Friday, October 29, 2010

Bradley named CIA's board chairman

Richard Bradley, chairman of Bradley Holdings Ltd., was elected the 16th chairman of the board of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at the college's annual meeting on Oct. 14. Additionally, chef Thomas Keller and Martin Sutter were appointed to the college's Board of Trustees.

Bradley (pictured, above) has served as chairman and president of Victoria Station as well as owner-operator of 105 restaurants in the U.S., Canada, and Japan. Bradley Holdings invests in venture capital transactions, commercial real estate, hotels and restaurants. Bradley succeeds Cameron Mitchell, president and founder of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, who served two years as CIA chairman.

Keller holds multiple three-star Michelin Guide ratings with The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., and Per Se in New York City. He is also chef/owner of Ad Hoc in Yountville, Bouchon in Yountville and Las Vegas, and Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, Las Vegas, and New York City.
award-winning chef/restaurateur Thomas Keller

Sutter is a founding managing director of Essex Woodlands Health Ventures, one of the oldest and largest healthcare-focused venture capital organizations.

Martin Sutter, founding managing director of Essex Woodland Health Ventures

The CIA Board of Trustees consists of 25 highly respected leaders in the foodservice industry and business world.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Midwest State of the Plate teaches sustainable food production

On Nov. 17 the Midwest's inaugural State of the Plate conference will take place in Chicago to educate chef-instructors, students and foodservice professionals about creating a more sustainable food supply. The one-day event will take place at Harold Washington Library and Robert Morris University's Institute of Culinary Arts.

The conference aims to help those in the foodservice industry better understand the current model of meat production and the differences among various methods, farmers and distributors. It will feature local farmers and Midwest companies that serve the industry.

For more information or to register, visit Sponsors and supporters include the Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op, Green City Market, Family Farmed, Kendall College, Robert Morris University and Chefs Collaborative.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Changing the perception of the 'college cafeteria'

Contributed by Marsha Lynch, The Dining Room at Gardiner Point Residence Hall, Sullivan University

Since the moment in the 1978 film "Animal House" when John Belushi's character yelled, "Food fight!" the concept of the college cafeteria has been cemented in the American psyche. Acres of dingy linoleum featuring ranks of communal trestle-tables with bench seating. Bland, poorly cooked food glopped onto compartmented plastic trays by grouchy matrons in hairnets and polyester. Mystery meat; cold, gray vegetables; lumpy mashed potatoes topped with lumpier gravy; and lots of green Jell-O.

Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky., has broken the stereotype with its new $7 million facility, The Dining Room at Gardiner Point Residence Hall. Sullivan is home to the National Center for Hospitality Studies (NCHS), one of the leading culinary arts and hospitality management schools in the country. The Gardiner Point Residence Hall, a converted fully flagged and operating hotel situated near Sullivan's main campus, its College of Pharmacy and the Sullivan College of Technology and Design campus, opened in the summer of 2010.

"I saw this 138,000-square-foot hotel resort property overlooking a lake and adjacent to corporate campus of the World Headquarters of Yum! Brands as a wonderful resident hall opportunity," says Dr. A.R. Sullivan, Sullivan chancellor.

With living space for over 400 freshmen students, Gardiner Point is a state-of-the-art university residential facility that includes a large fitness center, onsite convenience store, gaming rooms, a heated swimming pool, a movie theater, a mezzanine level filled with computer study kiosks--and then there's The Dining Room.

Table with a view in The Dining Room

"We envisioned The Dining Room as a quality restaurant featuring fresh-made food of the highest quality in an 'all-you-can-eat' environment matching the quality of our world-class culinary program. I think we surpassed that quest," Sullivan adds.

