Cosumnes River College Culinary Arts Professor Michael Frigm talked about his cooking program called “Foundational Cooking Methods” and his transition to remote learning.
In Frigm’s cooking program on YouTube, he demonstrates step-by-step on how to make different kinds of foods along with cooking tools to use. The videos are used as resources for his students and are open access to anyone.
Frigm was inspired to become a culinary arts professor because of his interest in food and cooking. He wanted to spend more time thinking and working with food and having it be his main focus.
“I wanted to find a resource that gave students a visual of the theories that we were practicing in lab,” said Frigm. “As they’re studying, they can go back and actually see the methods that they’re going to be evaluated on and review them anytime.”
Frigm said the culinary arts program at CRC is focused on giving a good balance on culinary skills.
“Our program is really focused on equitable outcomes for students as well as looking at how we can lower the cost of participation in the program for students to make the program more accessible while maintaining the highest standard of rigor as well as continue to use quality resources,” said Frigm.
Interim Dean of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Nancy Reitz said she was delighted when Frigm had made a series of cooking videos.
“They’re wonderful, they’re informative,” said Reitz. “The program has been increasing in size as far as the number of students that are interested.”
Frigm said his transition to remote learning for his culinary class was tough.
“A lot of culinary programs switched to a model where students were given ingredients and a small amount of tools to cook at home and we decided very early on in the transition to not pursue that avenue because of the equity concerns surrounding it,” said Frigm. “Thankfully, the cooking videos we had already done so that was a huge addition to online.”
Gina Darcangelo, a retired 62-year-old court reporting and languages and literature major said Frigm’s class transition to remote learning was disappointing.
“When the campus closed, we had to transition to online, so I do miss cooking in the kitchen on the campus,” said Darcangelo. “What I like about Chef Frigm is that we just had a whole section on COVID-19 as it relates to restaurants in Sacramento County, so we’re learning current things that are happening because of this pandemic.”
Darcangelo said Frigm’s cooking videos were a companion tool for the class.
“When we moved to online learning last semester, the videos became very important because we were no longer able to be in the classroom with live demonstrations,” said Darcangelo. “Each video teaches a different technique, for example grilling or braising or poaching, but they also teach efficiency.”
Frigm said he enjoys being around his students in the kitchen and in the classroom with them up until the pandemic began.
“I’m a people person,” said Frigm. “When we’re in a class, students are so excited about food or the method that we’re talking about.”
Frigm said he grew up in Wilmington, Delaware and taught full time at Eastern Maine Community College and was also a teaching assistant when he was in graduate school at Texas Tech University.
Frigm has an associate’s degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University, a bachelor’s in food service management and a master’s degree in Master of Science in restaurant, hotel and institutional management from Texas Tech University.
Frigm taught for three years in Maine, but decided to move to California because he liked the warm weather and to teach students. Frigm liked CRC’s focus on equity and equitable outcomes for all students as well as the diversity on campus, with this school year being his fourth at CRC.
Outside from cooking, Frigm enjoys exploring Northern California on his motorcycle and loves traveling.
“In culinary, you’re always learning and education is the same way,” said Frigm. “Not only do I have a job where I’m passionate about the subject matter, but me being passionate about the subject matter allows me to make a difference in people’s lives.”