Friday, January 30, 2009

New Cornell job index expands
hospitality labor pool

In recessionary times, when job opportunities seem slender in the hospitality industry, an approach that uses human capital can expand opportunities for employees. By the same token, when labor markets are tight, hotel managers would love to recruit workers in other jobs from different industries—if only they knew in which other professions and fields to look.

Now, thanks to a new Job Compatibility Index developed by two researchers at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, managers have a recruiting tool that solves that problem. The index, which is based on research supported by the employment engine, matches jobs with skill sets, even among diverse titles and across seemingly unrelated industries.

As explained in a new hotel human-resource management report from Cornell's Center for Hospitality Research, the index vastly expands the potential labor market. The hospitality human-resource study, “The Job Compatibility Index: A New Approach to Defining the Hospitality Labor Market” by Bill Carroll and Michael Sturman, is available at no charge from the center.

“Our index expands on existing databases to define the labor market for employees and employers by focusing on the actual knowledge and skills for a particular hospitality job,” Carroll said in a recent press release.

“Then we looked outside the hospitality industry to find jobs that required similar knowledge and skills. What we found is that the potential labor market can be expanded by at least ten-fold in some cases. However, in the current environment, we also note that the index can be used by job seekers, who can look for comparable jobs in other industries. We believe our index will be helpful for managers who are unable to find satisfactory candidates for open jobs and for would-be employees who cannot find work in their current industry,” Carroll added.

Meet and interact with Dr. Carroll, an active member of the executive education faculty at the School of Hotel Administration, when he presents sessions in the Professional Development Program.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Share Our Stength's new campaign
'Operation No Kid Hungry'

Share Our Strength has launched a new campaign to raise funds to help end childhood hunger. "Operation No Kid Hungry" responds to President Barak Obama's call to action to end childhood hunger by 2015.

Share Our Strength has partnered with AT&T to offer two great ways that you can support and participate in "Operation No Kid Hungry":
  1. Donate by text: Simply text "SHARE" to 20222 on your mobile phone and donate $5 to our fight to end childhood hunger in America. AT&T will match all text donations up to $100,000. Find out more here.
  2. Hold a food drive: Help feed those in need by holding your own community food drive at your school. Visit to find a food bank and a list of the most needed nutritious foods.

For more information about "Operation No Kid Hungry" and how you can help end childhood hunger, visit Share Our Strength's Web site.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Enter the Best Teen Chef Competition 2009

The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California—San Diego is summoning the best teen chefs across the United States and Canada to display their culinary chops in The Art Institutes Best Teen Chef Competition 2009.

Now in its 10th year, the Best Teen Chef Competition awards more than $250,000 in tuition scholarships for The Art Institutes schools to high school seniors in the United States and Canada interested in pursuing a career in the fast-growing culinary industry. The top prize winner will receive a full-tuition scholarship toward a bachelor's degree, associate's degree, certificate program or diploma program to study culinary arts at one of the more than 30 participating Art Institutes locations, including The Art Institute of California—San Diego.

Local cook-off competitions will take place at participating locations of The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes on March 14, 2009. First place local winners will progress to the National Best Teen Chef Final Round Competition, which will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2009, at The Art Institute of Charlotte.

In addition to a full-tuition scholarship and the title of Best Teen Chef 2009, 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 6, 2009 to The Art Institute of California—San Diego or fill out an online entry form at here. Deadline for complete entries into the competition is February 20, 2009. For more information on The Best Teen Chef Competition, contact Jody Auslund at or (858) 598-1303.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Vollrath Culinary Award winners honored

The Vollrath Co., a manufacturer of quality smallwares and equipment for the foodservice industry, was proud to present four faculty members and four students at Johnson & Wales University with Vollrath Culinary Awards. Launched in 2003, the Vollrath program honors one student and one chef-instructor at each Johnson & Wales campus with the prestigious Vollrath Student Culinary Award and Vollrath Chef Service Award, respectively. The Vollrath Awards were developed in conjunction with the university as part of the company's continuing efforts to support culinary arts students and instructors and the future of the foodservice industry. Each of the eight winners also received a selection of Vollrath's Intrigue Professional Cookware.

