Monday, May 31, 2010

Joel Heberlein addresses MSU hospitality graduates

The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University hosted a graduation reception for its spring 2010 graduates on May 8, with MSU's Spartan Hospitality Group director, Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center general manager and adjunct professor Joel Heberlein as speaker. More than 250 people attended the reception, and Heberlein's son Mike was among the graduates.

(l to r) The School of Hospitality Business' graduation reception speaker Joel Heberlein and his son, Mike Heberlein

"I had no job and no direction ... and I never dreamed I would lead a hospitality division at a Big Ten university," Heberlein told graduates. "You will always have us here at [MSU]. We will always be here for whatever you need and we would love to hear from each and every one of you whether you need us or not."

The reception included a tribute to the seniors, and two were selected by their peers as "Outstanding Seniors" for 2010. The honor went to Stephanie Stephens, the 2010 executive director of Career Expo; and Alexandra Clark, the 2010 executive director of Les Gourmets.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Online extras for Summer CET

L'Academie's Dionet recognized as top CEO

Francois Dionot, founder and director of L'Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Md., was chosen as one of the 25 CEOs You Need to Know for 2010 in The Montgomery County Gazette of Politics and Business. Dionot received his award at a luncheon held May 13 at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, Md.

Dionot (pictured, above) established the school in 1976 when gourmet cooking was becoming popular and people were teaching cooking classes out of their homes. The school has since grown to include two campuses, full-time professional culinary and pastry arts programs and more than 1,000 recreational cooking classes each year. Dionot teaches students in each phase of the professional program and counsels the students on their final project and on their externships. For more information, visit

Thursday, May 27, 2010

NRA Show '10 attendees, exhibits up

The 91st annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show and the International Wine, Spirits and Beer Event (IWSB) saw an increase in both attendees and exhibits from 2009. The NRA Show attracted more than 58,000 registrants--up 6 percent from 2009--and approximately 1,700 exhibitors showcased new products and services this year. Attendees trekked to Chicago for the show from 120 countries, up from 107 countries in 2009. IWSB, the industry's only professional event focused exclusively on growing restaurant and hospitality bar programs, saw a 17 percent increase in attendee registration over last year with more than 3,500 qualified registrants.

For more information on the show including photos, videos, and the Floored! blog, visit NRA Show 2011 will take place May 21 to 24 at Chicago's McCormick Place. The 2011 International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event will be held May 22 and 23.

Sullivan University chef-instructors celebrate Louisville Tourist Month

On May 14, The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook author Albert Schmid appeared at a book signing event at the Louisville Visitors Center, Louisville, Ky., along with Sullivan University chef-instructors David Dodd, Katie Payne and Allen Akmon, who prepared tastings of dishes from the cookbook. The event was presented in celebration of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau's Hometown Tourist Month.

(l to r) Sullivan University chef-instructors David Dodd, Katie Payne, Allen Akmon and Albert Schmid (seated)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ICE student wins 4th annual Chefs of Grey Poupon student competition

Sonali Ruder, a student at The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), won the 2010 Chefs of Grey Poupon Student Culinary Competition, which was held May 6 at Viking Cooking School and Culinary Shop in Glenview, Ill.

Ruder took home the grand prize and a $20,000 culinary scholarship from Kraft Foodservice with her original recipe for pan-roasted lamb loin with celery root, apple and dijon purée, mustard greens, Grey Poupon glazed carrots, pomegranate jus and truffle mustard mushroom crisp and her Mystery Basket Challenge dish of a crab cake sandwich with black garlic aïoli and avocado radish salsa.

Dave Wilcox of Kraft Foodservice with Chefs of Grey Poupon student winner Sonali Ruder

Joshua Ogrodowski from Johnson & Wales University received a $5,000 scholarship and second place with his recipe for honey Dijon pistachio-encrusted lamb rack with Dijon succotash, whole-grain Dijon lamb glace and fire-roasted tomatoes. Sarah Roberts from Kendall College won third place and a $3,000 scholarship with her recipe for crispy braised pork belly with Chinese black rice rolls. The Culinary Institute of America student Brooke Maynard took home fourth place and a $2,000 scholarship for her recipe of pear and Dijon glazed pork loin.

Now in its fifth year, the Chefs of Grey Poupon program was developed to honor three chefs each year who have creatively used Grey Poupon in their signature dishes. The student culinary competition was added four years ago to inspire the chefs of tomorrow. For more information, visit

Monday, May 24, 2010

CET is headed to the '10 NRA Show!

Chef Educator Today will be at the 2010 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show on Monday, May 24, and Tuesday, May 25. If you're planning to attend, be sure to stop by our booth, #7828!

Otherwise, see you Wednesday!

-the CET editors

Friday, May 21, 2010

McDonald's Fields receives honorary degree at Lexington commencement

On May 19 Lexington College hosted its 32nd commencement at the Merit School of Music in Chicago, where it awarded an honorary bachelor's degree in hospitality management to Janice Fields (pictured, below), president of McDonald's USA LLC. The honoris causa signifies that through decades of hospitality industry leadership, Fields has completed the course of study for this degree.

