Zest for Life! A Sensory Experience

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  • Lesson Identification and TEKS Addressed

    Cluster : Hospitality and Tourism

    Course : Practicum in Culinary Arts

  • TEKS Student Expectations

    • (2) The student develops skills for success in the workplace. The student is expected to:
      • (E) exhibit productive work habits, ethical practices, and a positive attitude
      • (F) demonstrate knowledge of personal and occupational health and safety practices in the workplace
      • (G) demonstrate the ability to work with the other employees to support the organization and complete assigned tasks
      • (H) prioritize work to fulfill responsibilities and meet deadlines
      • (J) demonstrate effective verbal, non-verbal, written, and electronic communication skills
      • (K) apply effective listening skills used in the workplace
    • (3) The student demonstrates work ethics, employer expectations, interaction with diverse populations, and communication skills in the workplace. The student is expected to:
      • (B) demonstrate characteristics of successful working relationships such as teamwork, conflict resolution self-control, and the ability to accept criticism
      • (D) demonstrate respect for the rights of others
      • (F) comply with organizational policies
    • (7) The student uses concepts and skills related to safety in the workplace. The student is expected to:
      • (A) identify and apply safe working practices
      • (B) solve problems related to unsafe work practices and attitudes
    • (10) The student understands the history of food service and the use of the professional kitchen. The student is expected to:
      • (B) identify global cultures and traditions related to food
      • (D) analyze how current trends in society affect the food industry
      • (E) use large and small equipment in a commercial kitchen
      • (F) develop food production and presentation techniques
      • (H) demonstrate food preparation skills used in commercial food service preparations such as breakfast cookery, salads and dressings, soups and sandwiches, stocks and sauces, appetizers, seafood, poultry cookery, meat cookery, pastas and grains, and fruits and vegetables;
      • (I) demonstrate baking techniques such as yeast breads and rolls, quick breads, and desserts
      • (K) demonstrate proper cleaning of equipment and maintenance of the commercial kitchen
  • Basic Direct Teach Lesson

    Instructional Objectives

    Students will:

    • investigate the art of developing flavor profiles in culinary arts
    • explore the facets of sensory perception and taste testing techniques through the senses of:
      • smell
      • taste
    • examine and identify the five flavor profiles of taste
      • sweet
      • sour
      • salty
      • bitter
      • umami (savory)
    • complete a seasonings index
    • analyze the seasonings index to develop a signature blend
    • prepare a dessert recipe using their signature blend
  • Rationale


    Future culinary arts professional students must be able to identify herbs and spices by sight, smell, and taste as well as recognize their relationship to various global cuisines. As an employee in the industry, students must be familiar with flavors and their ability to work together and compliment food. As future employees, you must gain the ability to combine flavors in order to create your own flavor profile to prepare you to enter the food service and hospitality industry.

  • Duration of Lesson

    Seven 45 minute class periods

  • Word Wall

    Aromatic/Aroma: A distinctive pervasive and usually pleasant or savory smell; of, relating to, or having aroma; a fragrant strong smell having a distinctive quality

    Flavor: The blend of taste and smell sensations evoked by a substance in the mouth

    Monosodium Glutamate: A crystalline sodium salt derived from glutamic acid and used to enhance the flavor of food —abbreviation MSG

    Mouthfeel: The sensation created by food or drink in the mouth

    Receptors: A cell or group of cells that receives stimuli

    Sensory Evaluation: A scientific discipline used to evoke, measure, analyze, and interpret reactions to the characteristics of food and materials as they are perceived by the senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing

    Sensory Perception: Recognition and interpretation of sensory stimuli based chiefly on memory

    Stimuli: An agent that directly influences the activity of a living organism or one of its parts (as by exciting a sensory organ or evoking muscular contraction or glandular secretion)

    Taste Buds: An end organ mediating the sensation of taste and lying chiefly in the epithelium of the tongue

    Umami (Japanese): A taste sensation that is meaty or savory

  • Materials/Specialized Equipment Needed


    • computer with projector for multimedia presentation

    Kitchen equipment

    • food processor
    • stand mixer


    • coffee beans
    • dried herbs
    • fresh herbs
    • kitchen utensils (grater, knives, sifter, zester)
    • measuring utensils (liquid and dry)
    • mixing bowls
    • mortar and pestle
    • seasonings (dried)
    • tasting utensils (spoons and bowls)
    • copies of handouts (see All Lesson Attachments tab)
  • Anticipatory Set

    Before class begins:

    Students in this course should have taken Culinary Arts, Hotel Management, or Restaurant Management and should have a background in herbs and spices. This lesson will intensify that knowledge with more in depth instruction.

    Gather supplies (see Materials/Specialized Equipment tab) and place on a table in front of the room.
    As students walk in to class, they will be greeted by the scent of the fresh herbs and coffee beans. Allow them to smell the herbs but not touch them as they will try to identify them through their scent at the end of the lesson.

    Write the word FLAVOR on the board. Appoint a leader to write student answers to the following questions?

    • What does Flavor mean to you?
    • Do you prefer sweet or salty flavors?
    • Have you tried Mediterranean foods?
    • Have you tried Asian foods?
    • What are your favorite flavors?

