How to layout your new Food Technology Room
What is the Best Layout for your Food Technology Room?
Why does the design of your Food Technology Room matter?
Food Technology Rooms are a space where students develop as individuals as they gain practical experience in cooking and food prep, expand their nutritional education, develop teamworking and collaboration skills, and develop life skills for the future which could help prepare for their careers. It is therefore an area that deserves the ultimate attention to detail when it comes to planning and design – not forgetting that it’s an area exposed to varied range of hazards and risks that mustn’t be overlooked!
The layout you choose for your Food Tech Room is going to depend on what the room gets used for – usually it is a fair mix of practical and theory work. The generic space layout will have to be taken into consideration, it is important to assess what areas are necessities in your room, common ‘zones’ include Store room, preparation space, presentation, demonstration area, research space and a space for photography. All these elements can influence the overall layout of the room you decide upon, the 3 most common layouts are: Peninsular, Island, and Perimeter, each having its own advantages and disadvantages.
A Peninsular layout tends to be the most common, it creates a series of bays, normally with two hob/sink units arranged facing across the peninsula. This layout maximises the use of the floor and perimeter space most effectively, allowing for large groups of students to be taught at once. The peninsular arrangement also gives generous worktop space, making it easier to meet the cooker and sink ratios. The peninsular workstations break the room down into smaller kitchen spaces, making it easier for a teacher to manage a large group of students as they work in smaller, more focused groups. Peninsular workstations can also be used for theory lessons as high chairs can be pushed up to the tables for students to sit around. One disadvantage is that having cookers an appliances in the centre of the room could involve extra expense or risk compared with keeping services on the perimeter. In addition, sightlines from the student cooking area to the demo area or whiteboard can be poor if the demonstration area is at right angles to the peninsular.
The Perimeter layout is another common Food Tech room layout as it allows for maximum flexibility between practical and theory teaching. This layout works great for schools that want to maximise the free area for flexible teaching. Kitchen workstations are lined around the perimeter of the room, while the main floor space is used for teaching and studying the theoretical aspect of the subject. In addition, Perimeter layouts mean that there are no back-to-back circulation issues and can help pupil concentration. However, the perimeter layout can mean there is a lower ratio of cookers and sinks to students, as the kitchen workspace is fairly limited. Another disadvantage to the Perimeter layout is that students often have their back to the demonstration are or whiteboard.
The Island layout consists of freestanding worksurfaces around the room, services will generally need to be run through the floor to cookers and sinks in the islands, although gas and electric services could also run overhead. This layout is a lot less common, however there are advantages worth considering. One plus point is that the teacher can easily circulate between the cooking stations which encourages good interactive learning and a good atmosphere. There is also potential for a ‘wow’ factor as the room can look like a MasterChef layout. However, although Island Layouts can look great, most of the space is taken up with the fixed benching arrangement, so there is not much flexibility. In addition, if the space isn’t carefully planned, there can be a lot of traffic and congestion in the middle of the room which can increase chances of accidents, especially where there are cookers situated centrally.