As president of McDonald's, Fields is responsible for the strategic direction and overall business results of the 14,000 McDonald's restaurants in the United States. Previously, Fields was executive vice president and chief operating officer, where she oversaw the operations of the U.S. McDonald’s restaurants. She started her career at McDonald's as a crew member in 1978.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NRAEF to award almost $60k in scholarships at
NRA Show

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) will present $59,000 in scholarships to undergraduate students and educators pursuing careers and professional development in the restaurant and foodservice industry, during the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show taking place May 22 to 25 at Chicago's McCormick Place. The scholarships will be awarded during the Michael E. Hurst Educational Forum and 23rd annual Salute to Excellence, a series of events hosted by the NRAEF, on May 22 at the Hilton Chicago.

The NRAEF, in partnership with its endowment and leadership scholar donors, will present the following scholarships at Salute to Excellence:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

HCCC now offers baking and pastry certificate

Hudson County Community College's (HCCC) Culinary Arts Institute, Jersey City, N.J., has developed a 10-week, industry-certified baking and pastries certificate program to prepare students for immediate employment. Classes will begin June 15 at the Culinary Arts Institute.

Students who attain the certification will have acquired the knowledge to maintain a pastry shop, develop menus, organize production and use products in a cost-efficient manner. Students who complete the four-module course may also transfer the classes toward an associate degree at HCCC.

For more information about the new certificate program, visit and search under the "Academic Programs" tab.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lomanno named conti professor at Penn State
School of Hospitality

The Penn State School of Hospitality Management named Mark V. Lomanno, president of Smith Travel Research Inc. (STR) the school's 71st conti professor.

Conti professors visit the school to interact with students and faculty, present guest lectures in hospitality and foodservice management and speak at graduate and undergraduate colloquia. The School of Hospitality recently hosted a two-day program that included six classroom presentations from Lomanno and an industry reception for students, alumni and local industry leaders.

STR Global tracks supply and demand data for the hotel industry and provides market share analysis for major international hotel chains and brands. As president, Lomanno sets company policy while overseeing daily operations. He also serves on the advisory boards of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Foundation, The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University and Travel Industry of America.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kendall's Zonka promoted to managing director

Renee Zonka, RD, CEC, CHE, associate dean of the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College, has been promoted to managing director, effective immediately. In her new role, Zonka will continue her duties as associate dean, which include overseeing academics, assessing student-learning outcomes, managing faculty and staff and directly interacting with students to help them maximize their educational experience. She also will be responsible for budgeting, working with the school's culinary advisory board and forecasting student flow to assist in scheduling classes. Zonka will report to Kendall College's provost and interim president Karen Gersten.

Zonka's promotion follows on the recent move of Christopher Koetke, CEC, CCE, dean of Kendall's School of Culinary Arts, to vice president of culinary arts programs for Laureate International Universities. Zonka has been a member of Kendall's faculty for three years.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Food Network's Tim Allen partners with NRAEF for
Salute to Excellence

At the 2010 National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation's (NRAEF) 23rd annual Salute to Excellence gala, Food Network host Tim Allen will emcee a specialty fashion show benefiting the NRAEF's youth development programs. The fashion show will spotlight style in foodservice apparel and gear from this year's National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show exhibitors.

"It is thrilling to be a part of such an exciting and original event," said Allen, host of the culinary competition series "Chopped," in a statement. "The restaurant and foodservice industry is an environment that fosters innovation and creativity, and this fundraiser supports the future leaders of the industry while mixing trends in food and fashion--an inspiring combination."

In addition to the fashion show, the NRAEF will recognize the students, educators and industry legends it has named as its 2010 honorees. For more information about the Salute to Excellence, visit

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tru's Gand to receive Distinguished Visiting Chef Award from Sullivan University

The National Center for Hospitality Studies (NCHS) at Sullivan University will honor executive pastry chef Gale Gand on May 20 with the Distinguished Visiting Chef Award. Gand, who is partner at Mobil four-star and five-diamond AAA Relais-Gourmand restaurant Tru, will be signing copies of her new cookbook, Gale Gand's Brunch! 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend’s Best Meal for students and faculty before the award presentation.

The Distinguished Visiting Chef series, which began in 1988, is a culinary-inspired education program designed to connect students with today's top chefs. Gand is the 38th recipient of the Distinguished Visiting Chef honor. Other chefs to receive this award include Kinkead's chef/owner Bob Kinkead, celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, and chef Rick Tramonto.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Career Search: Health care reform means more food jobs

by Irena Chalmers

Editors' note: "Career Search," a column exploring of the vast range of culinary careers awaiting culinary graduates, appears in each quarterly issue of Chef Educator Today. For the Summer 2010 issue, CET has selected to put it on our blog.

The idea of eating well--or, at least, better--increasingly begins before the beginning. It has become accepted that pregnant women should watch what they eat to better ensure that their well-nourished babies get a huge head start in life.

