Thursday, December 31, 2009

PCI hires president and CEO

The Professional Culinary Institute (PCI), Campbell, Calif., appointed chef Gary Prell as its new president and CEO. Prell joins PRI from hospitality company Centerplate, where he was vice president. He also previously worked for The Art Institutes.

"I am so excited to join the team at PCI and to be a part of their future," Prell said in a statement. "The staff and faculty's passion to impart knowledge and make a difference in the lives of their students is unparalleled. They are truly successful."

PCI provides career training in the hospitality field focusing on culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, wine sommelier training and hospitality management. For more information, visit

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bronwen Weber to teach cake sculptures at FPS

Bronwen Weber, award-winning baker and pastry chef of Frosted Art Bakery in Dallas, will teach a three-day cake sculpting class at The French Pastry School of Chicago in January. Weber will demonstrate her signature cake carving and fondant modeling techniques in this hands-on professional continuing education course. Students will learn such techniques as stable internal structure systems, cake construction and carving methods, covering irregularly shaped cakes in fondant, fondant modeling, chocolate modeling, sculpting and painting and airbrush techniques. Each student will create two finished showpiece projects during the class, which they will be able to take home at the end.
A cake created during the 2009 cake sculpting class*

This course, which takes place from Jan. 11 to 13, 2010, is accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) for 24 Continuing Education Hours. For more information, visit

*Photo courtesy of The French Pastry School

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

HCCC to host inaugural "Sound Bites" event

Hudson County Community College, Jersey City, N.J., will host the first of a series of "Sound Bites" events on Jan. 15, 2010, a meet-and-greet gathering and buffet with blues singer and guitarist John Hammond. Hammond will be appearing at the event to speak with guests prior to his concert with the Duke Robillard Band at The Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre that evening. The event will include a Louisiana blues-style buffet and complimentary glass of wine or beer.

"The Hudson County Community College Culinary Arts Institute/Conference Center was built to serve the many needs of the community," said HCCC president Glen Gabert in a statement. "We see 'Sound Bites' as opportunities for the community to become better acquainted with the College and the Journal Square area, meet some highly acclaimed performers, savor some of our delicious cuisine and enjoy the company of neighbors."

"Sound Bites," which has been organized in cooperation with the Journal Square Special Improvement District, will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the college's Culinary Arts Institute/Conference Center. More information can be found at

Monday, December 28, 2009

Culinary technology program offered at Schoolcraft College

As technological advances make further headway in commercial kitchens, Schoolcraft College, Livonia, Mich., has responded by offering a culinary technology certificate program to train chefs in accelerated cooking methods and equipment. The Innovative Culinary Technology Certificate program is a three-course curriculum that will focus on equipment and topics like combination ovens, rapid-cook ovens, impingement, induction, holding blast chilling and freezing, sous vide, green energy use, kitchen design for various business channels, quality control and food cost savings.

Registration for the winter semester is under way, and class sizes are limited. Interested candidates can attend an open house Jan. 11 in the Culinary Arts Demonstration Lab at the main campus, where they will tour the facilities and meet the instructors. For more information, visit

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy holidays from FENI

Happy Holidays from the FENI Crew

Foodservice Educators Network International
12th Annual Educators Summit
February 12 to 15, 2010, in Chicago
Register at:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Massachusetts ProStart students assist at the Guy Fieri Roadshow

Five ProStart students from Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill, Mass., and their teacher, Cathie Baines, assisted in kicking off The Guy Fieri Roadshow, which began its 21-city tour in 30 days at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Nov. 17. The show featured cooking stations, demonstrations and behind the scenes stories from the road.

Fieri is the star of three Food Network shows and is co-owner of Johnny Garlic's (three locations) and Tex Wasabi's (two locations) of Northern California, as well as a best-selling author. He is also a member of the California Restaurant Association's Educational Foundation that promotes the ProStart curriculum developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School also uses and promotes ProStart in their culinary curriculum through the Massachusetts Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (MRAEF).

"ProStart students are the best in Massachusetts, and I knew they were my go to help for the event," Fieri said in a press release. "I couldn't wait to give them an incredible backstage experience while I blow the audience's mind!"

"The MRAEF was thrilled to coordinate this event with Guy," MRAEF Educational Coordinator Heather Carneiro said in a press release. "This is just another way in which the MRAEF helps its ProStart students prepare for their futures."

Five Whittier Regional Tech ProStart students at the kickoff of a 21-day tour of Guy Fieri Roadshow with a stage assistant and TV personality Guy Fieri

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Students can enter to win AI's Best Teen Chef scholarship, Food Network "Intern for a Day"

High school seniors with aspirations of a culinary education can enter the Best Teen Chef Competition 2010, sponsored by the International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes (AI).

The top prize winner will earn a full-tuition scholarship toward a bachelor's degree, associate's degree, certificate or diploma program to study culinary arts at one of the more than 30 participating Art Institutes schools.

Now in its 11th year, the Best Teen Chef Competition awards more than $200,000 in tuition scholarships to AI schools to high school seniors in the U.S. and Canada interested in pursuing a career in the fast growing culinary industry.

The first-place local winners from AI schools across the country will progress to the National Best Teen Chef Final Round Competition, which will be held on May 15, 2010, at AI-Houston.

In addition to a full-tuition scholarship and the title of Best Teen Chef 2010, the national first place winner, in partnership with Food Network, will be an "Intern for a Day" at Food Network Kitchens in New York City. The winner will also receive a tour of Food Network's studios, dinner for two at a Food Network chef's restaurant and a library of Food Network Kitchens cookbooks.

To be eligible to enter the competition, high school seniors must first submit a completed Entry and Release Form by February 5, 2010, to a participating The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes location where they wish to enter the competition. Deadline for complete entries into the competition is February 26, 2010.