Encouraging Johnson & Wales University's culinary and pastry arts students in their pursuit of academic excellence, the Vollrath Student Culinary Award recognizes high-achieving students who are employed in the foodservice industry and engaged in the life of the university and their communities. The 2008 winners are:
  • Nathan Pane, Providence Campus, a senior from Auburn, N.H., who is majoring in culinary arts and food service entrepreneurship;
  • Robert Liska, Denver Campus, a junior from Kittredge, Colo., who is majoring in Food Service Management;
  • Doug Wisnioski, North Miami Campus, a junior from Miami, Fla., who is majoring in culinary arts; and
  • John Christ, Charlotte Campus, a sophomore from Anderson S.C., who is majoring in culinary arts.
The Vollrath Chef Service Award was presented to chef instructors who consistently demonstrate outstanding dedication to both the students and the university. This year's Vollrath Chef Service Award faculty winners are:

Monday, January 26, 2009

January 2009 CET digital edition online

Look Inside >>
January 2009
The digital edition of the January 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 an online exclusive article on turkey fabrication.

To access the January digital edition, click the icon above. For the CET digital archives, click here.

City Tech honors celebrity chef Waldy Malouf and educator James Ryan

New York City College of Technology’s Department of Hospitality Management recently held a winter wonderland-themed event in celebration of the January 2009 graduating seniors from the hospitality-management department

Among those honored were hospitality industry “celebs” Waldy Malouf (pictured above, right), chef/co-owner of Beacon Restaurant & Bar and Waldy’s Wood Fired Pizza & Penne, and James Ryan (pictured above, left), a graduate of the City Tech program (’90) and a culinary arts coordinator with the New York City Board of Education. The two were named recipients of the 2008 Outstanding Industry Professional and Distinguished Alumnus Awards, respectively, for their dedicated professionalism and many contributions to the hospitality field and the College.

Waldy Malouf: Outstanding Industry Professional Award
Upon graduating from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in 1975, Waldy Malouf went on to win first prize in the Carras Culinary Competition at the “21 Club” in New York City before beginning his career. Over the ensuing years, he has worked at The Rainbow Room, The Hudson River Club, The Four Seasons, La Côte Basque, The St. Regis Hotel and La Cremaillere in Bedford, N.Y.

A published author, Malouf also has been a participating chef in Share Our Strength, Taste of the Nation’s annual fund-raising campaign, for several years. He serves on the board of directors of the CIA and is chair of its Alumni Council. He also serves on the board of the American Institute of Wine and Food (NY Chapter) and volunteers his services for various hunger-relief causes and culinary-education concerns. Shortly after 9/11, he co-founded the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund. To date, the fund has raised more than $22 million for families of food service workers killed in the attack on the World Trade Center.

James Ryan ’90: 2008 Distinguished Alumnus Award
James Ryan has been the culinary arts coordinator at Port Richmond High School on Staten Island for eight years. The program now enrolls more than 300 students and prepares them for advanced culinary educations as well as for entry-level positions in the food industry. The program has produced many success stories, including the awarding of more than $200,000 in scholarships and student trips to the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in London.

Before becoming a teacher, Ryan had worked in the restaurant industry since high school. He began as a dishwasher and prep cook at the Island Chateau while still in school. He graduated from New York City College of Technology in 1990 with a degree in hotel and restaurant management. He gained experience through an internship at the famous Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. While attending City Tech, he also participated in the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show’s Cake Decorating Competition and won a Blue Ribbon for the College. Following graduation, he worked in many restaurants and food service establishments, including Carol’s Café and Aesop’s Tables.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Monroe College School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts names new dean

Chef Frank Constantino (pictured above) was recently named as the new dean of the Monroe College School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Constantino is a highly decorated chef. He won the 2002 Coupe des Nacions at the Festival de Gastronomie in Quebec City, Canada, as a member of the Big Apple Culinary Team, and has earned gold medals in American Culinary Federation competitions and other recipe contests.

In addition to his noteworthy professional credentials, Constantino also has been an award-wining culinary educator for more than 18 years. As a culinary coach, he led the Art Institute's junior hot food team to the 2006 New York State Junior Hot Food Championship.

Constantino said in a recent press release that he's looking forward to building on the strengths of Monroe's great faculty, students and facilities, and above all else, helping to carry on the college's 75-year tradition of higher education geared for career development.

