Monday, August 31, 2009

Online extras for August CET

CET talks with high school culinary instructor on preparing inner-city students for the future

Editor's note: A portion of the following Q&A was featured in the "Recipe for success" article (page 22) that appeared in the Spotlight department of the August 2009 issue of Chef Educator Today.

After 36 years of teaching in the Chicago area, Gloria Hafer retired--but her retirement didn't last long. In 1997, she returned to the classroom, this time teaching cooking and nutrition at a local elementary school. Today, with the support of grants and the backing of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (whose father and former Mayor Richard J. Daley is the program's namesake), Hafer's modest class has evolved into the RJD Culinary Institute at George Washington High School in southeastern Chicago.

Hafer, the program's director and sole instructor, recently talked with Chef Educator Today (CET) about how her students’ kitchen know-how translates into real-world success.

CET: How did the RJD Culinary Institute come about?
Hafer: We started with eighth graders at the age [of] 12 and 13 years old, and it evolved from there. More and more kids wanted to get into the program ... and during the summer, I would do job apprenticeships--as I'm doing right now--and then I was contacted by the principal of [George] Washington High School, and she said, "How about if you move the program here?" So, we expanded. I also met with Mayor Daley, and he, too, agreed it was important that we have training for the students who, for whatever reason, couldn’t go to college. The program evolved ... and today we have over 250 kids a day in the program between the day program at Washington; the After School Matters program, which is chaired by Mrs. Daley; and Youth Ready Chicago, which is Mayor Daley's summer work program. And I've just gotten word that we may expand even more, and we may end up doubling our capacity. So now, instead of 200 kids a day, I'm going to have 400 kids a day!

CET: Do you operate under one of the academic departments at George Washington High School?
Hafer: No, not really. I am my own entity. I am the culinary arts program at Washington High School. I developed this program on my own from my teaching background and with obvious help from other teachers and chefs that I know. I am the teacher, the director, the grocery shopper, the everything-that-needs-to-be-done person.

CET: What is your program's mission?
Hafer: The mission of the program now is to take the kids--these are inner-city school kids--and let them know that there are people who care about them; there are programs that are out there for them; and that if they work hard enough and want it bad enough, they can be a success. Now, the success I offer is through culinary, and what kid [doesn't] like to eat. The mission is to get them off Welfare, get them off the streets, get them away from negative issues that they might be involved in, and say, "Hey, you can do it, and you can do it right here. You've just got to work, and you've got to work hard."

I started the program in 1997 on a wing and a prayer with 35 kids in the teachers' lunchroom in an elementary school. And as word got out that I was doing this, many people, especially in the culinary field, wanted to be involved. Because, as we know, these students [who] I'm starting to train, are going to be our future workers in the hospitality industry. I know that the high schools around us and obviously the big culinary schools have their programs, but my contention was--and it's a known fact--that in the area where I live, the gangs start recruiting sometimes as [early] as third grade and fifth grade. And the objective of me starting the program was to do something with these kids to get them off the streets and give them a positive outlook at something they can achieve, rather than going in the opposite direction.

CET: As you mentioned, this high school culinary arts program grew out a similar course that you taught for a number of years at the elementary school level. How have you altered your lesson plans and teaching methods for high school-age students?
Hafer: I start with the students when they're freshmen. ... In our first year, we just go over learning the equipment, measurements/conversions—you'd be surprised at how many kids don't know how many ounces are in a cup. So we do all of that basic stuff in that freshman year or summer [after freshman] year. Then by the end of freshman year and into their sophomore and junior year, we really get into the sanitation part, the correct measurement part, we get into teamwork, we get into what it takes to be a culinarian—standing on your feet 12 hours a day and still getting the job down. They get all this training.

Now, I'm working with Illinois Restaurant Association and [Chicago Public Schools (CPS)] to have instructors come in and actually get the students certified: cross-contamination, proper temperature control--all of that is taught to them. The idea is that if a student cannot or does not go on to college when they finish high school, they still know the basic concepts, [so] they can walk into any restaurant or dining establishment and apply for a job.

And as I tell the kids, it's okay if you don't become a chef, but there are so many parts of the industry where you can use these skills: teamwork, following directions, reading, math. And I don't have a great facility, so I also teach students to think outside of the box: If we don't have this, what can we use instead. How can we make this work? Maybe we're making this work in the kitchen, but maybe you've got to jerry-rig a piece on you car because it's not working properly, and you don't have the proper equipment. But if you learn those skills and how to think and work as a team, you'll succeed in whatever you do.

CET: Can you give us an example of a success story that you've shared with students to inspire them?
Hafer: A former student of mine grew up in Englewood [a Chicago neighborhood], which is obviously not always a good environment. And he worked with me for the last three years in high school, but due to his family situation, he did not have the money to go to culinary school. So what did [he] decide to do? He joined the Navy, and now he is in culinary training. He graduated [from high school], and now he is going to be stationed in San Diego, cooking for the Naval fleet.