To learn how to enter the Best Teen Chef Competition 2010 and view full details, visit

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sullivan U brings kitchen learning facility to visually impaired kids

The Bakery at Sullivan University has teamed up with Visually Impaired Preschool Services Inc. (VIPS) to bring a kitchen learning facility to the VIPS center in Louisville, Ky. The ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Dec. 14, and children were invited into the facility to work with Sullivan University's The Bakery chef Robert Henry on decorating gingerbread houses. Henry will visit VIPS at least once per month to work with children in the new kitchen.
(l to r) The Bakery at Sullivan University's chef Robert Henry with VIPS executive director Diane Nelson in the new kitchen facility

The bakery gives children the opportunity to learn motor skills like measuring, mixing and pouring and adaptive living skills like washing dishes. These activities help them understand the process of food preparation. VIPS offers services to infants, toddlers and preschoolers who are visually impaired or blind and their families. For more information, visit

Friday, December 18, 2009

MSU hospitality students work and learn at IH/M&RS

Nearly 60 students from Michigan State University's School of Hospitality Business traveled to New York City Nov. 6 to 10 to work at the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show (IH/M&RS). The students were selected based on their leadership and volunteer activities within MSU, as well as their academic records.

The students were responsible for the school's exhibit booth at the show all three days. In addition, they attended MSU's annual Celebration of Leadership at The Waldorf=Astoria on Nov. 7, which honored the school's Alumni Association Industry Leader of the Year and the five new inductees in its Wall of Fame. At the event, 50 of the students had the opportunity to network with young MSU Hospitality School alumni at a gathering designed for them.

The students also toured The Waldorf=Astoria, Red Lobster at Times Square, Darden Restaurant's The Capital Grille and the Harvard Club of New York City as part of a professional experiences program set up by the school's Student and Industry Resource Center. For more information, visit

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Latest Culinary Nutrition News tackles cooking for diabetics

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Chef & Child Foundation and Clemson University, Clemson, S.C., have released the December issue of "Culinary Nutrition News: Diabetic Menu Makeover." In this month's article, the authors explain the types of diabetes and the important role that diet and meal planning play in diabetics' health. In addition, the authors point out good food choices--such as beans, citrus fruits and whole grains--and examine where these foods fall on the glycemic index. The article also addresses the growing number of children with diabetes and offers tips on cooking for kids. Free copies of the article are available at

The January issue will be released Jan. 4. The monthly series of Culinary Nutrition News articles are posted on ACF's Web site at the first Monday of each month.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Community college students working too many hours

Community College students could graduate faster and with better grades if they spent less time working at their jobs and more time studying and taking classes, according to a new report from California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) called "Working too Hard to Make the Grade." Community college students recently surveyed by CALPIRG reported working an average of 23 hours per week to cover college costs, leaving them with too little time to focus on academics. Less than one-quarter of students surveyed said they felt that they were able to balance work and study well. Many survey respondents said their work hours made it difficult for them to keep up with their schoolwork, take another class or get involved on campus.

Furthermore, many community college students surveyed misunderstood the basics of financial aid, and the less they understood the less likely they were to have applied for aid. These factors could contribute to low graduation rates. Only 24 percent of community college students who intend to earn an associates degree or transfer to a four-year institution succeed in doing so within six years.

"We need to increase our investment in higher education and fund state financial aid programs adequately, so that students can afford to focus on academics," said Reid Milburn, president of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, in a statement.

CALPIRG is a statewide, nonprofit public interest organization, with chapters at 11 campuses in California. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CIA releases French cheese e-learning module

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) released an online learning module on French cheese called "Cooking with Fromage: Turning Comfort Food into Comfort Cuisine." The e-learning module offers a primer on French cheese and explores its compatibility with a range of American recipes. It also includes 11 downloadable recipes demonstrated by a CIA chef-instructor in streaming video (including petite chèvre pizzas, pictured below).
Petite chèvre pizzas*

In conjunction with the e-learning module, The Cheeses of France is holding a Napa Valley Escape sweepstakes, which includes a private cooking class for two with a chef-instructor at the CIA's Greystone campus, as well as round-trip airfare, a stay at Auberge du Soleil resort and spa, a champagne dinner and other activities.

To download the e-learning module and enter in the Napa Valley Escape sweepstakes, visit

*Photo credit: CIA/Terence McCarthy

Monday, December 14, 2009

WFF partners with Kellogg School of Management for executive education programming

The Women's Foodservice Forum (WFF) is partnering with the Center for Executive Women at the prestigious Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., to offer its members enhanced educational programming. The collaboration will debut April 6 to 9, 2010, at the Annual Leadership Development Conference in Las Vegas.

"The Kellogg School of Management is renowned for making strong leaders stronger and the WFF is thrilled to be partnering with them to develop executive-level educational programming that will elevate women leaders in the foodservice industry," Mary O'Broin, WFF chair, said in a press release. "The Kellogg School's involvement in our annual conference makes it even more of a must-attend event for foodservice industry professionals wanting to advance their careers."

"The Center for Executive Women at the Kellogg School is dedicated to helping senior-level women advance to top executive positions," Victoria Husted Medvec, executive director of the center and Adeline Barry Davee Professor of Management and Organizations, said in a press release. "Partnering with the WFF is a great channel by which to impact the foodservice industry, developing the next generation of female business leaders by exposing them to top Kellogg faculty, cutting edge research and the latest business concepts."

In developing programming for the WFF's Annual Leadership Development Conference, Kellogg will inspire and help leaders in the foodservice industry elevate their careers. Kellogg and WFF will continue their partnership into the future to develop educational opportunities for varying professional tracks--from emerging leaders to executives.

