Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

The editors of Chef Educator Today and CET Online Tool Kit wish you the best this holiday season.

Online Tool Kit will return Monday, Jan. 5. We'll see you in 2009!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami partners with the James Beard Foundation
to offer scholarships

Kirk T. Bachmann, vice president of academics, Le Cordon Bleu Schools North America and interim president of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami (LCB Miami), announced earlier this month the establishment of five scholarships within the James Beard Foundation. The scholarships totaling $15,000 will be granted to qualifying students attending LCB Miami in each of the following segments: career changer, female, Hispanic heritage, high school Spanish language speaker from a major metropolitan area and a student from the New York metropolitan area.

"The esteemed legacy of the James Beard Foundation provides the perfect partnership for reaching potential students in financial need and with the motivation to pursue a career from the foremost French culinary arts program in the world" said Bachmann. "Many students face significant obstacles as they pursue their passion at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami, and this new scholarship program will help them achieve their dream."

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami presented the scholarships at a special dinner event at the famed James Beard House in New York City, in early November. The dinner, titled "Savoring the Americas," was created by the LCB Miami chef instructors Marcelo Marino, Miles Mitchell, Michel Pompei and Ray Rutenis. The special event reflected the high level of classic and tradition-based education received by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami students.

School scholarships are awarded as waivers that will be applied as a credit to the student's account. Applicants must meet the admission and eligibility requirements at the applicable participating schools to be eligible to receive an award. For a complete list of James Beard Foundation School Scholarships and complete details, click here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

California Almonds to be showcased at World Pastry Cup

As a proud partner of the 2009 World Pastry Cup (Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie), the Almond Board of California will pay tribute to the grand tradition of classic almond pastry arts still used today to create tomorrow's innovations at the World Pastry Cup. The 2009 World Pastry Cup, which will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the world-class competition, will be the first year almonds are featured in the competition. Two of the four competition categories require the use of California almonds: the frozen fruit dessert and the plated, chocolate dessert.

In preparation for this year's celebration, the Almond Board will help unveil a special 20th anniversary dessert. Thirty of the most acclaimed pâtisiers in the world, all previous winners of the competition, gathered to create this unprecedented recipe that represents the spirit of the contest and includes the latest trends in pâtisserie. The dessert, consisting of intricate layers of delicate chocolate mousse, almond praline, fruit with chopped almonds, a chocolate biscuit and spice, will debut in France and be replicated in pâtisseries and restaurants around the world.

The World Pastry Cup, now considered the flagship event in the pâtisserie profession, will take place in Lyon, France on January 25–26, 2009, during SIRHA, the International Hotel Catering and Food Trade Exhibition. For more information about the World Pastry Cup or the Almond Board of California's sponsorship, visit

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Johnson & Wales teams wins big
at Culinary Olympics

Three chefs and one student from Johnson & Wales University brought home one gold, one silver and two bronze medals from the 22nd International Culinary Arts Competition, referred to in the industry as the Culinary Olympics, which was held from Oct. 19–22 in Erfurt, Germany. The Culinary Olympics, established by the German Chefs Association in 1900, is the largest culinary exhibit in the world and is held every four years similar to the international sporting event. With more than 1,000 chefs, baking and pastry experts from more than 50 countries competing, it is also one of the leading international cooking contests.

Chef Brian Campbell, CEC, CCE, FMP, CCI, associate instructor, College of Culinary Arts, at Johnson & Wales Charlotte Campus, won a gold medal in the cold food competition. His eight-serving platter entry highlighted seafood from both American coasts and included poached lobster tail and cured salmon. He carried the same theme through to the six individual plates he presented, featuring unique twists on regional favorites: foie grad and confit terrine (Northeast); poached rabbit loin (Midwest); goat cheese and eggplant timbale (Southwest); cured pork tenderloin (Southeast); salmon gravlox sampler (Northwest), and Alaskan Halibut (Pacific).

Chef Robert W. Zielinski, CEPC, associate instructor, International Baking & Pastry Institute at the College Culinary Arts, Providence Campus earned a silver medal in the pastry category for his salt dough piece entitled "Autumn Garden Harvest." Daniel Schöfisch, culinary arts student, senior and culinary events teaching assistant, College of Culinary Arts, Providence Campus, received a silver medal for his cold food entry, which focused on sustainability and featured selections from the lake and sea including a mosaic of poached turbot and smoked Scottish salmon. Chef Frank Terranova, MCFE, associate instructor, College of Culinary Arts, Providence Campus, captured a bronze medal for his cold food presentation, which included a cold festive platter of, among other things, mahi mahi and Coho salmon sea bass.