I've got another [former] student who started with me at 13 years old, and he [recently] graduated from Dartmouth. Hello? Darmouth! This little kid from the South Side who used to say he would listen to bullets outside his window at night and wonder what would become of himself, and then we mentored him, and he found that he had options in life. While going to school full-time at Dartmouth, he made and sold party cakes and presentation cakes as a kind of side business. When he went to Dartmouth, he brought his cooking pans with him, and he would make cakes for the other students and sell them to make extra money. Brilliant.

And then there's David; he went [the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago]. He got his culinary training. Jen right now is in pastry and baking at Washburne. I can go on and on. ... I could give you a list of 30 or 40 names of my students who've gone on to use their culinary training.

CET: Tell us a more about your involvement with After School Matters.
Hafer: It's an extension of the high school program. After School Matters is backed by, or rather presented by, the City of Chicago. After School Matters, as the name implies, is a program that's available for students after school. We've found that a high percent of the [negative] incidents that involve young adults happen after school when they're unsupervised. Or maybe they're just bored or don't have anything else to do, so trouble just finds them. So, the After School Matters program--which isn't just culinary; it's music, art, dance, technology, all kinds of programs available--gives the students an opportunity to extend their education after school, keep them safe, teach them a skill in an area that they're interested in, and get them on their way to success and into the job market. It starts in high school.

My students, who are so funny and bright, came up with this saying for our program: "Hafer is safer."

I talk to them like my own kids. I tell them you are my children, and I'm going to protect you to the best of my ability, but I'm also going to make you learn. I'm going to make you work, and I'm going to make you succeed; you're not going to sit back. My daughter is a Senior Chief in the military for the Navy, and my son is a chef for Nordstroms. Again, though, they worked hard. They weren't born with a silver spoon in their mouth, and neither was I. I was Welfare when I was a kid. I was on the food lines, and that's how I learned to cook. Because when we went to the food pantry, we had to figure out a recipe because that's all we had. We didn't have the Whip card and the money cards that they give the people today. They gave you a bag of groceries and that's it. If you were hungry, you had to figure out how to cook. My mother was the "father" of the family, and she went out and tried to make what she could. And I stayed home with my three brothers, and guess what? They had to eat.

As I tell the kids--and I'm not knocking training, but--sometimes those life skills are more important than the official training you get because you learn how to really work, and learn how to make good things happen. And the official training just serves as the ice cream and the cherry on the cake and really takes them to the next level, which is where I want them all to aspire to be.

CET: The program is funded almost entirely through outside grants and donations. How have raised awareness of and money for the program over the years?
Hafer: I do have a tendency to be a little high-profile, and I know sometimes people say, "Oh, god, here she comes. Everybody turn and run." But, as I tell the kids, it's very important to network, so we do a lot of networking. I do a lot of networking downtown with business people, with culinarians that I have met over the years through programs that I have run. So, whenever we have an opportunity to be profiled, we do it. [In July], we performed a culinary demo at the Taste of Chicago [food festival], we’ve worked with the French Pastry School and other local culinary schools—Washburne, Kendall, Robert Morris. All of these culinary schools know that these are their future students, too. So, we continually feed on each other. I don't care that they're giving me an old pan because they’re getting new equipment. I'll take the old pan, and I'll clean it up, and we'll use it.

I go to all of these businesses, these companies and culinary school. I work with Linda Rosner, who’s the president of the American Culinary Federation [Windy City Professional Culinarians chapter]. The American Culinary Federation is one of our staunchest supporters; they work with the kids, they give them opportunities.

And the students go with me because they need to learn those [networking] skills--they need to learn how to represent themselves, how to shake hands, make eye contact, talk to individuals. Because then, when [my students] interview for a job and they have those skills, and the other [candidate] doesn't, they're a shoo-in.

Our Alderman John Pope and Mayor Daly, they've all seen that what we're doing is a positive thing, and they see the results that these kids are making. And so everybody just sort of jumps on board: "Hey, Glor, how can we help you out?" And I know times are bad right now, as they are for everybody. Everybody's trying to stretch their dollars and make it work, and I'm doing exactly the same thing. But with the help of all of these great people and institutions, and with a wing and prayer and the Lord, we're going to continue to make it happen.

CET: What plans do you and your students have for the year ahead?
Hafer: It looks as though, if all goes well, we're going to get a grant from CPS, and they're going to expand our space. I'm going to get some new equipment ... and we're just going to keep our face out there, working and promoting the program and the kids and the culinary field--hopefully finding jobs out there that are available to students. ... All of that means more work for me, but as you can probably tell, I sort of love what I’m doing.

You have to understand, I am "retired." I retired from the board of education with 36 years of service, and I'm still teaching. I could be sitting on a cruise ship in the middle of an ocean eating bon-bons and sipping on a piña colada, you know, but I love what I'm doing. I love the kids, and I love the fact that they are trying to make a difference in their lives. And if they're willing to do it, I tell them, "I will be there for you."

I'm not saying I don't have failures; everybody does. But mine seem to be few and far between, and even then I still run into former students who tell me, "Oh, Ms. Hafer, I should have stuck with you, finished the program."