Constantino, his wife and three sons own a small farm in Orange County, N.Y., where they raise heirloom and specialty fruits and vegetables grown organically and bio-dynamically.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sullivan University’s NCHS adds two new faculty members

Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies (NCHS), Louisville, Ky., recently announced the addition of two celebrated hospitality professionals to its faculty: E. Jon Bjornson has joined the staff as chair of hotel and restaurant management, replacing the late Kerry Sommerville, and Michael Cunha has joined the staff as a faculty instructor on skills and purchasing.

Bjornson comes to Sullivan University from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, N.J., where he was an adjunct professor in the field of hospitality, teaching courses on the concepts of Rooms Division Management and Property Management. Prior to his work at Fairleigh Dickinson, Bjornson was vice president of sales and marketing for The Ultimate Sweet Tooth in Bushkill, Pa. Bjornson also has a remarkable background in hotel management and has held the positions of franchise services manager for Howard Johnson and Travelodge and lead technology specialist for all nine Cendant hotel brands in the United States and Canada.

Cunha, who was operating partner and executive chef of the four-star Limestone Restaurant for six years, served as a member of Sullivan University’s Advisory Panel for 10 years. Cunha is transitioning to this academic position with Sullivan so that he can spend more time with his family than a restaurant career allows. Prior to opening Limestone in 2003, Cunha was executive chef de cuisine at the AAA five-diamond Oakroom at the Seelbach Hotel (Louisville, Ky.) and executive chef at the Austin Hilton Hotel in Texas. He is a member of the American Culinary Federation, the Chaine de Rotisseurs and the James Beard Foundation. Cunha received his culinary training from Johnson & Wales University, where he earned degrees in culinary arts, hospitality management and pastry arts.

“Both Bjornson and Cunha have the passion for the hospitality industry that is so important in a Sullivan University faculty member,” said Tom Hickey, Director of the NCHS. “They bring a considerable amount of expertise in their respective fields, and I think they will inspire a lot of enthusiasm in our students.”

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

'Saturdays at the CIA' offer continuing education based on best-selling cookbooks

A new series of classes for food enthusiasts, highlighting recipes from best-selling cookbooks, leads the Spring 2009 curriculum at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). The new "Saturdays at the CIA" lineup of classes will give budding chefs the chance to prepare signature dishes from the CIA's popular line of cookbooks.

Among the 12 new classes to be offered this season are: Rise of Asia; Spain and the World Table; Soups; Grilling; Baking at Home—The Desserts; Cake Decorating; Gourmet Meals in Minutes; and Breakfast & Brunches. "Saturdays at the CIA" classes will be held on the following Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: March 7 and 21; April 4 and 18; May 9 and 16; June 6 and 20.

"In our new Spain and the World Table course, participants will have the opportunity to work with ingredients they may have only seen until now on the Food Network," explains Laura Pickover, director of food enthusiasts programs at the CIA. "In making the signature tapas, the small bites so popular in the Latino world, students will work for the first time with fiery peppers, exotic spices, and savory foods that are used to create Spain's greatest culinary inventions. It's like traveling abroad with our chefs to sample specialties—right here in Hyde Park."

A Saturday schedule begins at 9:30 a.m. with orientation, followed by a lecture. Students head to the kitchen for food production and collaborate together on lunch. All attendees will receive a CIA cookbook and an official apron. Tuition for classes is $225 per person.

To register for one of the new "Saturdays at the CIA" classes, food enthusiasts can visit the CIA Web site at or call the college's Continuing Education Department at (800) 888-7850. Recipes from celebrated CIA cookbooks are the focus of the new "Saturdays at the CIA" food enthusiast classes, to be held Spring 2009 at The Culinary Institute of America's Hyde Park campus. (Photo credit: CIA/Keith Ferris)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

D.C. Central Kitchen celebrates 20th anniversary

D.C. Central Kitchen (DCCK)—which began it first phase of operation on Jan. 20, 1989, by redistributing excess food from balls held for the presidential inauguration of George H. W. Bush—today celebrates its 20th anniversary.