I would not have believed this had I not seen it with my own eyes. Decades ago, at the moment the U.K. government instituted the National Health System, it was decided that all graduate nurses who wished to specialize in a specific branch of medicine were required to first become midwives. To this day I have never understood the logic of this, but in order to concentrate on my chosen field of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, I trudged to Aberdeen, Scotland, to assist in the birth of 50 babies. (Fifty was the number required to achieve certification.)

All this is a preamble to say that when we nurses arrived at the obstetrics ward we could often match the contented babies to their contented mothers. The fractious, restless, sometimes low-birth-weight babies could similarly be identified with their moms. Failure to thrive doesn't occur at the moment of birth, but as a result of poor nutrition during gestation. The risks and rewards of securing a healthful diet have lifetime consequences. Fortunately, we can already see healthy and nutritious food choices taking up more shelf space in supermarkets.

Healthy food is now prepared in hospitals and company cafeterias, schools in school systems and colleges, museum restaurants, spas, the military and upscale retirement homes. Local farms are providing farm-to-table fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meats, free-range chickens and sustainable fish for restaurants. And farmers' markets are gaining more fans. This rethinking of the food everyone will be eating is gathering momentum not only to those who can afford the very best but for everyone.

We are also seeing large food-processing companies and chain restaurants improving the nutrient profile of their foods. These are small steps, admittedly, and perhaps the cynics will be justified in sniffing that these are more public relations moves than a genuine interest in improving the diet of a very large planet. But steps, no matter how small, are still steps that offer employment for many good cooks and culinary school graduates.

So, how can you get in on this? How do you get started?

Decide which specific sector of the vast, ever-expanding food and hospitality field appeals to you, and make a goal to join it. For instance, Sodexo and Aramark have employees working worldwide in institutional foodservice, sports stadiums and facilities of every kind. Their customers are seeking fast yet healthy choices.

Check out the Web sites of companies known for promoting healthy, delicious foods, such as Wegmans, Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's.

Explore the employment opportunities in menu development for your local hospital and school systems. For instance, consider volunteering to teach a class of kids how to start their own school garden and develop recipes from their harvest.

Lastly, track down specific trade magazines, and check out the classified pages that list job openings.

These suggestions are merely a start. You will find your own way. Whether you agree or disagree with the new health care reform, there are food job opportunities to seize.

Irena Chalmers is a columnist for Chef Magazine and a Culinary Institute of America faculty member. Her latest book is Food Jobs: 150 Great Jobs for Culinary Students, Career Changers and Food Lovers.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

AACC's culinary team defends Chesapeake
Culinary Cup title

The junior culinary team at the Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute last month defended its title as the Chesapeake Culinary Cup champion at an American Culinary Federation culinary competition hosted by AACC. This year's Chesapeake Culinary Cup consisted of plated poultry, fish, game and dessert plates and a celebration cakes competition.

Participating against AACC's team were student teams from the Art Institute of Washington, Arlington, Va., which placed third; Baltimore International College, Baltimore, Md.; and Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts of Pittsburgh, which placed second.

(l to r) Anne Arundel Community College culinary competitors Wes Tise, Drew Parassio and Samantha Elmorem; judge Elena Clement, CEPC; team members Chris Willis and Chris Galankis; lead judge Gunther Heiland, CMPC, AAC; judge Curtis Eargle, CEC, AAC; team coach Shawn Harlan, CEC, CHE; and judge Robert Meitzer, CEC, AAC

Monday, May 10, 2010

Extended Q&A with Buckingham Vocational Center's Sandra Hawk

by Maggie Shea, Chef Educator Today

Editors' note: A portion of the following Q&A was featured in the "Small-town school wins big" article (page 22) that appeared in the Spotlight department of the Summer 2010 issue of Chef Educator Today.

Shortly after publication of the Summer issue of CET, Buckingham County Vocational Center's culinary team competed against students from 38 other states and territories in the National ProStart Invitational in Overland Park, Kan. The team prepared a menu of deep-fried rock oyster stuffed a crab cake in a panko crust, orange glaze butterfly-cut breast of chicken, rice pilaf, white wine steamed broccoli with red peppers and almonds and a cinnamon pecan gelato in a chocolate bowl (pictured, left).

While the team didn't win, their coach and Virginia's ProStart Teacher of the Year Sandra Hawk says they learned a lot and overcame a few mishaps that will help them prepare for next year's state and national competitions.

"Some of our product froze in the fridge I rented so we had to replace it, the burners wouldn't light so the judges had to replace them, costing us time, but they didn't give us a time allowance, our gelato wouldn't set up completely, and the team captain cut his finger during the last 10 minutes," she says. "But it is like I told the kids: In real foodservice, this happens and you have to think on your feet!

"Even though we didn't win this time, we learned a lot about what the national judges are looking for in a winning dish. We'll nail it next time for sure!"

(front, l to r) Conley Lawrence, coach/instructor Sandra Hawk and Quenton Bolden (back, l to r) Jessica Davies, Josclyn Haskins and Heather Jacobs (Photo courtesy of Sue Miles)

Buckingham County in central Virginia, with a population of less than 16,000, isn't known for much beyond church socials and delicious fried chicken. This February, Buckingham Vocational Center put the county on the map when the school's culinary team took first place in the Virginia ProStart Student Invitational to secure a spot to compete in Nationals in Overland Park, Kan., at the end of April. In March, while the student competitors prepared for the event, tweaking recipes, knife skills and techniques, CET caught up with their coach and 2010 ProStart Teacher of the Year Sandra Hawk to talk about their thrilling ride.

