‘Teenagers studying for a new GCSE in food preparation will have to know how to portion a chicken, fillet a fish and julienne vegetables, as well as make a variety of sauces from hollandaise and mayonnaise to veloute, bechamel and plain old gravy. The rigorous new examination for 16-year-olds will require them to be able to tenderise, marinate, blanch, poach, fry and braise – as well as make their own pasta, choux pastry, bread and tagine.’ From The Guardian
Posh and wealthy Tory-voting land-owning bankers, solicitors and lawyers all heaved a sight of relief last week when the details of the tough new GCSE qualification in Food Preparation and Nutrition were published by the government, allaying fears that the projected short-fall of master-chefs would lead to a reduction in the number of expensive restaurants for them to dine at, together with the consequent need to find other ways of spending their excessive amounts of disposable income.
The increased theoretical content of the GCSE course also means that it will be only taken by the more academically-able, thus ensuring that chefs will be able to conduct intelligent discourse both in the kitchens and with customers. “Thank goodness that in future there will be no more swearing in the kitchens”, said one restaurateur. “I look forward to our kitchen staff quoting Shakespeare rather than the Simpsons.”
Meanwhile spokespersons for McDonalds and Subway, who between them seem to employ the vast majority of today’s school-leavers, confirmed that while the new GCSE would be a desirable facilitating subject, it would not be an essential requirement for future job applicants, as there was not a great deal of demand for ‘palmiers, batons, dextrinisation and gas-in-air foam’ in their outlets. Furthermore they did not think customers would welcome having to decide whether they wanted their burger ‘tenderised, marinated, blanched, poached, fried or braised?’
According to the Guardian, Chef, food writer and campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (real name: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) said he would be very happy for any of his children to take the GCSE. “Thank goodness we can all now get back to the way things were in the good old days when the rich ate extremely well and the poor starved”, he didn’t add.
The course replaces the current GCSE in Food Technology which required students to learn about how food products are produced industrially and to solve complex, open-ended problems concerning quality control, scaling up for batch and mass production along with marketing and packaging. This often involved creativity and collaborative team work, skills that will no longer required in the forthcoming 19th Century.
And finally, in other news, the entirely fictitious Waitrose Academy Chain has announced an end to their offer of a free daily education. To qualify, parents will have to in future also purchase a treat from the school shop, such as a new item of uniform, sports equipment or educational outing. “We always knew that the offer of a free education for all had to end sometime, but I think they could have perhaps found a better solution” said one disappointed yummy mummy as she paid out for yet another new hockey stick that her wheelchair-confined child didn’t really need.
“Unfortunately our schools were just not making enough profit”, the Headteacher and Chairman of the Academy explained. “However we will still be offering a free takeaway lesson from our customer service desks”.
Image credit: Flickr/Eric Baker