Entering The Dining Room from the rear of the marble-floored lobby, one sees yards of granite countertops and seven glass-fronted action stations (much of the cooking is done right in front of the guests). The space has an array of seating choices: banquettes line one wall; two tops, four tops and eight tops are sprinkled across the parquet flooring; a raised area runs along a full wall of mullioned windows overlooking a brick patio filled with wrought-iron tables and chairs, adjacent to a small lake populated by waterfowl. A cozy furniture grouping on a carpeted area faces a large fireplace over which is mounted an equally large flat-screen television. Myriad liquid refreshments jostle for attention from the beverage counter. A large soup and salad bar nestles comfortably as an island amidst the tables and chairs.

There are no polyester-clad food service workers here; the cooks and chefs (a mix of students and graduates who receive wages above the industry standard) wear white chef's jackets and crisp white aprons as they move about the room efficiently, reflected in the expanses of stainless-steel fixtures. The food is served on real china with real flatware.

The pizza station features a chef tossing house-made crusts and loading them with gourmet toppings to be baked in two large ovens with built-in pizza stone floors. An induction-cooking station offers made-to-order eggs and omelets during breakfast or pasta dishes during lunch and dinner. The grill station provides college-student favorites such as burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, grilled cheese sandwiches, potato and sweet-potato fries, fried green beans, fried pickles and chicken wings with house-made hot sauce--not to mention Belgian blueberry waffles and chocolate chip pancakes during morning service.

Pizzas with house-made crusts on display in The Dining Room

There's a steam table section that rotates high-end food offerings three times a day; a deli station with made-to-order sandwiches and a dual panini press; a carving station where a chef carves to-order prime rib, roast turkey, smoked brisket, glazed ham and more, with sauce wells for demi-glace or house-made gravy. An elaborate dessert station is stocked with baked goods and desserts from The Bakery at Sullivan--muffins, breakfast pastries, cupcakes, pies, cakes and cookies. A soft-serve ice cream machine dispenses luscious dessert toppings or cones, if you’re so inclined.

The Dining Room is the realization of the design of chef Tom Hickey, a Culinary Oympics medal winner and director of Sullivan's NCHS; and Scott Stromer, executive director of food and beverage for the Sullivan University System. In addition to The Dining Room, Stromer (formerly a chef for Hyatt Hotels, vice president and corporate executive chef of the Dial Corp., and executive director of food and beverage operations at Michigan State University) manages The Bakery, Julep's Catering, Winston's Restaurant and the Ala Carte Café at Sullivan's main campus with the assistance of multiple department managers and their staffs.

"It was always our plan for The Dining Room to set trends in university food service that others would want to follow," Stromer says. "For instance, the food and baked goods we serve are all house-made, from scratch. In addition, we constantly monitor the residents' eating habits and solicit their input for menu changes. Communicating and even collaborating to some degree with your guests is crucial; you must be focused on their needs. We also strive to be detail-oriented, evaluating and re-evaluating recipe formulations so that we're always improving our menu offerings and exceeding expectations. Our watchwords for profitable growth are 'consistency, color, variety and flavor combinations.'"

(l to r) The author, Marsha Lynch, sous chef at Gardiner Point; Scott Stromer, executive director of food and beverage for the Sullivan University System; and Tyson Long, sous chef for Sullivan University's Juleps Catering, which also has its headquarters at Gardiner Point

But it's not just about the bottom line; it's also about the students. Stromer says he is passionate about the educational component of university foodservice, mentoring and coaching his staff. "Our Sullivan students and graduates who work at The Dining Room are molding the industry," he says,"“and we are always learning something new from one another. It's exciting to watch people grow and develop their cooking and other professional skills on a daily basis."

Marsha Lynch is the sous chef at The Dining Room at Gardiner Point Residence Hall, Sullivan University, Louisville, Ky.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Burpee opens school garden contest

Burpee Home Gardens is now accepting applications for the 2011 "I Can Grow" Youth Garden Award, created to sponsor and support urban school and community gardens in cities across the country.