CET: Your team's score was one of the highest ever recorded in the Virginia state competition. What was it? How many teams did you compete against?
Hawk: We scored a 90.4! I was very proud of this accomplishment because it demonstrated the dedication my students put into their menu. Twelve schools from all over the commonwealth were present at the state competition.

What was your strategy for preparing the students for the state competition? You're not allowed to create a menu for them, right?
Hawk: That's correct. Once the team is chosen, they begin brainstorming sessions to come up with the perfect menu. A lot of this is trial and error, but once the final menu is chosen, it's practice, practice, practice! This particular team decided to start from scratch. I've had teams take pieces from each menu, but this team wanted to come up with a different menu. So we met after school starting back in January. They had three meetings and finally decided which menu they would go with. Then they would make something and adjust a recipe as they were going along. We were [off school] for 10 days because of "Snowmaggedon" here in Virginia, so the state competition was pushed back for one month, which really helped. The snow gave us an additional three weeks to practice. They had it down so well by that time that they could almost really do it in their sleep. A lot of times when they would come in, I would have a case of 12 chickens ready for them and would give them 30 minutes to [break them down]. So they had to be fast and correct. I'm trying to simulate what they would have to do in a restaurant. You don't have 30 minutes to break down a chicken in a restaurant.

CET: How are you prepping the students for the national competition? Do you have a strategy?
Hawk: We are employing the same strategy for nationals we used for state--practice, practice, practice. After spring break, we will practice four days a week until national competition.

The culinary team strategizes during the Virginia ProStart competition

CET: What have been the biggest challenges of coaching the ProStart team?
Hawk: Finances! Competition is expensive. With the budget cuts in education Virginia is experiencing, programs are struggling to find money for beyond-the-classroom learning opportunities. Competitions, job shadowing and industry-related field trips all provide a real-world experience for my students and stay in their memory much longer than a two-hour lecture from me. Overall, we experienced over $1 million in cuts in Buckingham County. That's huge in a school system this size--our high school has a little over 600 kids. That trickles down to academic programs. I used to do all the catering for the school system, but the first thing we cut was catering. With the cuts in Virginia, there aren't additional dollars there to send kids to competitions, so we've had to raise these funds ourselves. We've done fundraisers, take-home dinners for teachers, sold t-shirts and cupcakes. We've had donations from the community, too. The community has really stepped forward. Aramark just sent us a check for $500. We are slowly but surely plucking away at it.

CET: Why do you think competition is an important part of students'--and professional chefs'--culinary development?
Hawk: I believe competition helps my students develop an ability to work calmly under pressure and learn time management--two skills that will serve them well in the professional kitchen.

The culinary team hard at work during the Virginia ProStart competition

I saw that you were voted ProStart Teacher of the Year for the state of Virginia. Congratulations! Can you tell me a bit about the award and how you were selected?
Hawk: Thanks. It is a huge honor to be chosen as Virginia's ProStart Teacher of the Year. In May, I will travel to Chicago with husband in tow to accept the award. I have also applied for the James H. Maynard Excellence in Education Award, which is $5,000 toward my culinary program. With the recent budget cuts in education, $5,000 would come in awfully handy! Rebecca Reamer, the ProStart coordinator for Virginia, contacted teachers and asked us to submit an essay explaining how we use ProStart in our classrooms, how we became involved in the program and a few success stories. When I started in 1999, I came right out of industry and right into classroom. I had 45 competencies that these kids had to learn in two years. I knew there had to be more than what they were giving me. I came across ProStart, which wasn't even an option for Virginia teachers at that time, and I said, "I think we need to look at this for our kids."

Two years later, the ProStart coordinator for Virginia came. When it was all said and done, Buckingham and nine other schools were chosen to be pilots for this program. I was one of the first teachers to industry certify in our school system. With ProStart, kids can go anywhere. Even though it doesn't mean a lot to the [foodservice] industry yet, they have the knowledge to be able to function when they walk in the door of a restaurant. And believe me, coming from industry, that is a blessing because you don't have time to train people.

My favorite student success story was of the former student who went into the Navy and on to be a chef at the White House for President Bush during his tour of duty. He is now going to get his degree in pastry arts at Johnson & Wales University. But from now on, my favorite story is going to be about the team that went to the National ProStart Competition!