Friday, August 28, 2009

New textbook for budding culinary professionals

Goodheart-Willcox Publisher has released The Culinary Professional, by chefs John Draz (founding faculty member of Kendall College's School of Culinary Arts) and Christopher Koetke (dean of Kendall College's School of Culinary Arts), a comprehensive learning tool for students new to culinary arts and the foodservice industry.

The Culinary Professional is an introductory textbook developed for students enrolled in grades 9 through 12, as well as the first two years of postsecondary training. Designed in a colorful, easy-to-read format, the 831-page book offers complete explanations of culinary techniques, identification of the vast array of equipment and foods used in a professional kitchen, and an introduction to the knowledge and skills needed to work in and manage a foodservice operation. Besides providing students with an excellent foundation in the study of classic and contemporary cuisines, The Culinary Professional also explores the vast range of opportunities encompassing traditional and emerging food careers.

Additional highlights include:
  • More than 1,000 illustrations facilitating product and equipment identification and step-by-step techniques for essential culinary skills
  • More than 160 professional recipes
  • Thorough glossary of key terms and index to locate terms and subjects covered
  • Regularly appearing features on history, workplace issues, safety and sanitation, science and technology, culture and cuisine, culinary tips, menu trends and nutrition principles
  • Chapter activities on workplace math, problem-solving and critical-thinking challenges, as well as minilabs
Additional student materials in digital format--including identification and vocabulary activities, math activities, primal-cuts activities, recipes and related Web links, as well as printable common foodservice forms and worksheets--are included on a companion CD conveniently sleeved into the back cover of each book. The CD also provides students with a username and password to access an online recipe database, allowing them to convert recipe yields, search by title and browse by recipe category. For more information, visit

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Web site educates about Omega-3s

A Purdue University-based international consortium has launched a Web site dedicated to educating the public, physicians and veterinarians about the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids. The Web site,, answers simple questions about what Omega-3s do, where to find them in food and pet food products and how to ensure a person is getting the right type of Omega-3s. The Web site also provides fact sheets and handouts for doctors and veterinarians to give to their patients.

"People have heard of Omega-3s, but they don't understand what Omega-3s are, the types of Omega-3s in food and how to use them for better health," said Bruce Watkins, Purdue professor of nutrition and director of the International Omega-3 Learning and Education Consortium for Health and Medicine, in a press statement. "There are different types of Omega-3s needed throughout the lifetime. We're trying to help consumers with information that will help them make good decisions throughout their lives."

Newsletters for doctors, veterinarians and consumers will go out every other month and can be received by signing up on the site.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A recipe for Sachertorte

This recipe was mentioned in the "Gâteaux versus tortes" article (page 16) of the August 2009 issue of Chef Educator Today.

Jim Quinter, CWPC, Sullivan University, Louisville, Ky.

Yield: 1 torte

5 oz. Barry Callebaut bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. pastry flour (spoon gently into cup and level top)
Liquor and simple syrup, as needed
1 c. apricot glaze or strained jam, warmed
Chocolate glaze or ganache, warm

Method (1) Heat oven to 400°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Dust sides of pan with flour, and tap out excess. (2) Set up a double boiler over very hot water, but not simmering; melt chocolate. Remove from heat; let stand, stirring often, until cool. (3) Beat butter in bowl of a standing mixer with paddle on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. On low speed, beat in powdered sugar. Return speed to medium-high, and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in chocolate and vanilla. (4) In separate bowl, beat the egg whites and granulated sugar with a mixer on high speed just until they form soft, shiny peaks. Do not overbeat. Stir about 1/4 beaten whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in remaining whites, leaving a few visible wisps of whites. Sift half of flour over chocolate mixture, and fold in with a large balloon whisk or rubber spatula. Repeat with remaining flour. (5) Spread evenly in pan, slightly spin cake pan to prevent from doming. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove sides of pan, and invert cake onto rack. Cool completely. (6) To assemble: Using a long serrated knife, cut cake horizontally into two equal layers. Place one cake layer on an 8-inch cardboard round. Macerate the cake with some type of liquor and simple syrup to keep the cake moist. Spread liberal amount of apricot glaze on bottom layer. Place second cake layer on top; macerate and spread more apricot glaze on top layer. Spread top and sides of cake with the remaining apricot. Transfer to wire rack placed over a jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper. Let cool until the glaze is set (may place in the cooler until glaze is set). (7) Pour ganache to enrobe top of cake. Using a metal offset spatula, gently smooth glaze over cake, allowing it to run down sides, being sure that glaze completely coats the cake (patch any bare spots with spatula and icing that has dripped). Cool until ganache is barely set, then transfer to a serving plate. Refrigerate until the ganache is completely set, at least 1 hour. Remove cake from refrigerator about 1 hour before serving. Use any remaining ganache to write SACHER on the top center of the cake. (8) To serve, slice with a sharp knife dipped into hot water. Goes well with a fresh raspberry sauce.

Gluten-free baking and cooking classes open at HCCC
this fall

Gluten sensitivity and intolerance affects 15 percent of the U.S. population, and 1 percent suffers from celiac disease. In an effort to help those sensitive to gluten, Jersey City, N.J.-based Hudson County Community College (HCCC) is offering four-week gluten-free baking and cooking classes starting in October in the school's Culinary Arts Institute.