During these past 20 years, DCCK has been combating hunger and creating opportunity by:
  • recovering un-served food from restaurants, hotels and foodservice businesses;
  • training unemployed men and women for careers in the foodservice industry through its Culinary Job Training program;
  • providing free, nutritious meals to shelters and other social service agencies;
  • coordinating outreach services to help men and women living on the street find a way inside;
  • opening "Campus Kitchens" at universities and high schools across America; and
  • offering change through empowerment.
By partnering with local farmers, small businesses and concerned citizens, DCCK now aims to increase its sustainability efforts by generating 50% of its own revenue, while shining a light on new forms of business as philanthropy. At the same time, DCCK will step forward to advocate for an engaged and flexible non-profit sector during this era of rapidly changing demographics and societal issues.

As reported yesterday on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, this year, DCCK's culinary arts students will be cooking for some of the events surrounding the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Click here to listen to the full segment.

Florida Tomato Committee celebrates 20 years
of culinary competition

The 20th annual Florida Tomatoes “Best of the Best” Recipe Contest is underway. Culinary students from the United States and Canada will create dishes featuring red, round, field-grown tomatoes from Florida for a chance to win $2,000.

Supervising instructors will select a recipe to represent their school; only one recipe is permitted per school. Finalists’ recipes will then be judged by a panel of prominent New York-area chefs and food writers on the basis of taste, visual appeal, originality and effective use of fresh Florida tomatoes. Winning recipes will be announced in trade publications and online.

Last year, desserts took center stage, with Fresh Tomato Jam-Filled French Crepes with Tomato Ice Cream and Basil Syrup (recipe below) winning top honors for Jose Luis Hernandez, a student at Johnson County Community College in Lenexa, Kan. First among Canadian school entrants was Lynn Fretz of Canadore College with her Tomato Mousse & Basil Jelly with Tomato “Cigars.”

The contest is open to all students enrolled in a professional culinary program in the United States or Canada. The deadline for schools to submit their selected recipe is Wednesday, April 22, 2009. Instructors interested in learning about how their students can participate should contact Jason Stemm at (212) 420-8808 or

Fresh Tomato Jam-filled French Crepes with
Tomato Ice Cream and Basil Syrup

Jose Luis Hernandez, Johnson County Community College,
Lenexa, Kan.
Yield: 6 servings

Water, as needed
1 1/4 c. sugar
7 lbs. fully ripened fresh Florida tomatoes
1 c. port wine
1 t. fresh grated ginger
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. fresh basil, loosely packed
12 Crepes (recipe follows)
Tomato Ice Cream (recipe follows)

Method (1) In small saucepan combine 1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 c. water; bring to a boil; set aside to cool to sugar syrup. (2) Bring large pot of water to boil; preheat oven to 200°F. (3) Arrange rack on tray; coat rack with non-stick cooking spray. Score skin on each tomato in 4 equidistant places. Drop several tomatoes at a time into boiling water until skins loosen, about 10 seconds; set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel off skins; dip 20 pieces of skin into sugar syrup; place on prepared tray. Reserve remaining syrup. Dry tomato skins in oven until crisp but not browned, 30-40 minutes; set aside. (4) Quarter, seed and coarsely chop 2 quarts of remaining tomatoes, reserving seeds and juice; place chopped tomatoes in a heavy saucepan. Add 3/4 c. sugar, port, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and jam-like, about 45 minutes. Remove Tomato Jam from heat; set aside until cool; crumble into 1/2" pieces. (5) Meanwhile, coarsely chop remaining uncooked tomatoes; place in blender with reserved uncooked tomato seeds and liquid. Blend until smooth; strain puree; set aside. (6) In a heavy saucepan, combine reserved sugar syrup and basil; bring to a boil. Transfer to a blender container; whirl until smooth. Strain Basil Syrup mixture and set aside. (7) For assembly: Spread 12 Crepes with warm Tomato Jam; roll up. Place 2 Crepes on the center of each plate. Top with scoop of Tomato Ice Cream and a drizzle of Basil Syrup. Garnish with crisp tomato skins.