For more information, visit Full event registration and schedule will be available on February 1, 2010.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Share Our Strength inducts chef-educator into Operation Frontline hall of fame

At its 25th anniversary Leadership Awards Ceremony, Share Our Strength presented its 2009 Leadership Awards to chefs, restaurants, restaurateurs, community volunteers and corporate executives who have made a significant impact on the fight to end childhood hunger in the United States. Among them were Share Our Strength's Operation Frontline 2009 Hall of Fame inductees, volunteer instructors who have taught 15 or more cooking-based nutrition courses with Operation Frontline programs around the country.

This year's Hall of Fame inductees included a chef-educator who also runs her own catering business and chairs a United Nations committee: Eva Forson, owner of African Palava in New York City.

Upon moving to the United States from Ghana some 20 years ago, Forson earned certificates in professional catering and baking from the culinary arts division of the New School University in New York City. For the past 20 years, she has used those credentials and her own childhood experience cooking with her mother in Ghana to teach classes at the Institute of Culinary Education and the culinary arts division of The New School. Forson added to her course load in 2001 when she started teaching Operation Frontline courses at City Harvest in New York City. Forson also serves as chairperson of the food committee of the United Nations African Mothers' Association.

For more information about Share Our Strength, its work to end childhood hunger by 2015 or any of its programs, visit

(l to r) Operation Frontline Hall of Fame winners: Jean Bowen, owner, Cuisine by Jean, Boulder, Colo.; Eva Forson, chef-instructor, the Institute of Culinary Education and the Culinary Arts Division of The New School, New York City, and owner, African Palava; Marilyn Matusch, retired educator, Portland, Ore.; Morris Salerno, chef-owner, Salerno's Restaurant, Flower Mound, and The Grotto, Highland Village, Texas; Kori Reed, ConAgra Foods Foundation, the national sponsor of Share Our Strength's Operation Frontline

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sullivan University's Spendlove to lead national commission on culinary certification

Derek Spendlove (pictured, left), CEPC, CCE, AAC, baking and pastry arts chair for the National Center for Hospitality Studies (NCHS) at Sullivan University, Louisville, Ky., has been named chair of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certification Commission and will assume the position's responsibilities Jan. 15, 2010. Spendlove will replace current Chair Karl J. Guggenmos, AAC, university dean of culinary education at Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I., who will remain on the commission as past chair.

Spendlove, in his role as ACF Certification Commission chair, is responsible for upholding the standards of the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States. Certification through the ACF is based on education, experience and completion of official coursework and exams. ACF certification credentials distinguish culinary professionals as leaders in the culinary field, and demonstrate skill and expertise to peers and potential employers.

Since its inception in 2007, the ACF Certification Commission has been developing, implementing and monitoring a validated process of globally recognized certifications based on skills, knowledge, integrity and equality through an achievable process for all culinary professionals. The Commission was formed in order to meet the National Commission for Certifying Agencies accreditation standards to obtain certification from the Institute for Credentialing Excellence.

The Certification Commission is comprised of 20 professionals with experience in culinary, media, marketing, management, education and government. Commission members represent many different levels of ACF certificants, including certified culinarian (CC), certified sous chef (CSC), certified chef de cuisine (CCC), certified executive chef (CEC), certified executive pastry chef (CEPC), certified culinary educator (CCE), certified culinary administrator (CCA) and certified master chef (CMC). For more information, visit

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

American Personal & Private Chef Association summit to be held in Chicago

The 2010 American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA) National Summit will take place Feb. 19 to 21 at The School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College in Chicago. This year's theme will be to promote the building of successful businesses and careers of personal and private chefs as the nation emerges from a recession.

Ina Pinkney, chef/owner of Ina's in Chicago, will keynote the 2010 summit to share the story of opening her restaurant. Other presenters include Maria Caranfa, R.D., director of Mintel Menu Insights; Judith Dunbar Hines, director of culinary arts and events for the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs; Renee Zonka, R.D., associate dean of Kendall College; service expert and former private chef Audrey Heckwolf of Grand Rapids Community College; and Peggy Ryan, executive chef of The Dining Room at Kendall College.

For information on registration, hotel, programming and personal-chef-training, visit

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New TV series stars Kendall College's Koetke

Christopher Koetke, dean of The School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College, is the host of a new television series called "Let's Dish" on Live Well, a network devoted to home, health and lifestyles that launched this past spring.

"Let's Dish" was developed in response to today's hectic lifestyle for many families. On the show, Koetke demonstrates fast and easy main course meals, desserts and low-fat snacks that are good for the mind, body and soul. Food industry experts such as chefs and nutritionists also will appear in each episode of "Let's Dish."

"Between work obligations, children's extracurricular activities, and the stress of everyday life, convenience often wins out over health in the family diet," said Koetke in a statement. "My family faces the same dilemma, and that's why I was drawn to this project. By sharing some of these solutions for delicious, fast and healthy meals, I hope viewers can reduce mealtime stress, improve their quality of life and work toward a healthier and happier lifestyle for their families."

For more information or to find episodes, visit

Monday, December 7, 2009

ProStart students spotlighted on Food Network

The Food Network ran a special Dec. 5 on the National Restaurant Association's 2009 ProStart Invitational, an action-packed culinary and management competition for the top high school students enrolled in the ProStart program. Thirty-nine teams of high schoolers competed for $1.1 million in cash, prizes and scholarships. Food Network personality Guy Fieri followed the students as they raced to complete a three-course meal in one hour and then announced the winners: the team from Herndon Career Center in Missouri (previously posted about here).

Friday, December 4, 2009

French Culinary Institute founder releases culinary career book

According to Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder of the world-renowned French Culinary Institute, your career shouldn't feel like punishment--it should reflect your passions in life. With the release of her new book Love What You Do: Building a Career in the Culinary Industry (2009, iUniverse Inc.), Hamilton provides a go-to guide for those in pursuit of a career in the culinary industry. More importantly though, her advice is universal, applicable for anyone who seeks a job they enjoy or a midlife career change.