(front, l to r) Coach/instructor Sandra Hawk and Josclyn Haskins (back, l to r) Conley Lawrence, Heather Jacobs, Jessica Davies and Quenton Bolden (Photo courtesy of Kelly Cummings)

CET: What are some of the larger career goals of the students on the culinary team? What do you hope they get out of participating in the competition?
Hawk: All plan to go to culinary college and then into the foodservice industry, either as chef/restaurant owners or as pastry chefs/bakery owners. Buckingham is a rural community, and I want more than anything to see my students excel in their chosen field. That means postsecondary education. College is expensive, so I want them to apply for and get every scholarship they can. And I want one of them to come back to Buckingham and take my place when I am ready to retire! I am so proud of these young people and all they have accomplished. It is rare to find 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds who know at that age what they want to do. At their age, I didn't have a clue. I backed into this business. That level of dedication at that young age is just amazing to me. It amazes me that they can walk into the kitchen and be as comfortable at 16 and 17 years old, and be so focused and on point. It blows me away every single day.

CET: So, are the students nervous about nationals?
Hawk: They're scared to death. They are so nervous. I gave them two weeks off, which includes their spring break. When we come back after spring break, it is going to be four days a week until competition. They have a thousand questions, and their moms and dads are having a thousand questions. None of them have ever flown, so their biggest fear is getting on an airplane. That includes my husband. Only [I have flown]. Even the parents are concerned. We are an hour away from civilization. We're country! That's why I think it's so amazing that we won. There are so many bigger schools. Then you have Buckingham--500, maybe 600 kids in the high school competing against schools that have 3,000 to 4,000 kids.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mignonette Trio recipe, featuring petite tender

Editors' note: This recipe accompanies "Versatile beef" (page 15) in the Summer issue of Chef Educator Today.

Mignonette Trio
Pan-roasted petite tender sliders with Port-Red Onion Relish and Blue Cheese Butter
Dave Zino, executive chef, National Cattlemen's Beef Association

Yield: 24 servings

72 4" diameter artisan rustic white dinner rolls
2 c. extra virgin olive oil
15 petite tenders*
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 c. canola oil
Port-Red Onion Relish (recipe follows)
Blue Cheese Butter (recipe follows)
15 bunches chives, cut the diameter of the rolls

Method (1) Using a 2.5" round pastry cutter or ring mold, press out circles from the rolls (you may need to use a paring knife to trace around the ring mold to pierce through the top crust). Then slice through the middle, making little hamburger buns. (2) In a large nonstick pan, heat 2 oz. olive oil over medium heat, and place the buns in the pan so that the insides of the buns are in contact with the pan. Cook until that side is crisp and golden, about 90 seconds. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all buns have been toasted. (3) Season petite tenders with salt and pepper, and pan roast with a little canola oil to desired doneness. Slice them all 1/8" thick. (4) Spread 1 heaping T. Port-Red Onion Relish on the bottom half of each roll. Place 2 slices of beef on each. Spread 1 T. Blue Cheese Butter on the toasted side of the tops, then affix chives to the Blue Cheese Butter, making sure to keep them all pointing in the same direction. Assemble sandwich. Line three on each rectangle plate, and serve.

Port-Red Onion Relish
1 t. canola oil
6 c. red onion, brunoise
2 fl. oz. rice vinegar
3 bottles (750 mL each) ruby port wine, of good quality
1/2 c. sugar

Method (1) Heat oil in a sauce pot over medium heat. Add onion, and sweat about 1 minute. (2) Add vinegar, and sweat 1 minute more until color is bled from the onions. Add port and sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce heat as low as it will go, and reduce until syrupy, about 2 hours. (3) Once it cools, this will tighten up dramatically. It is easier to err on the thick side and then thin it out with water once it has cooled down, rather than not reducing it enough and then having to reheat it later to reduce it further.

Blue Cheese Butter
1 lb. Blue d'Auvergne, room temperature
1/2 lb. butter, unsalted, softened
1/2 c. chives, minced
1 t. salt

Method (1) Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a rubber spatula, making sure to totally incorporate the butter. Bring to room temperature before serving.

* The petite tender is a tender, juicy muscle that rests on the beef shoulder near the top blade. It is versatile and upscale like beef tenderloin or filet mignon, but at check prices.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chai truffles recipe

Editors' note: This recipe was mentioned in the "Smooth as Ganache" article (page 21) of the Summer issue of Chef Educator Today.

Chai Truffles
Jenny Lewis, C.C.E., C.H.E, chef-instructor, Lexington College, Chicago

Batch size: 25.5 oz. (730 g.)

0.5 oz. (10 g.) chai tea blend*
1 vanilla bean, scraped
6 oz. (180 g.) heavy cream
Milk, as needed
2 oz. (60 g.) glucose syrup
16 oz. (460 g.) milk chocolate, tempered, chopped and unmelted
1 oz. (20 g.) softened butter
Cocoa powder, for rolling
Tempered milk or dark chocolate, as needed for finishing

Method (1) Place tea, vanilla bean and heavy cream in pot and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 5 minutes or until desired flavor. (2) Strain mixture through chinois or cheesecloth. Squeeze tea mixture to extract maximum flavors. (3) Re-scale mixture, and add milk to attain the cream original weight. (4) Add glucose syrup to the mixture, and bring to a simmer. (5) Pour hot mixture over chopped chocolate. (6) Stir from center of mixture outward, in circles, or use immersion blender until mixture blends. (7) Before adding butter, ensure mixture is thoroughly blended and emulsified. (8) Add softened butter into ganache, making sure no butter lumps remain. (9) Pour ganache into a hotel pan, and cover directly with plastic wrap to ensure no skin forms on the chocolate. (10) Cool at room temperature until slightly firm. (11) Pipe or scoop truffle balls. Allow to crystallize at room temperature until firm enough to handle. (12) Roll truffles by hand into round balls, using cocoa powder on your hands if to sticky. (13) Dip rolled balls into tempered milk or dark chocolate.