3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. milk
2 eggs
2 T. oil, plus more as needed
2 T. sugar
1/8 t. salt

Method (1) In bowl, combine flour, milk, eggs, oil, sugar and salt until smooth. Heat 6" crepe pan; very lightly wipe with oil. (2) Pour about 1 1/2 T. of batter at a time into pan, swirling to cover the bottom; cook until bubbly and bottom is golden. Turn and cook just long enough to lightly brown; remove and set aside. Repeat to make 12 crepes, wiping pan with oil when needed.

Tomato Ice Cream
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. milk
1/8 t. salt
6 large egg yolks
2 c. reserved tomato puree
1 T. crème fraîche

Method (1) In medium-sized, heavy saucepan, whisk together cream, sugar, milk and salt. Heat, stirring frequently, just until mixture comes to a simmer. (2) Meanwhile, in small bowl whisk egg yolks. Very gradually whisk hot mixture into yolks; return mixture to saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, just until it simmers. Remove from heat; whisk in reserved tomato puree and the crème fraîche. Reserve remaining puree, if any, for another use. (3) Refrigerate, covered, until cool. Transfer to ice cream maker; process until frozen. Serve or transfer to freezer container and freeze until ready to serve.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Register for the FENI Summit

The 2009 Foodservice Educators Network International (FENI) Educators Summit is just around the corner, and there is still time to register! The FENI Summit will be held in Las Vegas Feb. 14 to 17 at the Tuscany Suites & Casino. This year, the offerings include more than 40 Master Classes, educational roundtables and speakers, as well as special events and awards ceremonies for poster board winners and the Educators of the Year. FENI's host school, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts—Las Vegas, offers a spacious facility with modern labs and state-of-the-art equipment. Please visit to discover more about our host school. Click here to download the 2009 FENI Summit Agenda and Registration Form, or visit

If your focus is hospitality education, you won't want to miss the inaugural Hospitality Educators Leadership & Development Conference. Continued training and leadership technique improvements are requisite for maintaining top performance in the hospitality field. Held in conjunction with the FENI Summit, this conference will help you to gain fresh ideas for achieving a balance of excellence and respect as a leader within your group. The Hospitality Educators Leadership & Development Conference is in cooperation with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and other leading hospitality-training programs and service providers industrywide. Click here for the registration form.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sullivan University grad competes on Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown

Credit: Skirt Magazine
When the Food Network searched the nation for great burger recipes to include in their televised competition—"Ultimate Recipe Showdown"—they couldn’t pass up Sullivan University graduate Brigitte Nguyen’s Vietnamese-flavored specialty. Nguyen competed on the Guy Fieri-hosted show in the fall of 2008, and the results of the competition were aired on Sunday, Jan. 11.

"Being at Food Network, the home of all my favorite shows and television chefs, was unbelievable,” says Nguyen. The studios are gorgeous, the kitchens are pristine, and I was surrounded by a hard-working, fun-loving, gourmet group of foodies! My instructors at Sullivan University always pushed me to work quickly, cleanly and efficiently and these proved to be valuable skills, given the time constraints and the fact that I was cooking on-camera!”

Nguyen, a California native with Vietnamese heritage, took matters into her own hands when she could not find her favorite Vietnamese sandwich in Kentucky. Always ready for a new challenge, Nguyen headed straight into the kitchen and created the ultimate sandwich, combining her love for Asian cuisine with her all-American environment. In 2007, her Vietnamese Five-Spice Pork Burger won the first-runner-up prize at the Sutter Home 17th Annual Build a Better Burger Competition (recipe here). Her Vietnamese Bistro burger got her noticed by Food Network less than a year later.

Nguyen left her first career as a financial statement auditor to follow her passion for the culinary arts. In 2006, she relocated to Lexington, Ky., from Los Angeles and enrolled in Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies. In 2008, she traveled with a group of fellow Sullivan students and chef instructors to Beijing to work with Framboise Catering feeding the U.S. Delegation and athletes at the Olympics before graduating Summa Cum Laude. Nguyen currently does independent catering and bakes pastries for Wine + Market in Lexington.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

CET now accepting papers for free publication

If you have an academic white paper, an instructional how-to or even a personal essay regarding culinary eduction, Chef Educator Today (CET) wants to hear from you. All submitted articles will be reviewed by CET editors and published online in one of the magazine's upcoming digital editions—and because chef-instructors are the lifeblood of CET, we will publish your contributions free of charge.