The award-winning Johnson & Wales University's 2008 Culinary Olympics team was sponsored by the Vollrath Co., a manufacturer of quality smallwares and equipment for the foodservice industry.

(Pictured, l to r): Charles Reid, Brian Campbell, Frank Terranova, Rainer Hainerwadel, Daniel Schöfisch, Robert Zielinski, John Maieli and Marc Hienerwadel. (Photo courtesy of TBZ Koch)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Massachusetts high school students to compete
for culinary scholarships

Students from across the state of Massachusetts are gearing up to participate in the Massachusetts Restaurant Association Educational Foundation's (MRAEF) Second Annual ProStart Student Invitational, to be held on Jan. 16, 2009 at Le Cordon Bleu in Cambridge. This is the first time Le Cordon Bleu is hosting the event.

Participating ProStart teams will demonstrate their creative culinary abilities by preparing a complete meal consisting of a starter (soup, appetizer or salad); protein (meat, fish or fowl); vegetable and starch, followed by dessert. Students will be asked to compete in events to highlight their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry. A portion of the competition involves a case-study event, where students test their communication skills and their knowledge in practical situations.

Participating schools include: Brockton High School (first time participating); Carver High School; Nantucket High School; Peabody Veterans Memorial High School; Pittsfield High School; Smith Agricultural Vocational High School; and Tri- County Vocational High School.

Teams will be competing for first, second and third place, and each winning team member will receive scholarships from one of five colleges: Johnson and Wales, Culinary Institute of America, Newbury College, Connecticut Culinary Institute and New England Culinary Institute.

For more information on the 2009 Massachusetts ProStart Student Invitational, click here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Penn State Outreach video series explores urban gardening

In this age of highly publicized food contaminations, energy anxieties and global warming, concerns about where and how our groceries are produced and distributed are emerging worldwide. With those concerns in mind, Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education, recently produced "The Urban Side of Green," a series of online videos that discuss the benefits of greening up city landscapes. Part one of the series, featuring an interview with Penn State's Dr. Dorothy Blair, can be found on YouTube (click here for link).

Blair, an assistant professor of Nutrition, is a longtime advocate of eating locally—a lifestyle sometimes described as "localvore." She has been studying and teaching about global food production system for 30 years. While serving in the Peace Corps early in her career, she said she saw firsthand how the global food production system perpetuated poverty, funneling money away from the people producing food, and into the coffers of distant conglomerates. Later, through her academic research, she was able to pinpoint "fatal flaws" that would render that system ecologically unsustainable.

In contrast, "if you're producing food in a urban area, it's very diversified—many producers on tiny plots," Blair points out. "It's very energy-efficient, and you have people eating food that is good for them—extremely fresh—with the kind of nutrients they might find difficult to obtain because of their low budget. And you have people locally making money."

Blair sees three main benefits to city farms and gardens: personal health, economic health and environmental health. To learn more about Dr. Blair's research, visit her Web page.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Revamped Idaho Potato Web site offers
wealth of resources

After performing a complete overhaul of its Web site, the Idaho Potato Commission recently unveiled the new and improved The new site is both engaging and easier to navigate, with all of the most trafficked and requested pages up front. Now scanning for instruction resources, like recipes, news and cooking tips is more convenient than ever. Short videos can be viewed by clicking on the Spud Flix “Now Playing” button. The inventory of more than twenty videos also includes this promo for Idaho Potato Lollipops; CET's sister publication Chef Magazine featured the recipe for Idaho Potato Lollipops in its September 2008 issue.

Friday, December 12, 2008

NRA 'What's Hot' survey released

The National Restaurant Association's (NRA) "What's Hot in 2009" survey of American Culinary Federation chefs is the industry's leading culinary forecast. This year marks the third annual survey of ACF chefs. More than 1,600 professional chefs nationwide ranked nearly 210 culinary items as a "hot trend," "yesterday's news" or "perennial favorite."

The full survey can be viewed here, but the top 20 are listed below.