* Substitute other tea or tisanes (dried fruits, flowers and spices) to flavor your ganache.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Food and cooking podcasts for furthering student learning

by Chef Tom Beckman, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Chicago

Editors' note: This article was mentioned in "Podcasting in education" (page 16) of the Summer issue of Chef Educator Today.

For Tom Beckman's podcast, CHIC Podcast/This Week in Food, click the image above.

Five years ago, I was driving and heard a story on National Public Radio about shows that originate on the Internet. You could subscribe to them and get them on a regular basis. This intrigued me, and I listened to my first podcast that night. Since 2005, podcasting has exploded from a niche amateur market to mainstream commercial popularity. More than 100,000 different podcasts are now available. Here are a few food podcasts and video podcasts that I like and have been able to use in the classroom.

One of my favorite podcasts is The Splendid Table, with Lynne Rossetto Kasper. She has guests on her show that range from wine experts, cheese experts, food writers and chefs of every stripe. She also offers her own brand of food and cooking advice. She is quite professional and creative.

Cook's Illustrated, the quality cooking magazine, offers a video podcast on how to prepare entire dishes in just a few minutes. The dishes are fully explained, but they are so well edited that, for example, coq au vin can take just three minutes to demonstrate. Some cooking experience is suggested, but the lessons can be understood by anyone.

Hungry Nation aggregates several video food podcasts into one feed. A feed is how the podcasts are transmitted through the Web to the eventual listeners or viewers. Hungry Nation consists of Working Class Foodies, Vendr TV, 12 Second Cocktails and many more. They are not done by professionals but are done in a professional manner. They are all video podcasts. A teacher may want to bring in a projector to show video podcasts in the classroom.

The very best video podcast has to be Sky Full of Bacon. Sure, it has a weird name, but host Michael Gebert produces each podcast like a good magazine show. He has done shows on sustainable fish, pie making, good eating in the country and how an entire pig can be fully used. Each show is packed with information about chefs and their food.

Do you have a favorite food podcast that you use in your classroom to further student learning? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Deconstructed fruit and yogurt recipe

Editors' note: This recipe accompanies "The avant-garde kitchen" (page 20) of the Summer issue of Chef Educator Today.

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
"Caviar" of fruit purée and yogurt on granola
Chef Jim McGuinness

1,000 g. water
50 g. sugar
5 g. sodium alginate
7 g. calcium lactate
225 g. fruit purée
225 g. yogurt
zest of half a lemon
Granola (recipe follows)

Method (1) Bring the water to a boil with the sugar. Place 800 g. of the water/sugar mix in to a blender. Reserve the remaining 100 g. simple syrup for the fruit and yogurt preps. With the blender running, gradually sprinkle in the sodium alginate. Strain the mix through a chinois, and add the remaining water/sugar solution. Let the mix rest for 30 minutes to settle and clear. (2) For the fruit, heat 50 g. simple syrup, and add the calcium lactate. Stir into the fruit purée. (3) For the yogurt, mix together remaining 50 g. simple syrup with yogurt and lemon zest. (4) To make caviar, simply take tablespoons of the fruit and yogurt mixture, and tip into the prepared alginate bath. Let them "cook" for 1-2 minutes before removing, then rinse in room-temperature water. The spheres can be held for service in simple syrup, juice or diluted purée. (5) To serve, plate fruit and yogurt caviar on top of Granola, and serve with a sauce if desired.

140 g. rolled oats
100 g. almonds, coarsely chopped
50 g. walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 t. salt
50 g. apple butter
40 g. maple syrup
1/2 T. walnut oil

Method (1) Combine all the ingredients to coat. (2) Bake on a sheet pan at 350°F, stirring occasionally until golden and toasted. Cool before using.

Monday, May 3, 2010

President Clinton named honorary chancellor of Laureate Universities

President Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the United States and founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation, has accepted the role of honorary chancellor of Laureate International Universities, the global network of private universities. In this role, Clinton will advise this group of universities--which includes Kendall College of Chicago, Switzerland's Les Roches International School of Hotel Management and Australia's Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School--in areas such as social responsibility, youth leadership and increasing access to higher education. He will also encourage civic engagement and youth leadership on important social issues during his appearances at university campuses and in print and online messages to the nearly 600,000 students in the Laureate network.

"Last year I had the opportunity to visit Laureate's universities in Spain, Brazil and Peru to speak to students, faculty and the communities that they serve," said President Clinton in a statement. "These private universities exemplify the same principles of innovation and social responsibility in education that we worked to advance during my presidency and now through my foundation, and I am pleased to support their mission to expand access to higher education, particularly in the developing world."