We like to think that Chef Educator Today magazine and the Online Tool Kit blog are already valuable resources for chef-instructors, but by adding your voice to our digital magazine, you can help us create a one-of-a-kind online forum for idea exchange for you and your peers in the culinary-education field.

Send all article submissions and questions regarding submission to CET managing editor Lacey Griebeler at

'Insight from the Inside' podcast features CIA alumnus John Besh

John Besh, chef and owner of four New Orleans-area restaurants, talks about his career in the most recent "Insight from the Inside" podcast from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). "Insight from the Inside" is a series of chats with CIA graduates who have exciting jobs in the food world.

During the 20-minute chat, Besh talks about the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina and his efforts in the city's physical and emotional recovery, his experience on the Food Network's Next Iron Chef competition, and taking time off from his CIA studies to serve in the U.S. Marines during the first Gulf War.

The 1992 graduate credits his time at the CIA for providing the groundwork for his success. "There are great people everywhere, but some of the best instructors in the world are right here," said Besh. "Our horizons were broadened by the staff here ... Things I learned in those early days stayed with me throughout my career. That was the foundation that really made it possible for me to thrive."

To hear the entire interview with Besh or podcasts with other notable CIA alums, or to receive future podcasts, visit

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sullivan University honors TRU’s Rick Tramonto

Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies (NCHS) in Louisville, Ky., recently announced that Chicago-based TRU chef Rick Tramonto will be honored with the prestigious Great American Chef Award tomorrow, Thursday, January 15. The day’s events will include two cookbook signings, open to the public at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Sullivan University campus, as well as a private awards ceremony and educational cooking demonstrations featuring French cuisine for NCHS students.

The Great American Chef Series, which began at NCHS in 1988, is an innovative education program designed to connect students with today’s top American chefs. Tramonto is the 35th recipient of Great American Chef Award. Other chefs to receive this honor include Bob Kinkead, Emeril Lagasse, Louis Osteen, Deborah Madison and Marcel Desaulniers.

“In his 30 years in this industry, chef Tramonto has help set the bar on excellence in his field, and I am delighted that our students will have an opportunity to learn from him,” said chef Tom Hickey, director of the NCHS.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Delcastle Technical High School and MADD
Bake the Night Away

By Evan Noetzel

For its annual “Cookies for Cops” Holiday baking campaign, which provides cookies to every police officer in the state of Delaware as a show of support for law enforcement’s participation in sobriety check points, the Delaware chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) looked to Delcastle Technical High School in Wilmington, Del., for some hands-on help in the kitchen.

"MADD had not received quite the support that they had hoped, so they asked if we could be a part of this program," Delcastle culinary instructor Jim Berman wrote in an e-mail. "Given our resources, our students’ knowledge and willingness to provide service to the community, I offered our aid."

Culinary arts students in Delcastle's Cooks and Bakers club (pictured above) responded with an overnight baking effort—dubbed "Baking the Night Away"—that produced 6,000 cookies (that's 500 dozen) for the MADD-sponsored cookie drive. From roughly 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 19, 2008, to 10 a.m. the following morning, 41 students under Berman's supervision cooked 300 cookies at a time in the school's seven commercial ovens. The cookie ingredients? USFoods donated cookie batter as well as 240 pounds of flour, 150 pounds of margarine, 15 gallons of sugar, 600 eggs and 20 gallons of chocolate chips.

To aid Berman and his students, local businesses donated meals for the student bakers and cookie-transporting boxes, which were decorated by students at the nearby Wilbur Elementary School.

Delcastle Technical High School culinary student Javana Dickerson packages cookies for MADD's "Cookies for Cops" campaign.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Alton Brown entertains Miami in
Celebrity Chef Series event

On Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, as part of the Celebrity Chef Series presented by Johnson & Wales University and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, Alton Brown discussed his fascinating career with Michelle Bernstein, a Johnson & Wales North Miami campus alumna and owner of Michy's Restaurant in Miami.

Brown, host of the popular Food Network show "Good Eats" and main commentator on "Iron Chef America," took the stage in an island-inspired shirt and made himself comfortable in front of a packed house, awaiting questions from Bernstein about his passion for food entertainment. Responding with candor and quick wit, Brown captivated the audience and sparked a flurry of interesting questions.