"Making career changes and evaluating your career options is especially useful in today's economy," Hamilton said in a press release. "With all the complexities that the tough economic climate has created, perhaps one positive change is a second chance for many, an opportunity to leave a thankless, unsatisfying career behind and re-align oneself with the job of your dreams."

For those who desire a career in the culinary world, Love What You Do helps readers from the beginning stages of determining if it is right for them and seeking the right education and resources to ultimately landing their dream job. For the general career seekers and switchers, the book offers sound advice for those on the hunt.

With a foreword written by Tom Colicchio, chef-owner of Craft Restaurants, and endorsements from Master Chef Jacques Pepin and restaurateur Danny Meyer, Love What You Do gives an inside look on breaking into the culinary industry. In addition to profiles of real people who aspire to be in the culinary arts, as well as top chefs, the book will provide readers with:
  • a self-inventory that uncovers your goals, passions, strengths and weaknesses;
  • tips on handling the obstacles and doubts that coincide with job searching;
  • practical steps necessary to begin a successful culinary career, including culinary school; selection, on-the-job training options, paid/non-paid positions, and salaries/budgets;
  • decision-making advice for how to determine what positions/jobs are a good fit;
  • how to conduct an effective job hunt; and
  • what to expect within the first year and ways to excel.
Dorothy Cann Hamilton is the founder of the world-renowned 25-year old French Culinary Institute, as well as The Italian Culinary Academy. Both are housed by The International Culinary Center in New York City. Hamilton has educated more than 14,000 students in the culinary arts. Her awards include a 2006 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award of Excellence for Vocational Cooking School, the prestigious Ordre National du Mérite (National Order of Merit Award) from the French government. Recently, Hamilton was inducted into the Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America by the James Beard Foundation. Hamilton was the creator and host of "Chef's Story," a television series that debuted on PBS in April 2007, and authored the companion book. For more information, visit or

Thursday, December 3, 2009

FIU Hospitality hosts Common Threads

Florida International University's (FIU) School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is now one of the four national sites hosting Common Threads, an organization that teaches low-income children how to cook wholesome and affordable meals.

During the 2009-2010 school year, 32 students from North Miami's William Jennings Bryan Elementary School and North Miami Elementary School are participating in the program "Cooking Skills and World Cuisine," taught by restaurant owner/chef Michelle Bernstein and FIU chef-instructor Mimi Chacin. The hands-on cooking classes emphasize learning about new fruits and vegetables and the techniques to cook fresh, quality ingredients. Each lesson focuses on a different culture, and each class is designed to gradually build upon the student's skills. By the end of the 12-week session, the students will have learned how to prepare complete, healthy meals.
Children cook, eat and learn in the FIU kitchen

"We are so proud to host Common Threads at FIU School of Hospitality, said Dr. Diann Newman, who brought Common Threads to FIU. "As a university, we are dedicated to our mission of investing in our community. Change comes with vision, time, courage, experience and tenacity. We are gratified to work with chef Michelle Bernstein, students and administrators of William Jennings Bryan Elementary School and North Miami Elementary School and our School of Hospitality students to be part of the solution."

Common Threads was founded by chef, author and television personality Art Smith. For more information, visit

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Online Extras for November CET

Michael Ruhlman shares stories, lessons in new CIA podcast

In the latest "Insight from the Inside" podcast from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), honorary graduate Michael Ruhlman talks about the unexpected path his career took after he came to the CIA in the 1990s to research his book, The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat the The Culinary Institute of America. Ruhlman has since written a dozen more books about food, chefs and cooking, and worked temporarily in a restaurant kitchen. He received an honorary degree from the CIA in 2006.

"Insight from the Inside" is a series of chats with graduates who have exciting jobs in the food world. Previous podcasts have featured CIA graduates Grant Achatz, John Besh, Anne Burrell, Scott Conant, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Duff Goldman, Johnny Iuzzini, Sara Moulton, Charlie Palmer, Michael Symon. To hear the 17-minute interview with Michael Ruhlman or receive future podcasts, visit

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wolfgang Puck Worldwide donates cookware to ECU

Wolfgang Puck Worldwide (WPW) Inc. recently donated nearly 300 pieces of its professional-grade cookware to the Department of Hospitality Management at East Carolina University (ECU). The cookware will be used in the department's new state-of-the-art kitchen laboratory by students preparing for careers in lodging, food and beverage and convention and event planning.

James Chandler, associate professor of hospitality management, worked closely with WPW to facilitate the gift. "We are more than grateful to Wolfgang Puck Worldwide for the generous donation," Chandler said in a statement. "WPW has been an advocate of higher education for hospitality industry professional business managers, and this gift is further evidence of that commitment."

ECU's Department of Hospitality Management is in the college's School of Human Ecology. For more information, visit

Monday, November 30, 2009

RMU cooks for a cause

Robert Morris University (RMU) Institute of Culinary Arts students belonging to the school's service group Cooks for a Cause will bake 10,000 Christmas cookies on Dec. 4 and 5 to donate to The DuPage County People's Resource Center (PRC)'s Share the Spirit program. The PRC is gathering donations of new toys and gift certificates for more than 750 low-income families in DuPage County, which it will distribute in December. A pack of Christmas cookies from Cooks for a Cause will be included with all the gifts.

Culinary students from the Chicago, Orland Park and DuPage campuses will be baking from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the RMU main campus in downtown Chicago. For more information, visit

Friday, November 27, 2009

HCCC to honor Jersey City superintendent

At the 12th annual Holiday Scholarship Extravaganza at Hudson County Community College (HCCC), HCCC Foundation will give its 2009 Distinguished Service Award to Jersey City Public Schools superintendent Charles T. Epps Jr. The award was created to recognize the efforts of individuals and organizations to improve life for the people of Hudson County.