Chatting with FENI's 2010 Postsecondary Educator of the Year Rolando Robledo

Editors' note: A portion of the following interview was featured in the "Meet FENI's Educators of the Year" article (pages 12 and 13) that appeared in the FENI wrap-up section of the Summer 2010 issue of Chef Educator Today.

Chef Rolando Robledo, assistant professor of culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I., is the 2010 Foodservice Educators Network International (FENI) Postsecondary Educator of the Year. Here, he talks with CET about some of his accomplishments at JWU in his six years as an educator there.

(l to r) FENI executive director Daniel von Rabenau presents chef Rolando Robledo with a plaque during the FENI Summit in February*

CET: Talk a little about your efforts to integrate sustainability into JWU through the Green Collaborative.
Robledo: I was one of the founders of the Green Collaborative, a student organization we started about three years ago. I got together with a few other instructors to help start it. I thought of it because I had students coming up to me with complaints about the food industry and also about the university. So my idea was to give students a platform through which they could take action. So if they want, for example better recycling at the university, more local food in the dining hall, if they want better light bulbs in the dormitories, water conservation measures in kitchens and culinary labs, through Green Collaborative they can gather a larger voice.

CET: How have you implemented new technologies into your curriculum? Why is it so important to you?
Robledo: I believe that all of our culinary students are very hands on, and a lot of times they get funneled through the educational system--elementary school through high school--and find themselves attracted to more tactile areas. And a lot of them just have that wiring that they're not comfortable sitting at a desk. I know that a lot of our students see things more visually. So if I can enhance the delivery of the education through visual means to support the curriculum, it will only facilitate the learning. So I have many layers I do. A lot of it is video, photos and sketches. I might show a video or sketch something to get the idea in their heads. Then I'll demonstrate it myself, so it's not the first time they're seeing it--they have something to base it on. So they're able to absorb it easier. Then after I demonstrate it, whether it's the next day or after, I might show another video or sketch of the same idea to cement it in their brains. And from there, it's their turn to demonstrate it themselves. So it's a very sophisticated layering of preview, demonstrate, review and then almost like a practical exam. I enrich the education with technology. I'm making it easier and more accessible to them. It's a supplement to textbook. I also use online materials, sometimes as simple as YouTube. As much as I can engage with the students I do because I find they can get more excited because they're already wired. It's as much about the education as just getting their interest.

CET: Another use of technology I heard about was that you created a Facebook page for your mentees. How does that work?
Robledo: I've sent a lot of students out into the industry, and I always tell my students, "One of the most important things you can do is develop a network." I thought a good idea would be if for example, I had a student I mentored five years ago, and I thought, "Well maybe if he's a chef and he's looking for a good cook, what if I developed a network of all of my own mentees that they can tap into themselves through Facebook?" So I invite all of them to the same group, and if they want to talk to each other and put out a job request or maybe if they're looking for a job themselves, they can ask that group first. It's sort of a contrived network. And students take advantage of it.

CET: Why do you think it's so important for people in foodservice to have mentors?
Robledo: I think it's phenomenal--super important. I didn't really have mentors per se, and that's why I'm really adamant about doing it because I didn't have one, and I feel like it would have been very different for me. I did have people that I aspired to be like in the industry, so they motivated me, but I wasn't under their wing. I was very successful in my career, but I had to figure things out on my own. Trying to navigate this industry was tremendously difficult. Every step along the way, all those decisions were made by me, which is commendable in some ways, but I look at it as it shouldn't have been that way. So I try to advise them, groom them and prepare them so when they get to the industry they're able to jump over those hurdles a little easier and they can find success.

CET: What are some of the ways you stay up to date with the foodservice industry?
Robledo: I try to stay involved in different events. I've done volunteer events. I also do stages here and there. This past fall, I staged at Alinea, just to get my hands dirty. I also went to San Francisco recently where we did a whole tour of different coffee roasters for [my vegetarian fast-food concept] Clover and also because I'm interested in it anyway. I really try to stay current. About two years ago, I did an event with chef Chris Cosentino in New York City. It was a big deal for Chris, and it was the first time I worked in New York City since I left New York City. I've been to New York many times since then, but working in the city brought back a lot of those feelings and kind of made me miss it. I realized I wanted to get back in the kitchen. It's been about two years that I've been cooking again.

CET: How did it feel to be named FENI Postsecondary Educator of the Year?
Robledo: Amazing--I was honored and humbled by the experience. I felt recognized, which is really important for me. A lot of what I do, and a lot of what I'm passionate about, is outside of the classroom. I do some things with my philosophy of teaching as well, but a lot of my advising time is outside my personal time. So sometimes I don't get recognized for that at school, but it's super important to me so I do it on my own, and it's really what satisfies me. I definitely have several students at any given time who come after class, and I'll run them through skills like knife skills. I'll push them to a level so that I can feel comfortable when I send them to a restaurant that they're going to do well. A lot of it is grooming them and preparing them on how to think, how to act and how to be professional. This year I fooled around with a molecular gastronomy club. I had a group of students come in a classroom setting. We would do a lecture about a technique, have four or five students demonstrate it themselves and then everyone in the class would go away from there with an understanding of that concept. Honestly, I do a lot of it for me. I get a lot of satisfaction out of it because I want to help. It makes me feel good, like I'm giving back. The best person that could ever tell how hard I work is the maintenance guy who closes up the building because he's there all the time, and I'm often the only one who's still there.