Following the discussion, Brown presented a cooking demonstration of crêpes suzette with the assistance of culinary students from the Johnson & Wales University North Miami campus. In addition, the students served samples and refreshments at a V.I.P. reception held after the stage presentation.

Alton Brown (center) with future chefs from Johnson & Wales University's College of Culinary Arts backstage before his appearance on the JWU Celebrity Chef Series

Friday, January 9, 2009

Top culinary students vie for $20,000 in S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition

The S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition kicks off its 7th year this January, as nearly 80 student chefs from across the United States and Canada, representing approximately 40 of the best culinary schools, compete in 10 regional contests before food media, distinguished guests and renowned chefs. In this premier culinary event, celebrity chefs act as both mentors and judges, while students compete for up to $20,000, a paid apprenticeship and the chance to win the title of S.Pellegrino 2009 Almost Famous Chef.

The 10 regional winners will be flown to the finals event, which taking place March 6–9, 2009, at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, Calif. The finalists will compete in three categories: the Mystery Basket, Signature Dish and People's Choice. During the three-day competition, a panel of judges will critique competitors on every meticulous detail—from taste, texture and aroma of the dish to presentation, kitchen skills and the ability to perform under pressure.

The S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition is the first of its kind to allow student chefs to experience their first heated culinary competition, as well as the rare opportunity to work alongside some of the biggest names in the culinary world. Judges include some of the most prestigious chefs and esteemed members of the media. Past judges have included celebrity chefs Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia, Greg Cole of Celadon and Cole's Chop House, Food Network star Sara Moulton and Harold Dieterle, winner of Bravo's Top Chef Season 1 and chef/owner of Perilla.

The competition is a career opportunity of a lifetime—just ask Kristianne Pak, the 2008 Almost Famous Chef. "I came into the competition knowing that I was competing against the best up-and-coming young chefs," she says. "This competition opened up so many doors for me, and I am very thankful to S.Pellegrino for this experience!"

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Lactalis Foodservice donates $1,000 to
Denis F. Ellis Scholarship Fund

In support of aspiring culinary students, Lactalis Foodservice has made a $1,000 donation to The Denis F. Ellis Apprenticeship Scholarship Fund offered by the ACF South Bend Chefs and Cooks Association.

The scholarship’s namesake, award winning executive chef Denis Ellis, retired in 2004 from the University of Notre Dame Food Services after 17 years of preparing recipes and overseeing menus for some 20,000 meals served daily on campus. Ellis is a dedicated member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and is actively involved in the ACF South Bend Chefs and Cooks Association Apprenticeship Program—where over the years, he has proven to be an inspiration to many aspiring chefs.

Ellis' scholarship supports the non-profit ACF South Bend Chefs and Cooks Association’s mission, which is to make a positive difference for culinarians through education, apprenticeship and certification, while creating a fraternal bond of respect and integrity among culinarians everywhere.

Pictured (l to r): Jim Binner, channel marketing manager at Lactalis Foodservice, presents a check to Don Miller, executive chef at Notre Dame Food Services.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Kendall College students win Port-inspired
culinary competition

Tracey Torres, 21, and Jeremy Fisher, 27, both of Chicago, were the winners of the recent Cockburn's Culinary Competition, which challenged Kendall College culinary arts students 21 years of age or older to create innovative recipes and pairings incorporating Cockburn's Special Reserve Port. Runners-up included the team of Taleia Monty and Kristin Moore, of Chicago, and the team of Amy Dannenberger and Aaron Haas, of Chicago and Schaumburg, Ill., respectively.

For their winning recipe—an original twist on traditional Portuguese cuisine, featuring crispy braised pork belly, migas and black beluga lentils, complemented by frisée salad tossed in a Cockburn's Special Reserve vinaigrette—Torres and Fisher were awarded a four-day, five-night educational tour of Cockburn's winery in the prominent Douro Valley in Northern Portugal.

Entries were judged based on several factors, including overall taste, presentation, inventiveness and the original use of Cockburn's Special Reserve. The distinguished panel of judges included some of Kendall College's most distinguished alumni, including: Shawn McClain (Owner and Chef, Spring, Green Zebra and Custom House), Christopher Koetke (Dean, Kendall College), Angela Roman (Wine Director, The Signature Room), Stephanie Izard (2008 Winner, Bravo TV's "Top Chef").

