a restricted flow on the points of sale
  • menu on screen
  • effectively modified food offers strictly served by staff only
  • no points of contact or touch
  • everyone brings their own glass or drinking bottle
  • all meal sessions must be pre-booked on an app to avoid crowding
  • no buffets, customers cannot serve themselves
  • breakfast has to be ordered from the bar

3. What are the changes to the Preparatory Year program?

The Prep Year program has gone through some significant changes. Firstly in terms of how many students we can have in our workshops. With the chefs, we have taken the square meterage in each kitchen/workshop and from there we have defined the maximum of people permitted among students, staff and lecturers. Each lecturer has the responsibility of checking the numbers. It's working out pretty well at the moment.

Secondly, the timing. With the Research & Development course, for example, the students are now completing the program in four days instead of five. We have organized the teaching and workshop sessions to make sure that students receive the same information with a slightly reduced on-site duration.

Since September 2019, long before the pandemic broke out, we had been piloting online learning for the Prep Year/ Practical Arts program whereby students could work remotely for subjects relating to culinary technology and theory. Each course was analyzed to determine which part could be delivered remotely and which part had to be absolutely kept on campus, (i.e. the hands-on practice).

The students have adapted very well to these new methods and are taking the changes very seriously.

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Beatrice Venturini

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