*Photo courtesy of Eric Futran

Chatting with FENI's 2010 Secondary Educator of the Year Ana Plana

Editor's note: A portion of the following interview was featured in the "Meet FENI's Educators of the Year" article (pages 12 and 13) that appeared in the FENI wrap-up section of the Summer 2010 issue of Chef Educator Today.

Chef Ana Plana, culinary arts teacher at Maritime and Science Technology (MAST) Academy in Key Biscayne, Fla., is the 2010 Foodservice Educators Network International (FENI) Secondary Educator of the Year. Plana has been teaching ninth through 12th graders at MAST Academy since 2007. Here, she talks with CET about some of her accomplishments and goals.

FENI executive director Daniel von Rabenau presents chef Ana Plana with a plaque during the FENI Summit in February*

CET: Tell me about your work as the school's only food production and event-planning instructor. You and your students cater most of the school's events, right?
Plana: Our school is in Key Biscayne so it's right on the water. The back of the school has a beautiful view of downtown Miami, so many people in the district like to have meetings there. The rotary club will have their annual breakfast at our school, or we'll help with senior awards night or the junior class ring ceremony. So they'll come and ask if we can do the event and my event-planning class will interview whoever is trying to coordinate the event. My students will ask, "What do you need? How many people? What's your budget?" And then my event-planning class will create a menu, staff the kitchen and front of house for the event, and based on that, they'll get a grade for their menu. I'll give them extra credit or community service hours when the events are after school at night or really early in the morning.

CET: How does the event-planning class help prepare students for their careers?
Plana: The first few classes they don't really know what to do, so I'm their mentor, I'm their guide. But soon after that, I really like them to figure it out. If something is not working, I like them to problem-solve. For example, if the coffee maker is not working, what should we do? The easiest thing is to ask Ms. Plana what to do. But then I throw it right back at them and ask, "What are our options? What can we do?" Because even if only a small percentage of the students go to culinary school, they'll all need to know leadership and problem-solving and critical thinking. That's important. These things happen all the time in catering and the food world so you have to be able to think quick on your toes.

CET: How did you get the grant from Slow Food to launch the organic garden at MAST? Why is this important to you?
Plana: That was a contact that I have as part of Les Dames d'Escoffier [International]. She is one of the founding members of Slow Food. At one of our meetings she was talking about this organic garden she was providing for a school, then I approached her and asked what I would need to do to have that for our students. And I wrote a letter requesting a grant, and we got it. Having the organic garden is great because, for example, this week we are doing fresh pasta. And [the students] went out to the garden and pulled the basil, and we made pesto. We also had carrots, fresh tomatoes, arugula and mixed greens that were ready, so we had a fresh salad. They made fresh raviolis, and they julienned the basil and did a garlic-butter sauce. It's really cool because they put the seeds in, and now they're pulling the carrots!

CET: You've worked in many different capacities within the foodservice industry. What is most gratifying about teaching culinary students? Do you keep in touch with them after they leave?
Plana: I never thought I'd be a teacher, ever. And it is just so rewarding to see them grasp different things. Sometimes we take it for granted how to cook and prepare food. It is so cool to see them learn how things work and know that I had a part in that.

One of my [former] students takes care of my younger son in after-care at his school. She asked me for a letter of recommendation when she graduated. I sent it to her, and the school hired her. Now she watches my son there! And I have her sister now in class, which is cool. This year, I have three students going into culinary arts, so it's exciting to see that they want to take that path. They've been fortunate enough to get a lot of grants and scholarships. A lot of them thought they couldn't afford to go to Johnson & Wales [University], but they're getting the support to make it happen.

CET: How did it feel to win FENI Secondary Educator of the Year? How will this award help you in your own growth and career development?
Plana: That night when they called me up to accept the award, I was in awe. I couldn't believe I was up there in front of all these people who were so talented, and I got picked. And I couldn't say anything! I have [the plaque] in my classroom to show all my students that even at my age you can keep trying to improve and make a difference.

We go to a lot of different conferences and meetings during the year, but I definitely want to keep going to the FENI Summit because this one in particular I found to be very helpful. I am still a relatively new teacher--just three years in--and I learned so much about how you can express how to do something in so many different ways. I want to make sure I keep getting funds from our school through Pell grants or Perkins because it is important that they send us every year because it is so beneficial.

CET: What's next for you? Don't you want to start doing student competitions at MAST?
Plana: This June, my portfolio is due for my permanent [teaching] certificate. After that, I will be hoping to get my master's in teaching. The rules have changed and they want you to have a master's to teach dual enrollment. And then funding is a big problem in Dade County, so I'm trying to see next year if they'll let me go back to having [Family Career and Community Leaders of America]. So hopefully next year, they'll let me put it back on and then we can start doing competitions so students can win scholarship money.

*Photo courtesy of Eric Futran