Epps served as a member and the chairperson of HCCC's board of trustees for 18 years, making him one of the longest serving trustees in the school's history. In addition to founding the Opportunity Knocks Twice program that enables qualifying graduates from Jersey City Public Schools to attend college for free, Epps has served as a trustee on trustee on boards including Hudson County Schools of Technology, the National Conference for Community & Justice and Jersey City Medical Center.

The event will take place Dec. 3 at 6:00 p.m. in HCCC's Culinary Arts Institute/Conference Center.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

California culinary students invited to compete in garlic challenge

In honor of the upcoming Super Bowl XLIV, Christopher Ranch LLC is challenging culinary students at The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles and The Art Institute of California - Orange County to enter its Garlic Gridiron Challenge with an original Super Bowl party recipe incorporating garlic.

Students can submit recipes between Dec. 1 and Jan. 18. They must use at least five cloves of Christopher Ranch heirloom garlic in the recipe, and Christopher Ranch will provide $200 for ingredients. The first, second and third place winners will be announced during halftime of the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 via Christopher Ranch's social media outlets. The first place winner will receive $500, the second place winner will receive $200, and the third place winner will get $100.

For more information, send an e-mail to Angie Hanson at

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chicago congressman addresses CHIC graduates

U.S. congressman Danny Davis delivered the commencement address at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago's (CHIC) 2009 fall graduation ceremony. Davis, whose district includes downtown Chicago, addressed the 350 graduates among a total audience of 2,000 on Nov. 15 at the Chicago Marriott Grand Ballroom.
Congressman Danny Davis speaking to CHIC graduates*
In his speech, Davis spoke about the culinary skills each graduate was exposed to during their time at CHIC and their "portability" in today's economy. He quoted an unattributed poem called "Skills."

*Photo courtesy of CHIC chef-instructor Marilyn Santos-McNabb.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ProStart students to intern with Guy Fieri

The Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) has selected ProStart students from Simeon Career Academy and Tilden Career Community Academy High School to intern with Food Network star Guy Fieri at the Dec. 3 Rosemont, Ill. stop of "The Guy Fieri Roadshow," a tour celebrating food and rock 'n' roll.

The students will work with Fieri's team to help prep food before the show and be on hand behind the scenes to help during the show. The IRA selected the participating students based on their talent and commitment to the restaurant industry.

"We are thrilled to have two Chicago Public Schools take part in The Guy Fieri Roadshow and represent our state’s ProStart program on such a prominent stage," said Sheila O’Grady, president of the IRA, in a statement. "This is a great opportunity for the CPS students, and we are grateful to Guy Fieri and the Food Network for their support in developing the future stars of Illinois' restaurant industry."

For more information, visit

Monday, November 23, 2009

NRAEF seeks scholarship money donors

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) is seeking general contributions from foodservice industry members to its Scholarship Program. The NRAEF Scholarship Program funds scholarships for high school and college students.

For more information or to donate, visit

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Secchia Institute presents leadership award to APPCA's Wallace

First-year GRCC culinary-arts students flank APPCA's Candy Wallace (holding her Leadership Award) and chef-instructor Audrey Heckwolf, who will teach the new personal/private-chef elective that launches at The Secchia Institute in Grand Rapids in January 2010.

Candy Wallace, founder and executive director of the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA), was honored by The Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC), Grand Rapids, Mich., with the culinary-arts program's 2009 Leadership Award on Nov. 9.

The award, which acknowledges Wallace's pioneering contributions to identifying, building and promoting the emerging career paths of personal and private chef, was founded by GRCC's Hospitality Education Department in 1990 as the Distinguished Fellow Award. Past recipients include television cooking personalities and authors Martin Yan and Graham Kerr as well as foodservice-industry luminaries and celebrity chefs from abroad.

Wallace visited The Secchia Institute to deliver an overview on career opportunities for aspiring personal and private chefs to approximately 100 culinary-arts students. The presentation coincided with the institute's unveiling of a new elective focusing on personal and private cooking and business operations for interested students pursuing an associate degree in culinary arts and culinary management.

"It was important to us to recognize Chef Wallace for her life's work in developing comprehensive training materials for those who want to pursue the career paths of personal and private chef," says Randy Sahajdack, director of The Secchia Institute. "We are witnessing tremendous interest among both students who are considering a profession in food as well as established professionals in other fields who desire a life change. I'm amazed at how much meaningful, helpful information has been created by Chef Wallace that we will not have to create, ourselves, to meet growing demand. She is truly the leader in this emerging industry."

The new, seven-week personal/private-chef elective to be offered in the final quarter of the degree program launches with the January 2010 term. The course will be taught by chef-instructor Audrey Heckwolf, who was a private chef for a prominent Grand Rapids family for more than six years before joining GRCC in 2006 as assistant professor for advanced tableservice through the school's public fine-dining restaurant, The Heritage. In her current role, Heckwolf oversees evening service for the award-winning restaurant and teaches service to students enrolled in GRCC's culinary- and hospitality-degree programs offered through The Secchia Institute.

Much of the elective's instruction will come from The Professional Personal Chef: the Business of Doing Business as a Personal Chef (John Wiley & Sons, 2008), the first definitive textbook for prospective personal chefs, written by Wallace and chef-instructor Gregory C. Forte, CEC, CCE, of Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Fla. Secchia Institute graduates who have successfully completed the elective will receive a certificate from APPCA and be eligible for full membership in the organization, affording them access to a wealth of business-building resources that include proprietary Personal Chef Office business-management software and online community forums linking successful personal and private chefs nationwide. Additionally, for graduates who launch personal-chef businesses, APPCA will promote them through its online Find a Personal Chef function.