What’s Hot: Top 20 Trends
1. Locally grown produce
2. Bite-size/mini desserts
3. Organic produce
4. Nutritionally balanced children's dishes
5. New/fabricated cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, bone-in Tuscan veal chop)
6. Fruit/vegetable children's side items
7. Superfruits (e.g. acai, goji berry, mangosteen)
8. Small plates/tapas/mezze/dim sum
9. Micro-distilled/artisan liquor
10. Sustainable seafood
11. Nutrition/health (e.g. low-fat, reduced sodium, antioxidants, high-fiber)
12. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious
13. Non-traditional fish (e.g. branzino, Arctic char, barramundi)
14. Artisanal cheeses
15. Exotic fruit (e.g. durian, passion fruit, dragon fruit, guava)
16. Culinary cocktails (e.g. savory, customized to specific dishes)
17. Micro-vegetables/micro-greens
18. Organic wine
19. Dessert flights/combos/platters
20. Free-range poultry/pork

In your opinion, what food trends will be hot in 2009? Tell us about it in the comments section.

ACF-approved continuing education courses at Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy

Barry Callebaut, a leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, announced that 15 courses at its Chocolate Academy in Chicago have been approved for continuing education hours through the American Culinary Federation (ACF). From introductory courses on the origins of chocolate to specialized classes on molding, enrobing and sculpting techniques, the Chocolate Academy’s one-of-a-kind training is specifically designed to encourage participants to apply and broaden their technical skills under the guidance of trained master chocolatiers. The small classes are taught in a personal setting that encourages participants to share their unique experience and knowledge about the latest chocolate-making trends with other participants.Courses at Barry Callebaut's Chicago Chocolate Academy are also eligible for continuing education credit through the Research Chefs Association.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

National Honey Board hosts "Iron Chef" competition for NECI students

On Nov. 19, 2008, New England Culinary Institute (NECI) students braved both winter snow and tough ground rules to compete in two National Honey Board-sponsored recipe competitions: (1) Savory Culinary Arts and (2) Baking and Pastry. In the former competition, students culinarians produced three courses from a market basket of seasonal ingredients under "Iron Chef" rules; in the latter, students worked from an original recipe.

As a reward for their honey research and menu creativity, the top three winning teams/individuals in both categories received cash prizes, including a $1,000 reward for the grand prize, from the the Honey Board. Chef Tom Bivins, NECI dean of Culinary Affairs, and Jami Yanoski, representing the National Honey Board, announced the winning students in each division. Here are the two grand prize winners:

Savory Culinary Arts
$1,000 Grand Prize: (pictured, l to r) Benjamin Dorr and Blair Johnson
Menu: Black pepper and rosemary honey-seared scallop with celeriac purée, oyster mushroom duxelles, honey lemon and carrot emulsion; honey and sage-infused fried cornish game hen and acorn squash, black pepper waffle, braised kale and chard, honey white wine and chestnut gravy; apple blossom honey-soaked semolina cake, honey citrus syrup-soaked solden raisin currants and Gran Marnier whipped cream

Baking and Pastry
$1,000 Grand Prize: Chee-Ling Francoise Ip
Item: Honey Trio—Papaya-honey chrysanthemum tea, honey caramelized persimmon puff pastry, honey-Earl Grey ice cream with honey-toasted almond brittle

For more information about the National Honey Board's culinary education programs and student recipe competitions, visit the Honey Board's Web site or contact Bruce Wolk at

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A mushroom a day ...

by Evan Noetzel, Chef Educator Today

With as many possible culinary applications as varieties—portobellos (pictured), chanterelles, shiitakes and white buttons, to name a few—mushrooms have long been an ingredient of choice among chefs (and chef-instructors) around the world. And while much of the popularity of mushrooms can be attributed to their range of complex tastes and textures, the Mushroom Council is quick to point out that edible fungi also are prized for their nutritional benefits.

On its Web site's "Nutrition" page, the Mushroom Council recently published a series of downloadable PDFs and other resources detailing why mushrooms "deserve attention for their unique contributions to a healthful diet." One such PDF, entitled "Mushrooms: Light in Color, Dark in Nutrients," shows a side-by-side comparison of the percentage of certain nutrients in mushroom varieties versus those in other healthy foods, like carrots and broccoli. Another available PDF, "How Mushrooms' Nutrients Stack Up," gives a complete breakdown of the many nutrients packed into mushrooms.

For additional educational resources provided by the Mushroom Council, visit their Web site.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

CPR training and quick action saves CIA student

Two campus safety officers and a registered nurse at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) saved the life of an 18-year-old student on Dec. 1, 2008, by performing immediate cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and administering a shock from an on-campus automated external defibrillator.