"Gluten-Free Desserts" will meet Saturdays, beginning Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. "Gluten-Free Artisanal Breads and Savories" will meet on Wednesdays, starting Oct. 21. Lisa Roberts-Lehan, a classically trained chef who was diagnosed with sever gluten intolerance 12 years ago, will teach the courses, which will be held in the conference center at the Culinary Arts Institute.

More information about the courses will be available at a special Open House in the conference center on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. Visit to learn more.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

U.S. Potato Board announces winners in CIA recipe contest

The United States Potato Board (USPB) has awarded three students at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for their innovative potato recipes. As part of their support of CIA programs, the USPB invited students to submit their recipes for three categories: Ethnic, Healthy and New Classics.

"Cheesy Southwestern Potato Crisps," a Latin-inspired recipe with fresh jalapeño-cilantro pesto and cheese enveloped in crisp shredded potatoes, captured the Ethnic Category and overall Grand Prize in the Potato Innovation Recipe Contest. The fresh and flavorful recipe was created by William "Trey" Smith, a student of the CIA in Hyde Park, N.Y. The USBP is awarding Smith with a trip to the CIA Worlds of Flavors conference in St. Helena (Napa Valley) taking place Nov. 12 to 14, 2009.

"Indian Spiced Potato and Spinach Bajé" earned Adam Kaswiner the $1,000 prize for the Healthy Category. Inspired by his Peace Corps travel in Bangladesh, his recipe demonstrated the versatility of the nutrient rich potato with bold craveable flavors.

Marissa Hines won the New Classics category with her recipe, "Not Your Grandmother's Pierogi." The student's sophisticated updated take on the classic comfort food with goat cheese and prosciutto in a leek and morel sauce also earned a $1,000 prize.

For copies of these recipes and for more recipe inspiration, please visit

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lexington College to honor McDonalds' Fields at fall gala

Lexington College, the nonprofit, all-women hospitality college in Chicago, will host a fall benefit dinner on Nov. 2 to honor Jan Fields, executive vice president and chief operating officer of McDonalds USA. The event aims to raise scholarship funds for future women leaders in the hospitality industry.

Mia Martinez, co-anchor and reporter for CBS Channel 2, will be the master of ceremonies for the benefit dinner, which takes place at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. For more information, visit

Friday, August 21, 2009

NRAEF and CHART honor scholarship recipient

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) along with the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) was pleased to award Charles Eng, a ManageFirst student from The Ohio State University, with a $2,500 scholarship to support his education and career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. The scholarship was presented during CHART's 76th Semi-Annual Hospitality Training Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 27.

(l to r) Jennifer Kovacs, director, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation; 2009 NRAEF-CHART scholarship recipient Charles Eng, hospitality and finance student at The Ohio State University; and Curt Archambault, FMP, CHART Scholarship Chair, and regional training and development manager, Jack In The Box

This scholarship is presented annually to a student pursuing a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. Charles Eng is a junior at The Ohio State University pursuing a dual degree in Hospitality Management and Finance. He is also studying the NRAEF's ManageFirst Program, which will further prepare him for a successful career. He believes his education along with the experience he is gaining while working at the ViewPoint Restaurant will serve him well in today's growing global economy. Eng's ultimate goal is to work in foodservice and provide people a place to dine that is relaxed and culturally enriching.

The National Restaurant Association’s ManageFirst Program is a management development program that equips students with the key competencies they need to begin or advance their management careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry. ManageFirst is in use at more than 350 colleges and universities and in a variety of restaurant and foodservice companies. For more information, visit

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Go wild with wild rice

The California Wild Rice Advisory Board is calling on all chefs-in-training and culinary professionals in California and Nevada to compete in the "California Wild Rice Rocks My World Recipe Rumble" for up to $5,000 in cash and prizes.

The California Wild Rice Advisory Board, which is sponsoring the event, is challenging culinary professionals to create interesting new ways to incorporate and serve wild rice in restaurants, catering operations and other foodservice settings.

The rumble kicks off Sept. 1 with the start of California Wild Rice Month and closes Feb. 28. The winners will be notified no later than March 31. Contest entry forms and rules can be found online at

*Photo courtesy of the California Wild Rice Advisory Board

Four top OC chefs to participate in scholarship fundraiser

Four of southern California's top chefs will participate in the inaugural Orange County Celebrity Chefs Culinary Arts Scholarship fundraiser at The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar at The District in Tustin to help five aspiring chefs earn their associates degree in culinary arts at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Yvon Goetz, executive chef and partner at The Winery--along with Pascal Olhats, executive chef and owner of Tradition by Pascal and Brasserie Pascal; Andrew Sutton, executive chef of Napa Rose at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.; and Rob Wilson, executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel--will prepare a six-course dinner for the guests. A portion of the proceeds from the dinner will be added to The Winery Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund. In February, The Winery's owners will review all scholarship applications, and the winners will be announced at a campus-wide ceremony in May.