Wallace founded the American Personal Chef Association in 1996 as the first significant national effort to recognize the impact of personal chefs on Americans' evolving lifestyles and to provide career and management training to those who aspire to become personal chefs with their own businesses. She forged the positioning of personal chefs as culinary professionals, culminating in 2002 with a formal partnership with the American Culinary Federation to award certification to qualified personal chefs. The following year, she was honored with the International Association of Culinary Professionals' Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2006, Wallace earned additional industry accolades by formally acknowledging the contributions of private chefs to American society and addressing their specific professional needs by restructuring her organization to become the American Personal & Private Chef Association.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Collins College Harvest Celebration 2009 to honor hospitality leaders

The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona, Calif., will host Harvest Celebration 2009 on Nov. 21 to honor three top leaders in the hospitality industry while raising money for Collins College students.

Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, will receive the Hospitality Leader of the Year Award; Steve Slater, vice president and general manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of Southern California, will be honored with the Robert Mondavi Wine & Food Award; and Margaret Bailey, senior vice president of government services for Capital Hotel Management, will receive the college's Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award. Guests at the event will be able to to bid on items that directly impact students such as scholarships and classroom equipment. The event also will feature a live auction with exclusive hospitality packages.

Harvest Celebration 2009 will take place at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa. For more information, visit the Collins College Web site.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 2009 CET digital edition online

The digital edition of the November 2009 issue of Chef Educator Today (CET) is now online through the CET Web site. This digital edition features all the same great content as the print edition, plus it includes online-exclusive articles on fruit-based desserts, spices and herbs and teaching restaurant operations, plus updated FENI Summit information.

To access the November digital edition, click the icon below.

Chef Rainone to 'share the passion' at Monroe College

(l to r) Monroe College chef Ed Moon with chef Rob Rainone

The Sharing the Passion series at Monroe College School of Hospitality and the Culinary Arts continues on Nov. 19 with Rob Rainone, executive chef of Larchmont Yacht Club, Larchmont, N.Y., presenting and cooking for culinary arts students. He will prepare braised veal cheeks served over black truffle and Parmesan polenta. Rainone, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, previously was sous chef at Roundhill Golf Club in Greenwich, Conn.; Coveleigh Club, Rye, N.Y.; and was banquet chef at caterer and event manager Abigail Kirsch, Tarrytown, N.Y.

The event will take place at 12 p.m. in the Culinary Arts Center. Sharing the Passion is a series of culinary demonstrations this fall, where accomplished chefs share their passion for cooking with the students in Monroe College's Culinary Arts Center.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A tutorial on sautéing mushrooms

by William Franklin, corporate executive chef, Nestlé Professional, and the Mushroom Council

Editor's note: This article was mentioned on page 4 of the November 2009 issue of Chef Educator Today.

Mushrooms are immensely versatile, and every chef should know how to properly sauté them. From a culinary standpoint, one could sauté mushroom varieties every day of the year and create a different dish simply by adding different herb and spice combinations and adjusting the length of the sauté. Sautéed mushrooms can transform and enhance most any dish. They make excellent toppings, garnishes, garnitures or outright protein substitutes. One of my favorite preparations is the classic duxelles. Not only does it really intensify the natural flavors of mushrooms, the finished product has a multitude of great culinary applications. Sautéed mushrooms can be "the center of plate," play a critical support role or simply serve as the background flavor notes that keep customers coming back to the same expertly crafted dish without really knowing why.

Sauté literally means "to jump" in the pan, and keeping this in mind is fundamental to doing it well. Sautéing is typically a quick process using a small amount of fat or oil over relatively high heat. If using sliced mushrooms, one should only sauté small amounts and be careful not to overload the pan. Regardless of the pan size and volume of mushrooms needed, excess steaming or stewing should be your first indication that something isn't quite right. The pan size, amount of available heat, and volume of mushrooms must be balanced if a strong and proper sauté is to be realized. For something different, you may want to try distilling sautéed mushroom and use the resulting intense liqueur in sauces and foams.

Sautéing is my favorite mushroom cooking technique because I believe it best develops their unique, rustic, woodsy notes and highlights their wonderful fifth savory taste, called umami. Basically, umami comes from amino acids, particularly glutamic acid, which is ever present in mushrooms. The reduction of moisture during the sauté highlights these savory properties. Sautéing allows us to bring out that deep, savory, brothy, rich or meaty umami taste sensation. Umami, in some applications, can counterbalance the need for salt, especially where mushrooms are either featured or are simply a minor component.

In the past years, I've noticed a foodservice trend of using mushrooms as a meat alternative. I think this trend is going to stick around because it's easy to do and always proves very satisfying for customers. As Americans become more knowledgeable about food and the number of foodies increases, consumers are also becoming more aware of how mushrooms are used in world and regional cuisines. Capable culinary craftsmen use mushrooms to their advantage. I've noticed consumers are more appreciative of mushroom flavor profiles, and how different cooking techniques can change a mushroom's "mouthfeel." I believe people are also more aware of their nutritional benefits. Mushrooms are the only vegetable or fruit containing vitamin D, and they also have lots of antioxidants.

How to sauté fresh sliced mushrooms

Step 1:
Choose the correct pan for the amount of heat and size of mushroom using and select a fat or oil with a fairly high smoking point, such as clarified butter, canola oil, etc.

Step 2: Heat the pan and oil over medium-high heat, and tilt the pan away from yourself, allowing the excess oil to pool into the pan's distant edge, and then add the sliced mushrooms. This technique has saved my fingers numerous times from being burnt with splashing hot oil.

Step 3: Toss the sliced mushrooms to evenly distribute the oil, then leave it alone to sauté. Patience is key in sautéing mushrooms. You have to allow their moisture to reduce in order to properly caramelize them.