At 7:34 a.m., as students were beginning their first classes after Thanksgiving break, a freshman from Missouri collapsed in a kitchen classroom. As the chef called the Safety Office to request assistance, a student ran to Health Services to summon a nurse. Within a minute, nurse Kelly O'Connor and safety officer Carl Wilson were on the scene. O'Connor initially found a pulse, but when it was lost, the two began performing CPR. Moments later, safety supervisor Lyle Burnett arrived with a defibrillator. After Burnett attached the shock pads, the machine advised that the student had a "shockable rhythm." Shortly after a shock was administered, the patient began breathing on his own, and his color returned.

This all took place before an advanced life support ambulance arrived on the scene with a paramedic. By 8:01, the student was on his way to St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, where he continued to recover. By Monday evening, his parents were at his side.

Monday, December 8, 2008

City Tech sweeps prizes at prestigious
culinary competition

A team of student culinary all-stars from New York City College of Technology (City Tech) blew away all competitors at the culinary salon of the annual International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show, held recently at the Javits Center in Manhattan.

When the dust—and the confectioner’s sugar—had settled, the City Tech team had taken the Marc Sarrazin Cup for the best overall entry at the show (team members pictured above with the Sarrazin Cup). Two faculty members (Louise Hoffman and Jean Claude) and one alumnus (Randolph Hernandez) had each won gold medals. Two other recent alumni were honored: Ebow Dadzie with the Gold Medal of the Association of Chefs de Cuisine et de Patisserie du Quebec and Anthony Smith with the International Chefs Association Gold Medal.

Culinary salons have been sponsored by the French Société Culinaire Philanthropique for 142 years and are a regular feature of the Jacob Javits Center show. Seeing City Tech atop the list of winners has become an increasingly regular aspect of the three-day event; its students have won the Sarrazin Cup—signifying best overall performance in the competition—in three of the last four years.

Victories of this sort do not come easily. Each fall, as the show approaches, one can find the student competitors, and the several faculty who mentor them, in City Tech’s culinary labs until late at night. Professor Louise Hoffman, who works most closely with the students creating pastry and confectionery entries, says of the process, “The Salon of Culinary Arts is a professional arena where our City Tech students can demonstrate their skills, probably the toughest ‘practical exam’ our students will ever take. They do magnificent work. I am amazed every year at the level of excellence that is created in my class. I am very proud of them.”

Photo: For her confectionery artistry in constructing “Timeless Kiss,” which recalls the famous photo of the nurse and the sailor kissing in Times Square in celebration of the end of World War II, 20-year-old Brooklynite Ashley Alioto won the competition's "Best in Show" title and received a $1,000 award. (Photo courtesy of NYCCT)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Real-world skills put to test during
Illinois ProStart competition

On Saturday, November 15, over 200 high school students from across Illinois gathered at Kendall College in Chicago to participate in the 8th annual Illinois ProStart Student Invitational, a series of culinary and management competitions in which students display their gastronomic abilities and knowledge. During the program, which also included a college fair and cooking demonstration, more than $200,000 in scholarships were awarded to students.

Hosted by the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF) and sponsored by Sysco Foodservice-Chicago, this year's top competition winners were West Aurora High School in the culinary competition and Lake County High School Technology Campus in the management competition. Lake County High School Technology Campus also placed second in the culinary competition. Both teams will now go on to compete in the National ProStart Student Invitational competition, which is scheduled to take place April 24–26, 2009, in San Diego, Calif.
Technology Center of DuPage was the third place winner in both the culinary competition and the management competition. The second place winner of the management competition was Wilco Area Career Center. Each first place team member was awarded over $16,000 in scholarships to culinary colleges including: Clemens College, Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago, Culinary Institute of America, Illinois Institute of Art, Johnson & Wales University, Kendall College and Washburne Culinary Institute.

During the culinary competition, students were judged on creativity of presentation, knife skills, cleanup and sanitation. The management competition challenged teams of students to answer questions taken from the ProStart curriculum during the knowledge bowl. The final phase of the event, the case study, required students to demonstrate their ability to analyze management situations involving business dilemmas, using solutions from both the front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house perspectives.

"These teams are all winners in our book because everyone knows that in this industry your work ethic is just as important as the end result," said Roxanne Charles, IRAEF executive director. "West Aurora High School and Lake County High School Technology Campus should be proud of their winning teams. What they've accomplished at the Invitational will prepare them for success in today's hospitality industry."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Whole Bakers presents Best Cookie Award
at Healthy Schools Campaign event

Whole Bakers, a certified gluten-free as well as kosher-certified specialty baked goods company, was chosen to announce the winner of the Best Cookie Award during the Healthy Schools Campaign's annual Cooking up Change event, held on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008. During the event, Chicago area public high school students studying culinary arts received the opportunity to showcase their original healthy student-designed menus in front of some of Chicago's elite chefs.