The 2011 Youth Garden Awards will be presented to established or start-up programs that demonstrate well-developed and staffed plans for a youth-centered educational program, with an emphasis on nutrition and food production, environmental awareness, social responsibility and scholastic integration. The winners will be awarded up to 500 vegetable and herb plants and $2,500 in garden supplies. They also will receive on-site assistance for initial garden layout and installation from Burpee Home Gardens experts, five gallons of Daniels Plant Food sustainable fertilizer, a hose-end sprayer and a Flip camera to document the garden's progress throughout the year.

Educators can visit to download the application and read eligibility requirements. All entries must be postmarked by Dec. 3.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CIA expands San Antonio campus

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has opened its newly expanded third campus in San Antonio, Texas, as part of the school's El Sueño initiative to promote Latino diversity in the foodservice industry.

CIA--San Antonio managing director David Kellaway, CIA president Dr. Tim Ryan and Texas philanthropist Kit Goldsbury at the grand opening event for the college's expanded Texas campus*

The campus expansion includes three new teaching kitchens, two skills kitchens and a special Latin kitchen to support the college's 30-week culinary arts certificate program currently offered in San Antonio. The CIA's San Antonio campus was created in 2007 through a private gift from philanthropist Kit Goldsbury. For more information about the expanded campus, visit

*Photo courtesy of The CIA/Darren Abate

Friday, October 15, 2010

Stratford culinary students win MLA competition

At the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Food, Beverage and Lodging Expo on Oct. 6 to 7, the culinary and hospitality team at Stratford University won a silver medal at the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Black Box Competition. They also took first place in the dessert competition. The team from Stratford was the only student team competing. All other teams were made up of professional chefs.

(l to r) Competition judge David Soto, team member Clark Edwards, Stratford coach chef Vaishali Chitnis, team member Perry Baldwin, team member Kortni Benson-Gehlert, event organizer Stephen Edwards and judge and organizer Alan Palmer

The team, led by chef Vaishali Chitnis, included Perry Baldwin, Kortni Benson-Gehlert, Clark Edwards, Craig Baker, Joseph Lipinski, and Daryl Hall.

(l to r) Stratford team members Kortni Benson-Gehlert and Clark Edwards prep the MLA Black Box Competition menu

At the MLA Black Box Competition, each team was given one hour to create a menu from 18 mandatory ingredients and 10 optional mystery ingredients that included an appetizer, main course and dessert to be presented to a panel of judges. The Stratford team's menu included: lamb chop with salad Napolean, Wagyu beef and crab surf and turf, and wine-poached pear entremet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sullivan students help at Alltech World Equestrian Games

Students from Sullivan University's National Center for Hospitality Studies (NCHS) supported visiting and local chefs during the Cookin' in the Bluegrass Celebrity Chef Dinner Series at the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games. (Pictured, left: Matthew Williams, chef ambassador, Sullivan University NCHS, VIP Kitchen for Maker's Mark)

Thirty students from the school's Lexington campus cooked at the dinners, which included such visiting celebrity chefs as John Besh, Frank Brigtsen and Mike Lata. The series, which took place Sept. 25 to Oct. 10, was presented by the James Beard Foundation.

For more information, visit

Monday, October 11, 2010

Koetke receives inaugural Pathfinder Award for sustainability

At the 2010 Chefs Collaborative Sustainability Awards Dinner on Oct. 4, Christopher Koetke, MBA, CEC, CCE, dean of Kendall College School of Culinary Arts and vice president of the Laureate International Universities Centers of Excellence in Culinary Arts, received the organization's inaugural Pathfinder Award for raising awareness of the importance of sustainability in the foodservice industry. (Pictured l to r: Cathleen Mandigo, Anolon Cookware; Christopher Koetke; and Chefs Collaborative executive director Melissa Kogut)

The Pathfinder Award recognizes leaders who are catalysts for change in the food industry beyond the kitchen. Koetke was chosen from among a group of nominees including Felede Bauccio of Bon Appétit Management Co., Palo Alto, Calif.; Karen Jurgensen of the Seattle Culinary Academy; Jon Rowley of Taylor Shellfish Farms, Seattle; Lyndon Virkler of New England Culinary Institute, Montpelier, Vt.; and Alec Webb and Megan Camp of Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, Vt.