The event takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 23. For more information or to make reservations, send an e-mail to

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ProStart director wins Herman Breithaupt Award

Bill Nolan, director of ProStart, received the Chef Herman Breithaupt Award from the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education (CHRIE). The award, presented to Nolan during the International CHRIE Annual Conference in San Francisco, honors the memory of Breithaupt by recognizing achievement and contributions to foodservice education by a chef-educator.

During his tenure with the National Restaurant Association (NRA), Nolan has created several training programs targeted toward culinary education for secondary school teachers. He also has helped develop the National ProStart Invitational, the NRA's culinary and restaurant management competition for ProStart students. At this competition, he oversees a team consisting of 14 culinary professionals and post-secondary judges who evaluate the student competitors in the culinary side of the competition.

ProStart is a career-building program for high school students who are interested in culinary arts or foodservice management. It is supported by the NRA. For more information, visit

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Le Cordon Bleu announces all-online culinary management degree program

Le Cordon Bleu Schools North America (LCB) and its parent company, Career Education Corp., announced the launch of a new online bachelor of arts degree in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Management.

The 15-month online program focuses on theory, science and business development and builds on a student's culinary skills with an award-winning interactive educational platform.

"This online degree was designed to create a dynamic learning experience through interactive course materials and engaging relationships that form among students and faculty," Jeremy J. Wheaton, senior vice president of operations, Culinary Arts (Career Education Corp.), said in a press statement. "Now, culinary professionals currently working in the food and hospitality field have the option to further their education without putting their career on hold."

The degree program features audio and video lessons in addition to readings and clickable exercises. The curriculum includes Wine & Beverage Management; Gastronomy; Health Cuisine and Food Science; Small Business Development; Event Management & Art of the Event; and Customer Service. In the capstone course, students are required to develop a real-world business plan, with marketing, product/menu/services and financial analysis; and profit and loss projections.

The online program is offered by Scottsdale Culinary Institute (SCI). SCI is licensed by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). A natural transition for LCB alumni with associate degree programs, the online BA in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Management accepts graduates from most accredited associate degree culinary programs.

"If prerequisites are necessary before enrollment in the online program, Scottsdale Culinary Institute offers online 'bridge' classes to assist in beginning this new program," Jake Elsen, president of SCI, said in a press statement.

The platform was developed by the same Career Education Corp. team which recently received the 21st Century Achievement Award in the Education and Academia category in the International Data Group (IDG) Computerworld Honors Program for the development of the Virtual Campus at American InterContinental University.

The inaugural class began this week.

Monday, August 17, 2009

SkillsUSA student will travel to Canada to compete in culinary competition

Craig Growney of East Rutherford, N.J., and a student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., will represent the United States in Calgary, Canada, in the WorldSkills Cooking Competition. SkillsUSA, the organization that represents the United States in the WorldSkills Competition, will send 16 total students from various areas of study to compete in the 40th international event to be held Sept. 1 to 7 as part of the United States "WorldTeam."

Growney earned the right to be a member of WorldTeam by winning local, district and national contests in cooking under the SkillsUSA program. Competitors must be under the age of 23. According to WorldSkills International, cooking competitors will be expected to:
  • prepare, season and cook a variety of foods according to recipes
  • create and test new recipes
  • operate machinery associated with food preparation
  • carve meats, determine portion sizes, arrange foods and add sauces, gravies and garnish to servings
  • bake desserts and pastries
  • prepare buffets such as platters and showpieces
  • oversee menu planning, estimate food requirements and obtain the necessary food from storage or from suppliers to maintain an inventory of kitchen provisions
  • prepare and follow budgets
  • supervise kitchen staff
  • understand the needs of special diets due to culture, health or religion

Every two years, hundreds of young people from 51 member countries or regions compete in the prestigious WorldSkills Competition. Considered "the best of the best," these contestants compete for four days in 45 occupational skill areas from economic sectors including manufacturing, information technology, transportation, construction and services. Accompanied by their teachers, trainers and industry technical committee experts, these young people compete before the public in contests that are run by and judged by industry using demanding international standards. For more information, visit or

Friday, August 14, 2009

WCR scholarship and internship winners announced

Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR) today announced 38 recipients of its 2009 Scholarship and Internship Program.

Through the program, professional and student members of WCR not only are given the chance to travel abroad to such countries as China, France, Ireland, Italy and Mexico, they also gain professional skills and inspiration from local industry leaders who generously donate their time and resources to advance the professional development of women culinarians.

WCR will introduce next year's Scholarship and Internship Program at its 2009 national conference, Nov. 1 to 3 at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C.

WCR congratulates the following recipients of 2009 WCR Scholarships and Internships:
$20,000 scholarship ($5,000 per year) toward a baccalaureate degree from Johnson & Wales University's College of Culinary Arts
Sandra Steward, Ft. Myers Beach, Fla.

An Organic Maine Experience at Primo Restaurant
Veronica Butler, Chicago

Barbara Tropp Memorial Internship, Beijing
Rebecca Wheeler, Chicago

Bread Baking Internship at Amy’s Bread, New York City
Katie Hickok, Santa Cruz, Calif.