Step 4:
When the mushrooms have caramelized, they will turn brown around their edges. Toss the pan again when they have reached this point.

Step 5:
Add salt, if needed, with your seasonings. It's important to wait until the mushrooms are just finished so you can better judge how much salt or seasonings are needed.

Step 6:
Toss the seasoned mushrooms to evenly distribute flavors. Mushrooms are finished sautéing when they have a nice, browned, caramel color.

Cultivated mushroom varieties
  • Button mushroom: The most popular mushroom. They represent approximately 90 percent of mushrooms consumed in the United States. Flavor: They have a fairly mild taste and blend well with almost anything.

  • Cremini: Also called baby portabellas, these are close cousins to button mushrooms. They have a light tan to rich brown cap and brown gills. Flavor: They have a deeper, earthier flavor than whites with firm flesh.

  • Portabella: A matured cremini mushroom. They have tan or brown caps and measure up to 6 inches in diameter. Flavor: They have a bold, meaty texture and flavor.

  • Enoki: Tiny, button-shaped caps and long, spindly stems, usually eaten raw or as a garnish. Flavor: They have a delicate sweet flavor and slightly crunchy texture.

  • Oyster: Can be gray, brown, pale yellow or blue. Flavor: Oysters have a very delicate flavor and a velvety texture.

  • Maitake: Appear rippling and fan-shaped, without caps. They are also called "Hen of the Woods." Flavor: Maitake have a distinctive aroma, woodsy, roasted-chicken taste and a firm, crunchy texture.

  • Shiitake: Brown umbrella-shaped caps, ivory gills and curved, woody stems that should be removed. Must be cooked. Shiitake have the highest umami content. Flavor: They have an intense, rich and woodsy flavor with a meaty, chewy texture.
Chef William Franklin, CMC, former dean of faculty at the National Cooking Institute, is a member of American Academy of Chefs as well as The Honorable Order of the Golden Toque.

Reese Scholarship to honor former IDDBA exec

The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association has created the W.T. Reese Memorial Scholarship in honor of Willard T. (Bill) Reese, former executive director of the International Cheese & Deli Association, which was an earlier incarnation of the IDDBA. Two $5,000 scholarships will be awarded each year to students in a food-related major.

Reese helped grow IDDBA from a small Wisconsin-based cheese group to a multi-national association representing cheese, dairy, deli and bakery companies. For more information about the scholarship or the IDDBA, visit

Monday, November 16, 2009

HCCC, WomenRising to hold open houses for hospitality training initiative

Hudson County Community College (HCCC) and WomenRising Inc. will hold two open houses to inform prospective participants with the Community Partnerships in Hotel Employment (CPHE) program. CPHE is a free, 16-week job training and placement initiative that is operated by HCCC and WomenRising with funding help from the Jersey City Urban Enterprise Zone program.

The program provides participants with training and placement to entry-level positions in the hospitality industry. The program has classes in introduction to hospitality, basics of customer service, front office, housekeeping, basic computers, life skills training and culinary for hospitality. Participants who successfully complete the 16-week training period will earn 10 credit hours that may be applied towards an associate degree, three industry certifications from the American Hotel and Lodging Association and hands-on experience gained through internships at area hotels. CPHE is open to women and men 18 years of age and older who hold a high school diploma or GED, are willing to work flexible hours and meet the income guidelines for low- or moderate-income households.

The open houses are scheduled for Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 4 p.m., at WomenRising’s headquarters in Jersey City, N.J. Attendees should bring identification, proof of residence, birth certificate, social security card and proof of income. For more information, visit

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ming Tsai addresses CIA graduates

Chef Ming Tsai, award-winning chef, restaurateur and television host and owner of Blue Ginger restaurant in Wellesley, Mass., delivered the commencement address at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Hyde Park, N.Y., on Nov. 6. The James Beard Foundation Best Chef in the Northeast talked to the 62 associate degree recipients about the value of cooking, hospitality and community service over celebrity status.
Chef Ming Tsai addresses CIA graduates

"Emeril [Lagasse], Mario [Batali] and Bobby [Flay] tell me I can have 10 restaurants," he told CIA students. "At the end of the day it is not about how much stuff you can collect. It's about enjoying the ride. We make people happy through food."

Tsai has hosted two television shows, authored three cookbooks and developed a line of eco-friendly bamboo kitchen products. He also is active with groups such as The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, Chefs for Humanity, the Harvard School of Public Health's Nutrition Roundtable, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Cam Neely Foundation and The Denis Leary Firefighters Foundation.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hospitality professor named honorary MSU alumnus

Michael L. Kasavana, National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) endowed professor in The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University (MSU) received the MSU Alumni Association's Honorary Alumni Award at last month's Grand Award Ceremony. The award is granted to individuals who have provided volunteer service to MSU on a local, state, national or international level.

Kasavana, NAMA endowed professor at MSU since 1999, is a member of the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals International Technology Hall of Fame. He has written several books about the hospitality industry, including Managing Front Office Operations (eighth edition), Menu Engineering (third edition), and Managing Technology in the Hospitality Industry (fifth edition). He also serves as the MSU faculty athletic representative to the Big Ten Conference, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and also serves as chair of the MSU Athletic Council. The Kasavana family also contributed funding for the Kasavana/Schmidgall Faculty Research Endowment in The School of Hospitality Business.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Teaching students the farm-to-table-to-craft beer connection

by Lacey Griebeler, Chef Educator Today

Editor's note: This article was mentioned on page 6 of the November 2009 issue of Chef Educator Today.

Back in September, I had the chance to attend Denver's Great American Beer Festival (GABF), which included the Farm to Table Pavilion. This inaugural event was organized by the Culinary School of the Rockies (CSR) of Boulder, Colo. The students worked in association with independent craft brewers and local chefs, farmers and ranchers to create beer and food pairings for two groups of 250 select GABF attendees. The students impressed me with their professionalism and their dedication to creating amicable pairings using local ingredients and craft beer.