    We will begin by discussing taste and smell for herbs and spices available and plan and prepare a dessert lab using three herbs and/or spices of your choice.

  • Direct Instruction with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Introduce lesson objective, terms, and definitions.

    Introduce Zest for Life! A Sensory Experience PowerPoint™ (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Continue discussion of the flavors.

    Distribute handout Sensory Experience Profile (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Articulate the terms correctly so students will know how to pronounce the words. Discuss trends in today’s food industry. View video: TLC Cooking: Spices

    Option: To create interactive vocabulary, make an extra copy of the Sensory Experience Profile (Key) (see All Lesson Attachments tab) and cut apart each word with its definition. Give the words and definitions to 10 students and have them fill in their blanks then ask each student to read their definition and their blanks so the other students can fill in their notes. Once all the vocabulary definitions have been read and notes are complete, proceed with the slide presentation.

    Distribute the Flavor Profile graphic organizer (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Continue with slide presentation and direct students to label the tongue map on their handout. Once all students complete their labeling, take a moment and allow students to identify food items and their relation to the tongue map. When all students are finished, discuss students’ decisions.
    View YouTube video: Taste Buds on the Tongue

    Discuss the importance of smell in the taste physiology. View video: The Science of Taste – KQED Quest

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • working with peer mentor
    • checking for understanding
    • allowing more time

  • Guided Practice with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Divide the class into subgroups of three or four students.

    Distribute graphic organizer Aroma Recognition Activity (see All Lesson Attachments tab) to each group. Direct each group to retrieve a tray with 5 different herbs and spices and a dish of coffee beans. Inform the students the coffee beans are to assist in clearing their nasal passages after they smell each herb and/or spice. Students are to identify the herbs and spices and comment on the appearance and smell of each one.

    Distribute graphic organizer Seasonings Index (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Students may use an internet source or their textbook to list flavor enhancers, herbs, and spices and their uses.

    Other option:

    Before class begins:
    Place samples of various fresh and dried herbs and spices on small plates. Plates should be placed in various parts of the classroom so that students participate in a gallery walk and be able to examine the herbs and spices. Identify the herbs and spices so that students may fill in their graphic organizer as they actually feel and smell the seasonings.

    • Flavor Enhancers Gallery Walk
    • Herb Gallery Walk
    • Spice Gallery Walk

    Group observations will be discussed during lesson closure.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • work with peers
    • check for understanding
    • allow more time for oral responses

  • Independent Practice/Laboratory Experience with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Lab Preparation – Internet or Cookbooks needed
    Students will be divided in their lab groups.
    Using their Seasonings Index (see All Lesson Attachments tab) and the signature blend they created, research dessert recipes – such as: pies or savory pastries such as empanadas on the internet that correspond with the flavor profile. Be sure to identify your recipe if it is from a global culture and any traditions related to the spices used.
    Each group may be preparing a different recipe. A Best Dessert Recipe Certificate (see All Lesson Attachments tab) for the best flavor profile will be awarded to the group with the best dessert.

    Each group will complete a Lab Prep Sheet (kitchen brigade format) with executive chef, sous chef, prep cook, line cook, and dishwasher. Groups should work together as a team displaying positive work habits, attitudes, and communication skills to produce a flavorful product.

    All safety and sanitation rules learned previously will be followed.

    Equipment, utensils, and kitchen area will be cleaned and maintained before class ends.

    Dessert will be assessed with a Rubric for Laboratory Experience (see All Lesson Attachments tab).

  • Lesson Closure

    Review lesson objectives, terms and definitions.

    Question and Answer

    • What are the four areas of the tongue that help use distinguish between different flavors?
    • What is the newest flavor “sense” that can be defined as savory?
    • What are two vocabulary words introduced today?
    • Recall the odor recognition activity (the one that included the coffee beans). Which item was easiest to recognize and which was difficult?
    • What was the purpose of the coffee beans in the odor recognition activity?

    Each group will share their Aroma Recognition Activity with the class.

  • Summative/End of Lesson Assessment with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Lab will be assessed with a rubric.

    A certificate will be awarded to the best flavor profile dessert.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • working with peer mentor
    • checking for understanding
    • allowing more time
    • alternate assignment

  • References/Resources


    • Draz, J., & Kotke, C. (2010). The culinary professional. Tinley Park: The Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc.
    • The Culinary Institute of America. (2007). Introduction to culinary arts. Boston: Peason Education, Inc.



  • Additional Required Components

    English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Strategies

    • word wall
    • clear explanation of academic tasks
    • content related visuals (PowerPoint Presentation)
    • speak using common and content area vocabulary
    • monitor understanding and seek clarification
    • use oral language for formal and informal purposes
  • College and Career Readiness Connection

    AchieveTexas Career Cluster Crosswalks

    The Career Cluster Crosswalks housed on the AchieveTexas website http://www.achievetexas.org/index.html provide Texas teachers with a direct connection between their CTE course TEKS and the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS). Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Cross-Disciplinary integration are the focus of the CCRS. These college and career readiness standards are essential in the planning and delivery of CTE lessons. The extent to which the integration occurs is determined by the methods and strategies utilized by each teacher.

