A final assignment that tastes and feels good

George Brown’s PSW students presented a food expo as part of their final practical assignment

Photo by Dora Liu

Photo by Dora Liu


On April 16, while most of George Brown College’s (GBC) students stressedoverfinal exams, the personal support worker (PSW) students were enjoying theirfinal assignment, in the Waterfront E-Home simulation kitchen.Their assignment was to modify a traditional recipe into a healthier one, specifically to work against one selected chronic disease, such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity.

The students then presented their freshly made dishes during a food expo, for tasting and analysis.“It’s great fun,” said Amanada Greville, a PSW student, during the food expo. “I am happy to have this assignment at all. I don’t mind if we could have something more.”

Greville was not alone in her excitement for this assignment. Students all around the expo had the same comments.The personal support worker program is part of the nursing programs, that refers to the entry level of learning, but does not include medicinal care.

Generally,PSW programs would not involve cooking or nutrition classes, it is usually the culinary or culinary management-nutrition programs.“It’s practical for the (PSW) students to know how to cook healthy dishes if they are going to work in nursing field,” said Jean Niravong, instructor of nutrition and nutrition lab classes in the PSW program.

Niravong is aGBC alumni who graduated two years ago from the culinary management-nutrition program. The course is split into two parts: seven weeks for cooking skills and another seven weeks for nutrition knowledge.

“We have five lessons for culinary skills. First lesson, I teach them knife skills, basic vegetable cutting and recipe preparation. Second class, they will learn more about advanced cutting and will start to cook something,” explained Niravong.

The students gain nutrition knowledge partially from using Genesis, a software that helps to work out nutrition fact labels and nutrition analysis reports. The software helps to justify the nutritional contents of their dishes.

Judges and guests shared the floor with the 18 teams ofPSW students who were buzzing around the simulation lab, travelling from booth to booth tasting the healthy foods.Many of the dishes were aimed towards lactose intolerance, obesity, diabetes and malnourished elders. Moreover, they also prepared detailed leaflets to introduce their dishes’ background, nutritional improvements and the nutritional facts.

“You all did a good job today!” said Sharon Booy, instructor for the PSW program as well as the host of the food expo. “Some of the judges even asked me, ‘Can I add one more grade for them? Excellent is not enough to grade them.’ Well done guys!”

As Booy announced the winner of the expo, a round of applause shook the simulation lab. The winners and their classmates celebrated happily for what they achieved in the exam.

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A final assignment that tastes and feels good