CSR chef-instructor Adam Duyle was there to oversee the event. Duyle took a few minutes to talk with me on the philosophy behind teaching students about craft beer and local food pairings.

CET: How did this program get started?
Duyle: The program got started basically to recognize the need for a farm to table program, to teach people how to work with a farmer. It's easy to pick up the phone and call a purveyor and have product delivered to you. But what's it like to actually go to a farmer and say, "Hey, what are you growing? What are you doing? What's in season?" There's a difference between ordering a tomato and knowing when to use a tomato. That's what we try and do in the program. You work with that. Colorado is all too often known for its ranchers--we do [produce] here year-round, and that's something we highlight as well. In Colorado, we go a little bigger; we kind of call "local" within the four walls of our state. Technically, the definition is within 100 miles--that's what people have been known to use it as. But we're a little more spread out here in the mountains, so we work with that. It's not beyond the farmer down in Paonia to make the four-hour drive up here [to Boulder]. So we learn to work with them, and we teach [the students] what the flavors are. And in all honestly, through the food you taste here tonight, we're the middle man. We take a delicate cooking process to it. We lightly season it. We don't add 17 seasonings. We don't do multiple cooking processes. We don't have seven different garnishes. Most of these plates will have three flavors; that's it. Highlight what came out of the ground. If you start there, it's hard to mess it up.

CET: What role do local beverages such as craft beer play into this philosophy that you're teaching the students?
Duyle: It's huge because you look at what people are referring to and what's become popular: the carbon footprint. So if you've got the 99 craft breweries that we've got in the state of Colorado here, why are you buying a beer made in Europe and having it shipped over here when you can go right our your back door, talk to your brewer and say, "Hey man, what do you have on tap? What are you making this week? What are you doing?" Perfect story for you: Two weeks ago down in Paonia-Hotchkiss, I was with one of my friends who's a brewer there, and we did a dinner down there. The day after, we went and met a farmer on his farm: Next year, we're growing hops. That's what happens.

CET: How are you teaching the students to taste beer and use that as a catalyst for creating their dishes?
Duyle: Focus on the classic three C's. Either cut it, contrast it or compare it on the palate, to learn what to do with it and where it goes. The big thing for them is I don't want them to learn how to cook a dish; I want them to learn how to present a menu and have it flow through. So what they need to learn is to have it work the whole way through. You don't want to start with a high alcohol [beer] and then go to a low alcohol. You don't want to start with something that's just going to annihilate your palate because you won't taste the rest of the menu. A lot of times in school, you get so focused on one plate, and that's not reality. Reality is you're creating a menu. You're creating an experience. If you can find someone who instead of coming into your restaurant to have dinner, they have an experience, they'll come back.

CET: Do you feel this concept for the Culinary School of the Rockies would work in other parts of the country?
Duyle: Definitely would. It would work anywhere because everywhere you go, you can grow your own food. You can brew your own beer or make your own wine. All it is is learning how to build a relationship instead of picking up a phone.

Culinary School of the Rockies students and chef participants at the 2009 Farm to Table Pavilion at the Great American Beer Festival (photo courtesy of the CSR blog)

GABF Farm to Table Menu (courtesy of CSR's blog):
  • Roasted cherry tomato and burrata bruschetta, paired with Steamworks Third Eye Pale Ale
  • Terrine of rabbit with pheasant and sour cherry, paired with Boulevard Two Jokers Double Wit
  • Chilled corn soup with pepper relish and chile oil, paired with Boulevard Long Strange Tripel
  • Cassoulet of rabbit, paired with Deschutes Hop Trip
  • Confit of pork with sage and Mmacerated peaches, paired with Deschutes The Dissident
  • Duo of bison: roasted rib-eye and braised shortrib with carmelized brussel sprouts, paired with Great Divide Fresh Hop and Yeti Stout
  • Confit of lamb with polenta and fig jam, paired with Clipper City Uber Pils and Oxford Organic Amber
  • Smoked and braised pork cheek with grits and guacamole, paired with Left Hand Sawtooth Ale and Porter
  • Corn cupcake with brown butter honey buttercream, paired with Steamworks Conductor
  • Spiced biscuit with peaches, paired with Steamworks Ale Diablo
  • Mascarpone cheesecake with peach reduction, paired with Steamworks Ale Diablo

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AH&L Educational Institute honors hospitality industry leaders

The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (EI) honored the 2009 recipients of the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) Emeritus and Master Hotel Supplier (MHS) Emeritus designations at its annual Celebration of Excellence Breakfast during the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show, which took place Nov. 7 to 10 in New York.

This year's CHA Emeritus honorees are:
This year's MHS Emeritus honorees are:
  • Kerry Hirschy, MHS, senior vice president, Kaba Lodging Systems
  • Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC, hotel and franchise consultant
The CHA Emeritus and MHS Emeritus are awarded in recognition of the recipients' careers in the hospitality industry. The career of an Emeritus is marked by commitment to the past, present and future of the hospitality environment.

AI culinary student wins Tabasco Hottest Chef Contest

At the 2009 Tabasco Hottest Chef Contest, which took place last month at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, two winners were selected for submitting entrée recipes for any daypart of the menu that incorporated Tabasco products and did not exceed a menu price of $15. Jared Cushman, a chef-in-training at International Culinary Schools at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took the competition's student category prize of $2,500 for his chipotle duck breast risotto entrée (pictured, below).
The student category winning entrée, chipotle duck breast risotto, featuring Tabasco brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce, took the $2,500 prize.*

The professional and student category winners were awarded cash prizes and will be featured along with their winning recipes on

*Photo courtesy of McIllhenny Co./Tabasco Brand Products