    Career Cluster Crosswalks for Education and Training, Hospitality and Tourism, and Human Services Career Clusters can be found at:

  • Recommended Strategies

    Reading Strategies

    Either use the internet or copy the e-zine article on the site below.


    Prior to reading the article have students skim the text circling the words that are unfamiliar to them. Have students decode the words before they begin reading. As the students read the article have them write questions on post-it notes. Collect the post-it notes and go over the questions as a class after all the students have completed the activity. Discuss the questions in an effort to review information in the article.

  • Quotes

    Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its’ flavor.
    -William Cowper quotes (English Poet One of the most widely read English poets of his day, 1731-1800)

    You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.
    - Julia Child

    Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.
    -Erma Bombeck

    When you are cutting out the fat, spices can add flavor.
    -Bethany Thayer

    Shouldn’t sugar be considered a spice, just like salt it?”
    -Jalal Errazi

  • Multimedia/Visual Strategies

    PowerPoint ™:

    • Zest for Life! A Sensory Experience
    • Presentation Notes – Zest for Life! A Sensory Experience


    • Infographics:
      • Spice Use Chart
        If you tend to use a lot of spices to flavor your foods, this chart is a must for you. It outlines different spices and which foods they complement best. You can use it to flavor all of your meats and other dishes and make sure that you are putting in the best spice for whatever foods you are preparing.
  • Graphic Organizers/Handout

    Graphic Organizer

    • Aroma Recognition Activity
    • Flavor Profile
    • Flavor Profile (Key)
    • Seasonings Index


    • Best Dessert Recipe Certificate
    • Rubric for Laboratory Experience
    • Sensory Experience Profile
    • Sensory Experience Profile (Key)
  • Writing Strategies

    Journal Entries

    • I have learned that cooking with fresh herbs is…
    • Developing the flavor profile allowed me to…
    • Flavor to me is…
    • The difference between seasoning and flavoring is……..
    • The difference in cooking with fresh herbs versus dried herbs is….
    • The flavor profile I created would go well with…….
    • Cooking with herbs and spices scare me because …… or
    • Cooking with herbs and spices excite me because…..

    Writing Strategy:

    Option A:

    • Write three observations to their favorite Chef of their experience in using herbs and spices.
      Example: Dear Chef Cora,
      This week in Culinary Arts I learned…?

    Option B:

    • The student will write an informational essay (3 to 4 paragraphs) about a herb or spice of their choice. It should include information on where it’s grown, regions where it’s commonly used, ingredients it pairs well with, and an explanation of the taste and smell.

    Option C:

    • Randomly assign an herb or spice to each student have them write a descriptive paragraph explaining the taste, smell, and how it can be used in food preparation.

  • Communication 90 Second Speech Topics

    Herbs and spices used by by family….
    My favorite herb….
    My favorite spice….

  • Other Essential Lesson Components

    Enrichment activity

    • Create a 90 second public service announcement or “commercial” about herbs and spices.
    • Plant an herb garden, utilizing fresh herbs in class projects as well as learning how to properly dry and store them.
    • With administrative permission and assistance from Agriculture instructor and students, establish a campus/community herb garden.

    Students can learn to make herb infused oils and vinegars for classroom.


    Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.

    The infographic below is related to this lesson. Allow students to view the image on a projector and lead a discussion concerning the information provided.

    • Spice Use Chart
      If you tend to use a lot of spices to flavor your foods, this chart is a must for you. It outlines different spices and which foods they complement best. You can use it to flavor all of your meats and other dishes and make sure that you are putting in the best spice for whatever foods you are preparing.
  • Family/Community Connection

    Conduct an interview of a family/community member regarding promoting one’s cultural heritage through cooking.

    • What was your favorite dish growing up?
    • Who taught you how to make it?
    • How does it reflect your culture?
  • Invite a guest restaurateur who runs a restaurant that uses ethnic flavor profiling in their menu and have them discuss which flavors they use and why. Perhaps they would be willing to give a cooking demonstration using flavor profiles they are familiar with.

  • CTSO connection

    Family, Career, Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)


    Student can use the information and skills gained from this lesson as they prepare for competitions in the various student leadership organizations. In FCCLA students can use the information as they prepare for competition in: Food Innovations, Culinary Arts, Mystery Basket, Nutrition and Wellness, and Life Event Planning. The information may also be helpful as students study for the Leadership Educational Opportunity test.

    Each of the leadership organizations below offer culinary/cooking competitions. Information learned on herbs and spices prepare the students to créate flavor profiles in a competition situation.
    SkillsUSA http://www.skillsusa.org/
    HEAT http://www.heat-wave.org/
    TRA http://www.restaurantville.com/ – ProStart Student Invitational culinary competition

  • Service Learning Projects

    The student will be able to brainstorm service projects such as:
    Plant an herb garden and develop a plan to use the herbs in a fundraising effort to benefit a local organization.

    Example: No Kid Hungry, http://nokidhungry.org/

    Students could plan and organize a cooking class on herbs and spices and either invite the community to attend the classes or take it to a local community or senior center.

  • All Attachments