Winning Recipe:
Crispy Braised Pork Belly, Migas, Black Beluga Lentils and Frisée Salad in a Cockburn's Special Reserve Vinaigrette
Tracey Torres and Jeremy Fisher, Kendall College

3 lbs. pork belly
2 c. quince, cored and large-diced
2 c. Spanish onions, sliced
Olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
4 c. brown stock
Migas (recipe follows)
Black Beluga Lentil Puree (recipe follows)
Frisée Salad with Cockburn's Special Reserve Vinaigrette

Method (1) Preheat oven to 375°F; score pork belly fat, 1/4 inch lines across. (2) Place quince and onions in bottom of roasting pan, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. (3) Once fat turns golden, turn oven down to 350°F; pour brown stock in bottom of roasting pan. (4) Roast pork belly for another 2-3 hours or until tender. (5) Remove pork belly; set aside. (6) Take the reserved liquid, and reduce it in saucepan until it coats the back of a spoon.

1 loaf country-style sourdough, preferably day-old
1 c. uncooked linguisa sausage (Portuguese-style sausage, can substitute chorizo)
1/2 c. pancetta, small-diced
3/4 c. pomegranate seeds
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Method (1) Cut crusts off sourdough, and medium dice. Sprinkle water over day-old bread until just damp; set aside. (2) In sauté pan, sauté pancetta and the linguisa out of casing; sauté until rendered down. (3) Drain meat, saving fat; set aside. (4) In sauté pan, heat 2 T. olive oil and 1 T. of reserved fat; sauté bread until crisp. (5) Add linguisa and pancetta; toss in pomegranate seeds, season; serve immediately.

Black Beluga Lentil Puree
1 c. black beluga lentils (pre-soaked in water overnight)
1/2 c. onion, large-diced
1/2 c. carrot, large-diced
1/2 c. celery, large-diced

Method (1) In large pot, sauté vegetables until slightly caramelized. (2) Add lentils and cover with water. (3) Cook for 30 minutes or until soft. (4) Drain lentils and puree in a blender, season with salt and pepper. If needed, use reserved liquid to smooth out the lentils.

For assembly: (1) Place lentil puree on right center of plate. (2) Spoon portion of pork belly sauce onto left center of plate. Cut 5 oz. portion of pork belly; lay on sauce. (3) Arrange a portion of the salad in the center. (4) Lay migas on top of pork belly; let fall off the side to the right onto the lentils. (5) Finish with pork belly sauce to taste. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Calling all wine lovers ...

Looking to refine your palate when it comes to fine wines? Check out Steven Kolpan On Wine, a wine blog by Steven Kolpan, professor of wine studies at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, N.Y. A respected author, Kolpan recently co-authored a new book, WineWise—which includes a great essay on teaching wine to culinary students.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Save the date: BCA's 16th Annual
Cultural Salute in NYC

The BCA's 16th Annual Cultural Awareness Salute—which will be held Saturday March 14, 2009, at the Marriott Marquis in New York City—will bring together a large network of influential professionals, restaurant owners, students and educators. This special event, entitled "Culinary, Hospitality and Diversity Excellence," serves a key milestone for the BCA as it continues to explore culinary and cultural excellence; offer a networking platform for young people seeking to achieve their highest career potential; and encourage the industry to create opportunities for People of Color (Asian Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and Blacks) .

Following an opening cocktail reception, there will be a four-course planned menu inspired by Latin, Creole, Asian and Native American cuisine. The four-course meal and wine pairings will be prepared by students from Johnson & Wales University, South Bronx Job Corps Academy, Monroe College, Hudson County Community College, Foodservice Training Academy, Hospitality Management High School's Culinary Arts Program, Career Academy of NY and LI, Culinary Training Institute, Newark Vocational High School, the Academy of Vocational Careers, the University of North Texas and the Culinary Institute of America.

"This is the one time of year when students come together in the same kitchen and cook in a non-competitive environment," said Alex Askew, president of BCA. "Guests will be amazed by their culinary execution."