Catherine Brandel Fellowship
Regina Mehallick, Indianapolis

Center Yourself with an Internship at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health
Carrie Rosebraugh, Oceanside, Calif., and Anne Churchill, New Orleans

Chef’s Garden/Culinary Vegetable Institute Internship, Milan, Ohio
Erin Bell, New York City; Tania Lovato, Bernalillo, N.M.; and Sue McWilliams, Takoma Park, Md.

Cocinar Mexicano Day of the Dead Workshop
Ivy Stark, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Cooking in France with Dorothee Alexander
Shannon Kimball, Austin, Texas

Food Styling Internship with Denise Vivaldo, Food Fanatics, Los Angeles
Patricia Dickerson, Sarasota, Fla.

Front of House Management Internship with Deann Bayless, Frontera Grill, Chicago
Irene Saldana, Fountain Valley, Calif.

Internship with the "Too Hot Tamales," Border Grill, Santa Monica, Calif.
Gabrielle MonDesire, Paris, France

Learn to Grow Vegetables without Chemicals in Ireland
Alicia Deal, Seattle

New Orleans Internship with Susan Spicer, Bayona
Keisha Happy, Germantown, Md.

Organic Internship with Nora Pouillon, Restaurant Nora, Washington, D.C.
Celeste Scarlett, Maumee, Ohio; Luella Semmes, CenterPort, N.Y.; Rachel Weston, Neptune, N.J.; and Teresa Montano, Los Angeles

Pastry Internship at Citizen Cake, San Francisco
Charmaine Macrohon, Canoga Park, Calif. Editorial Internship
Anne Marie Cook, North Brunswick, N.J. International Chefs Congress Chef Pass
Sue McWilliams, Westwood Hills, Kan.; Noelle Barille, New York City; Leah Crawford; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Portia Lashley, Rego Park, N.Y.; Sarah Evans, Renssalaerville, N.Y.; Mary Anne Raymond, Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Madeline Basler, Brooklyn, N.Y. Marketing Internship
Julia Abanavas, New York City

The Culinary Institute of America ProChef Certification Program
Michelle Phillips, Kennesaw, Ga.

The Culinary Institute of America Mastering Wine
Maureen Lisi-MacReady, Monrovia, Calif.

The French Culinary Institute Pastry Arts Career Evening Program
Angela Lighty, Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Institute of Culinary Education Pastry and Baking Diploma Program
Meredith Takahashi, New York City

Tutti a Tavola Culinary Program in Tuscany
Christine Migton, Clark, N.J.

Washington Square (New York City) Hotel Internship: Get to Know a Boutique Hotel & Restaurant from the Inside Out
Elizabeth Dinice, Philadelphia

Wisconsin Artisan Cheese Intensive at L'Etoile Restaurant, Madison
Jacquelyn Buchanan, Petaluma, Calif.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

ACFEF Apprenticeship Program receives grant

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) a grant totaling $481,200 for the ACFEF Apprenticeship Program.

The grant was awarded as part of a funding effort called Advancing Registered Apprenticeship in the 21st Century: Collaborating for Success. The grants aim to assist national industry and employer associations and labor management organizations in advancing registered apprenticeship through the development of innovative programs using an updated framework. All told, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded a total of $6,499,992 to 11 organizations.

The ACFEF currently has 60 apprenticeship programs throughout the United States with 689 registered apprentices. The ACFEF Apprenticeship Program incorporates 10 on-the-job learning stations and an educational component, concluding with an associate degree in either culinary arts or pastry arts. Upon graduation, each apprentice is given the opportunity to verify his or her skills by testing for an ACF professional certification.

2010 FENI Summit details announced!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How to carve a leg of lamb

A leg of lamb offers a dramatic centerpiece for buffet tables and catered events. As such, the Denver, Colo.-based American Lamb Board has created a step-by step guide on how best to carve a leg of lamb. The primer also contains recipes for using leftover lamb leg meat in salads and sandwiches.

For more information or to order a copy, visit or send an email to

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sullivan University honors chef Daniel Orr

Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies (NCHS) has announced that chef Daniel Orr of FARMbloomington in Bloomington, Ind., will be honored with the prestigious Distinguished Visiting Chef award on Thursday, August 27. Orr, who was awarded three stars by the New York Times as executive chef at La Grenouille, will perform a series of cooking demonstrations and participate in question-and-answer sessions on campus exclusively for Sullivan University students before the award presentation. He also will be signing copies of his new book Farm Food: Green Living with Chef Daniel Orr (2009, Indiana University Press) for students and faculty.

The Distinguished Visiting Chef series began in 1988 and is an inventive culinary-inspired education program designed to connect students with today’s top chefs. Orr is the 37th recipient of the Distinguished Visiting Chef honor. Other chefs to receive this award include Bob Kinkead, Emeril Lagasse, Louis Osteen, Deborah Madison, Rick Tramonto and Marcel Desaulniers.

“Being in the culinary industry requires a reverence for place and for the environment,” NCHS director Tom Hickey said in a recent press release. “Chef Orr’s story is inspiring because he has worked globally in some of the best kitchens in the world, but he followed his dream back to his roots and makes a point to support local farmers and producers that make Indiana unique.”

