Sichuan university makes cooking an optional course

Learning how to cook at a cookery school is normal, but it’s not often an option for students at other universities and in other majors.

Starting this year, Southwest Jiaotong University in the Chinese city of Chengdu has made cooking an optional course, which is brand new for students there.

Though the class has already reached its maximum capacity, many students continue to ask if they can apply or even just be present in the classroom.

A teacher surnamed Yu said the classroom was renovated out of the school’s canteen, so it’s well-facilitated in order to help with teaching. Students can use the cooking facilities as they could do at home, the teacher said.

He disclosed that each week 10 teachers, who all have more than 20 years of experience in the field, will show students how to cook one or two dishes.

The students will not only learn theoretical knowledge and the history of Sichuan cuisine, but also learn to cook well-known Sichuan dishes such as Mapo Tofu and poached spicy slices of pork.

When the semester is over, the students will cook in front of their teachers and the food will be scored by how it looks, smells and tastes. The score will go towards their course credit.

Students said they’ve not only learnt how to cook, but also enhanced communication with each other during the learning process.

Southwest Jiaotong University is known for opening a number of creative courses other than cooking, such as handicrafts. The optional courses have improved students’ hands-on skills, taught them to respect labor workers, and helped them understand traditional Chinese culture and customs of different places, said a teacher at the university.