For more information, visit

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Delcastle students win first in The Farmer and The Chef competition

At the third annual The Farmer & The Chef fundraiser/competition in Wilmington, Del., last month, Delcastle High School culinary students took first place along with their farm-partners Blair View Farm and Kalmar Farm. Their winning recipe was Blair View Farm tilapia with Kalmar Farm vegetables.

The competition paired up local chefs with local farmers to create tasting samples for attendees using the farmers' product. All proceeds from the event--which was presented by March of Dimes, the New Castle County Buy From Your Neighbor Program and the Delaware Department of Agriculture--went to March of Dimes.

This was Delcastle's third year participating, after taking third place overall at last year's competition. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

CIA pastry instructor third in U.S. selections for World Chocolate Masters

Stephen Durfee, pastry chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, St. Helena, Calif., took third place in the U.S. national selections for the 2011 World Chocolate Masters competition. The two-day chocolate showpiece and chocolate dessert competition took place during the International Baking Industry Exposition and was organized by Barry Callebaut.

Sylvain Bortolini, assistant executive pastry chef at the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas, took first place and was named U.S. National Chocolate Master 2010. Bortolini will represent the United States at the World Chocolate Masters competition in Paris next fall. Frederic Loraschi, chocolatier and owner of Chocolat Frederic Loraschi, Hummelstown, Pa., won second place and a special award for "Best Tasting."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 'Culinary Nutrition News' tackles foodborne illness

From eggs to spinach to peanut butter, common kitchen ingredients can easily be contaminated, leading to foodborne illnesses. The October issue of "Culinary Nutrition News: Preventable Foodborne Illnesses?" explains causes of foodborne illness, examines several recent cases and offers chefs tips on how to avoid an outbreak. The article, presented by the American Culinary Federation Chef & Child Foundation (CCF) and Clemson University, Clemson, S.C., is now available for download at

Author Margaret Condrasky, R.D., CCE, of Clemson University, outlines common types of bacteria that cause foodborne illness and how they are transmitted, from raw or undercooked meat to contaminated water. In addition, the article offers foodservice professionals tips on how to avoid contamination, such as wash hands, utensils and cutting boards before and after contact with raw meat and use a food thermometer.

The American Culinary Federation's Chef & Child Foundation and Clemson University partnered in May 2009 to offer a series of monthly articles designed to bridge the nutrition gap for chefs by providing up-to-date research information. Upcoming topics include genetically modified foods and quality carbohydrates.

Monday, October 4, 2010

L'Academie named one of top 53 businesses in Maryland

The Gazette of Politics and Business selected L'Academie de Cuisine, Gaithersburg, Md., as one of the 53 most exceptional businesses and organizations in the state of Maryland. The award program, now in its third year, was created by The Gazette P&B to acknowledge the top 53 Maryland businesses and organizations based on criteria such as annual revenue and employee growth, noteworthy product or service innovations, community service efforts, how they've weathered the economic downturn and how they've portrayed themselves as good places to work.

L'Academie de Cuisine was recognized for its exceptional growth during the last three years as well as its community service programs including cooking classes and dinners, collaboration with Montgomery County Public Schools, American Heart Association--Hearts Delight event, Best Buddies International, DC Central Kitchen--Capital Food Fight, Heart of America Foundation--Sweet Charity, Share our Strength--Operation Frontline, innovation in developing an evening professional culinary arts program, and expanding the scope of recreational cooking classes based on the economy of the past few years.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Calif. grapes recipe contest: One month left!

The deadline is approaching for the The California Table Grape Commission's 2010 Foodservice Chef's Recipe Contest. Chef-educators have until Nov. 1 to submit entries featuring California grapes to

The top three winners will each receive cash prizes and national publicity for their recipes. Suggested categories include starters, small plates, entrées, salads, sides and desserts.

For contest rules and entry forms, visit