Monday, August 10, 2009

Second Annual Amateur Cookie Competition
results in

Michelle Olszewski won first place at Pastry Chicago's Second Annual Amateur Cookie Competition held July 25 at Whole Foods in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Olszewski's Strawberry Lemonade Snickerdoodles (pictured left) were chosen the winner out of 25 entries of original citrus-flavored cookies.

The top five winners received prizes from KitchenAid, Hanig's Footwear, Dansko and The French Pastry School, which all sponsored the event. The other winners were: Bianca Pillarella's Strawberry-Lime Slices, second place; Gina Gustrowsky's Lemon Knot Cookies, third place; Chris Perchatsch's White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies with Orange, fourth place; and Christine Rice's Orange Walnut Chocolate Chunk Biscotti, fifth place.

Pastry Chicago is a volunteer association that provides educational events for the development and promotion of the pastry arts. For more information on the association and upcoming events, visit

Friday, August 7, 2009

National champion joins The French Pastry School faculty

Pastry chef Mark Seaman has joined the faculty of The French Pastry School at City Colleges of Chicago as a chef-instructor. Seaman, who won first place honors* at the 2007 Grand National Wedding Cake Competition at the Oklahoma Sugar Arts Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma, specializes in sugar art, special occasion and wedding cake design, and styling. He will be one of the instructors teaching the 16-week L'Art du Gâteau (The Professional Cake Decorating and Baking Program) beginning August 2010.

Seaman's nationally recognized style and cake creations have been featured on a number of television programs, and he has judged many cake competitions. Seaman also was the proprietor of Marked for Dessert, a wedding cake boutique in Libertyville, Ill., for many years.

Other accolades for Seaman include being honored by the Condé Nast Bridal Group as a leading Chicago cake stylist and regional wedding expert at the 2004 Wedding Cake March on the Magnificent Mile. Marked for Dessert was named "The Knot 2007 Best of Weddings Pick," the highest ranking for wedding cakes in the Midwest by The Knot brides magazine. In 2005 and 2003, Seaman also took the Silver and Bronze medals, respectively, from the National Wedding Cake Competition.

The French Pastry School began accepting applications for the new program as of Aug. 1, 2009. The full-time 16-week certificate program will focus on the art of cake decorating; baking; constructing; and all aspects involving the creation of wedding, celebration and specialty cakes.

*UPDATED 9/8/09

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A healthy take on red velvet cake

In partnership with the American Cancer Society, the Culinary Institute of America challenged its baking and pastry students to create a healthier birthday cake as part of the American Cancer Society's More Birthdays campaign. Student Alexandra Mudry was named the winner with her healthier version of red velvet cake (recipe follows) by CIA alumnus and chef Duff Goldman along with the CIA and the American Cancer Society. Mudry's cake is now the American Cancer Society's official birthday cake.

Students submitted recipes that included an original cake recipe and a description of how the recipe used more healthful baking ingredients and substitutions to improve on the traditional birthday cake. The CIA deans evaluated the recipes and chose five finalists. The other finalists included: Arthur Battistini, runner up, Hyde Park campus; Tamara King, Hyde Park campus; Lorraine Tran, Greystone campus; and Laura Sansone, Hyde Park campus.

CIA student Alexandra Mudry poses with her winning birthday cake, a lightened-up version of red velvet cake

New Red Velvet Cake
Alexandra Mudry, student-chef, Culinary Institute of America

Yield: 10-12 generous servings

3 large or 5 small beets, to make 2 c. purée (if using canned beets, make sure they are unseasoned and stored in their own juices)
1/2 c. canola oil
3/4 c. all purpose flour, plus some for dusting cake pans
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 c. granulated sugar
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 t. instant espresso powder or instant coffee
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. dried cherries
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. quinoa flour (if you are unable to find quinoa flour, substitute 1/4 c. all purpose flour)
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
Chocolate Raspberry Ganache (recipe follows)
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Method (1) Preheat oven to 375°F. Trim ends of beets, and place on a parchment paper or foil-lined baking pan. Drizzle with 1 T. canola oil. Roast until fork tender, about 2 hours. Once cooled, peel then place in blender or food processor with 1-2 T. water. Purée beets until they reach a smooth and even consistency. Set aside. The beets can be made several days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (2) Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray one 9" X 14" baking pan or two 8" pans with canola oil spray, and dust with flour; discard excess flour. (3) Combine oil, eggs, egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed with a paddle attachment until smooth and light colored. (4) Add the espresso powder to the melted chocolate, and stir until combined. Turning the speed down to low, slowly drizzle the melted chocolate into the mixture. Once the chocolate has been added, turn off the machine, and scrape the sides of the bowl. (5) In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa powder, applesauce and beet purée. Add this mixture to the egg mixture. Place the machine on medium speed to incorporate, scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the cherries; mix again. Remove the bowl from the mixer. (6) Sift the remaining dry ingredients together, and then gently fold into the mixture. Do not over-mix or the cake will become tough and dense. (7) Pour batter into pan(s), and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (8) Cool, and remove from pan(s). If not using immediately, wrap in saran wrap, and refrigerate. Cake can be made a day in advance. (9) If using 9" X 14" pan, pour Raspberry Chocolate Ganache over top of cake and spread evenly. Cut the cake lengthwise down the middle, and then invert so both layers of ganache are sandwiched together. (If using an 8" pan, pour ganache on one layer and top with other cake.) Once cake is stacked, smooth sides, and fill in any gaps between the layers with ganache. Place cake in refrigerator, and chill until ganache is firm. (10) Once the cake and ganache are firm, remove from refrigerator. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting or any other desired frosting.