Whole Bakers Founder Patty Stewart was pleased to be a part of the program, which awards contest winners by preparing their unique meals at Chicagoland schools. "Cooking up Change is such a great way to get kids involved in culinary creativity," said Stewart. "I'm happy to be a part of teaching kids the importance and benefit of healthy cooking."

Stewart awarded the Best Cookie Award to Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois for their delicious Carrot Cake Cookie. Richards High School also won first place in the School Meal contest with their delicious trio of entrées which included Carrotquedilla, Chorizo Relleno and Refrescante.

Whole Bakers plans to be involved with Cooking up Change again next year as Stewart may be educating the culinary teachers and students about the gluten-free lifestyle. Stewart also plans to provide participants with gluten-free flours so that they may create entrées for those with wheat allergies.

Pictured: Patty Stewart (center) stands with Rochelle Davis (right), head of the Healthy Schools Campaign, while presenting the award for Best Cookie.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Building Scholarships for Service benefit dinner

Lexington College, an accredited, not-for-profit women’s college in Chicago offering bachelor’s and associate’s degrees in hospitality management, recently hosted “Building Scholarships for Service,” a Fall benefit dinner honoring the McCaskey family, the Chicago Bears Football Club and Bears Care. The event was held on Tuesday, November 11 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. Rita Cuddihy, senior vice president, Chief Operating Office, Central Region of Marriott International chaired the event, which raised over $250,000 in scholarship funds for a diverse group of students, including some first-generation women studying to earn a degree in hospitality management.

The event celebrated Mrs. Edward McCaskey, who represented the McCaksey family, the Chicago Bears Football Club and Bears Care. Lexington acknowledged the McCaksey family's exemplary leadership in the community and their continued support of the College and its students through scholarships over the past decade. Mrs. McCaskey was awarded the Lexington Award for Excellence.

Pictured (l to r): Natalie Martinez, general assignment reporter of NBC Channel 5 and the evening's master of ceremonies; Rita Cuddihy of Marriott International; Mrs. Edward McCaskey of the McCaskey family, the Chicago Bears Football Club and Bears Care; and Susan Mangels, Lexington president. (Photo by: George Poulos)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Culinary Immersion program at CIA lets guests get hands‐on with Electrolux equipment

Electrolux Professional and The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) hosted another Culinary Immersion program on October 29 and 30, 2008 for a group of top kitchen designers, consultants and foodservice operators at the CIA’s main campus in Hyde Park, N.Y. The two‐day program included presentations and demonstrations on Electrolux Professional foodservice equipment in conjunction with a hands‐on, world‐class culinary experience guided by Chef David Bruno, assistant professor of Culinary Arts at CIA Hyde Park.

Event attendees represented an interesting blend of companies and organizations including ROI Food Service Design, Saratoga Restaurant Supply, Boston College, Sysco Food Services of Albany, University of Albany and designers from Studio E Design Group. The program began with a company overview and then the group moved into the CIA Skills Kitchen, where Electrolux Executive Chef Sean Lucas conducted cooking demonstrations using a number of Electrolux products, including the air‐o‐steam combi oven, the Pressure Braising Pan, the Induction Wok and the Libero Point.

“I learned a lot about Electrolux Professional as a company that I was not aware of,” said Joseph Canzoneri, a consultant and President of Canzoneri Development Group Inc. “I was impressed by the amount they put back into research and development and how far they have gone to ensure their equipment is as eco‐friendly as possible.”

Later in the day, the attendees worked with the air‐o‐chill blast chiller, the Thermaline S90 modular cooking range and the SMART Refrigeration line each used on site throughout the CIA’s facilities. Electrolux representatives also discussed how the company’s many service programs, such as the Electrolux Platinum Star Service Warranty and Certified Chef Network, allow for the prevention of equipment problems.

Day one of the program concluded with a group dinner at the CIA’s Ristorante Caterina de' Medici located on campus in the beautiful Colavita Center for Italian Food and Wine. On the second day, the attendees returned to the CIA main kitchen, where they were divided into teams. Each team enjoyed a hands‐on experience with the Electrolux products, preparing his or her own Mediterranean cuisine with guidance from Chef Bruno. “It was an excellent program that provided invaluable experience by letting us actually use the equipment to see firsthand how it lives up to its claims,” said Canzoneri.