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache
2 oz. heavy cream
1.5 oz. raspberry pur
ée (or other dark berry mixture such as blackberries and blueberries, which are high in antioxidants
4 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces

Method (1) Boil cream in a small pot. At the same time, warm raspberry pur
ée in microwave until just warm. Once cream has boiled, add raspberry purée, and stir to combine. (2) Pour over chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is homogenous. If the chocolate does not melt all the way, place over a double boiler and finish melting. Set ganache aside, and allow to cool so it becomes slightly thick. This will allow for easier spreading.

Cream Cheese Frosting
24 oz. (3 packages) reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 c. confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 t. vanilla extract

Method (1) Lightly beat cream cheese and vanilla extract until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Stop machine, scrape down sides of bowl, then add confectioners' sugar. Cream together until smooth. Do not overmix or the frosting will become too soft and difficult to spread.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Demystifying organic

Stratford University in Falls Church, Va., issued a press statement to help demystify the term "organic."

The statement notes that the concept of organic exists on several levels. According to the American Dietetic Association, food labeled "100 percent organic" means the food must contain only organically produced ingredients, except for water and salt. Items labeled "organic" must contain at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients, except water and salt. Products with claims that the food is "made with organic ingredients" must contain at least 70 percent ingredients that are derived from organic products.

There is a list of items considered organic must-haves in the kitchen, according to the statement. This list comprises crops that environmentalist groups agree are the most heavily sprayed with chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and rodenticides. The items are: peaches, apples, sweet pepper, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. Additionally, organic is recommended when purchasing meat, especially beef.

What is so bad about these chemicals on food? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, they can cause health problems such as birth defects, nerve damage, cancer and other side effects when used over a long period of time.

"At first, it can be a little daunting trying to figure out what is worth putting out the extra money on to get organic," said Carla Skornik, culinary arts instructor at Stratford, in the statement. "But once you think about it, and make a list of the most important items on which to go organic, it's much easier, and soon you won't even have to think about it."

For more information, contact Stratford University.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lexington students earn top 2009 IHLA awards

The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association Education Foundation’s (IHLAEF) Selection Committee recently announced their 2009 scholarship awardees. Four IHLA awards were granted to Lexington College students.

Two prestigious awards were given to Itezelle Arienza ’10 and Caroline Marry ’10. Arienza is the recipient of The 2009 Hostmark Hospitality Group/Robert J. Cataldo Scholarship for the 2009–2010 academic year--the highest award designated for an IHLA hotel member employee. Marry is the recipient of The 2009 J. Patrick Leahy Connoisseur Scholarship for the 2009–2010 academic year. Arienza and Marry are both pursuing a bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management with a concentration in Hotel/Restaurant Management.

“As one of the top hospitality schools in Chicago, we know how important intelligent, young talent is. It is an honor to have the two largest IHLA scholarships going to Lexington students, and we recognize each of them for their outstanding achievements,” said academic dean of Lexington College Mary Hunt in a press release. “We believe they will continue to make a significant contribution to their profession in the hospitality industry.”

Katie Holtschult ’10 and Jennifer Yerkes ’09 also received scholarship awards for the 2009–2010 academic year. Holtschult is pursuing her bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management with a concentration in Hotel/Restaurant Management. Yerkes is pursuing her bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management with a concentration in Event Planning.

The IHLAEF is the not-for-profit educational arm of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA). Incorporated in 1992, the Foundation has been a primary source of scholarship assistance for college students pursuing degrees in hospitality management in Illinois. The IHLA will salute all of its award recipients along with Stars of the Industry state finalists at the IHLA’s 21st Annual Luncheon Meeting in December at the Fairmont Hotel Chicago.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Kendall student wins $500 in dessert buffet competition

In the second competition sponsored by American Metalcraft, the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College awarded first place to Avril Blayney and second place to Hannah Vaughn for their plated dessert presentations.

(l to r) Kendall College students Hannah Vaughn, second place winner, and Avril Blayney, first place winner, show off their entries in the American Metalcraft dessert buffet competition.

The competition, in which 14 students participated, required the students to design and plate bite-sized desserts on a variety of American Metalcraft stainless steel, glass and porcelain plates and platters. Students had one hour to complete their presentations and were judged on balance, color, height, layout on the platter, creativity and movement. Blayney received a $500 check from American Metalcraft for her confectionery entry on a white porcelain platter. Vaughn received $200 for her dessert presentation on a glass pedestal platter.