Monday, February 28, 2011

Michelin star chef shares advice with CIA at Greystone graduates

Richard Reddington, executive chef and partner of Redd restaurant in Yountville, CA, addressed 18 graduates at commencement ceremonies at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone last month.

Richard Reddington addresses graduates of the AOS degree program at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. (Photo Credit: Charles Gesell/CIA)
 "Enjoy this education," said Reddington. "You are lucky to have been here. Work hard, stay focused, and good things will come your way."

Reddington has been named a "rising star" by the San Francisco Chronicle, was included on the "Chefs to Watch" list for Esquire magazine, and was nominated as Best Chef Pacific 2008 by the James Beard Foundation. Under his leadership, Redd has received a Michelin star in the most recent San Francisco edition of the guide, and the restaurant has been acclaimed by critics and customers alike since it opened in 2005.

"As you go forward, it's good to find mentors," Reddington advised. "Ask a lot of questions and listen to the advice."

Reddington credits his own success to his mentors, including Wolfgang Puck and Daniel Boulud. Working in the kitchens of high-profile restaurants such as Pâtisserie François, Postrio, Park Avenue Café, Rubicon, Spago Beverly Hills, Jardinière, and Auberge du Soleil gave him the opportunity to meet powerful mentors who helped him reach his career goals.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sonnenschmidt & Reynolds are Honored with Top FENI Award for Excellence

Congratulations to Fritz H. Sonnenschmidt & William N. Reynolds for receiving FENI's top honor award for excellence at the 13th annual FENI Educators Summit.

The inscription on the crystal medallion reads: Recognition of your outstanding contributions to culinary development and education. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

FENI Summit - Info Fair Video Preview

FENI Educators Summit 2011 Video Preview of the Info Fair

Friday, February 18, 2011

The 13th Annual FENI Educator Summit is NOW in Full Swing

CET would like to welcome everyone who will be attending this year's FENI Summit. Keep an eye out for pictures and videos from the event.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Culinary contest to celebrate National Cherry Month

February is National Cherry Month, and the Cherry Marketing Institute is calling all culinary enthusiasts – professionals, students and novices alike – to celebrate the versatility, taste and year-round availability of this powerful fruit by sharing an original tart cherry recipe in the first-ever Powered by Red Recipe Contest, which started on February 1. 
Three grand prize winners (one per category: professional, student and consumer) will win $500, a set of high-performance cookware in cherry red, and professional photography of their winning recipe!
The contest closes February 20, and the winners will be notified by March 1. Visit  for more details.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The French Pastry School's For the Love of Chocolate gala raises $70,000 in scholarships

The 6th annual For the Love of Chocolate Gala welcomed over 900 guests and raised over $70,000 in scholarships to benefit the students of The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at the City Colleges of Chicago. 

Dancing through the main entrance the DJ’s beats, guests were immediately greeted with a drink served by charming ladies in dresses made of lipstick-red cocktail napkins. This was Cocoa Candy Land, decorated with Willy Wonka colors, populated by delightfully quirky performers, and featuring the delectable Barry Callebaut chocolate bar.

Mouthwatering desserts in Cocoa Cuisine
Setting out to explore, the guests in Cocoa Candy Land would find chef contributors including Sara Lee Corporation, Boka, Whimsical Candy, Rare Bird Preserves, Nick’s Fishmarket & Grill, Julius Meinl, Le Flour Bakery, Marriott Hotel, and Hotel Sofitel.
Redmoon Theater's Marie Antoinette serves chocolate cake to guests
Also wandering through the event were two women fashioned as Marie Antoinette serving the guests chocolate cake from their magnificently-draped, table-sized dresses. The indulgent cake was made by Chef Sherry Yard of Spago, Wolfgang Puck’s famous Beverly Hills restaurant.
Just a step away was Cocoa Cuisine, a palace-like room sparkling with culinary jewels like Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill, Blackbird’s Paul Kahan and Patrick Fahy, Vie’s Paul Virant, Everest’s Jean Joho, Jason McLeod of Ria and Balsan, Graham Elliot’s Graham Elliot Bowles, Dave Danielson of Behind the Scenes Catering, the Peninsula’s Kai Lermen, and many others. Venturing on to the Cocoa Lounge, guests were entranced by the beguiling tones of a jazz chanteuse, the wildly popular Grand Marnier concoctions and sweet treats from Sweet Vee’s Laboratory.

Upon entering the exotic confines of Cocoa Sutra, guests were able to admire a grand culinary tapestry woven together by everything from Zarlengo’s Italian Ice to Labriola Bakery to Sweet Whimsy Pastry Shop. These gastronomic sensations were enhanced by hypnotizing Indo-Arabic rock that played while some guests sampled the fare, others relaxed in the hookah lounge and still others had their fortunes told by psychics.
Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sebastian Canonne, M.O.F. with Joe Trummer of Sara Lee Corporation, a sponsor of For the Love of Chocolate Foundation
The event was filled with local celebrities like Ginger Zee of NBC, Mai Martinez of CBS, Rochelle Vayo Adknison of WGN-TV, and Mrs. Illinois, all decked out in chocolate dresses designed by such Chefs as Chris Thielman from College of Dupage, Brady Braden of B True Bakery, Cheryl Brookhouzen of The Marriott, and Norm Miller of Normy’s Confection Connection.
The foundation and gala could not exist without the many generous sponsors and donors that make these grants possible for future students of the pastry arts. The seventh annual For the Love of Chocolate Gala, already in the planning process, will take place on February 4, 2012: mark your calendars now, and keep current with details on next year’s amazing event and the work of the eponymous foundation by visiting

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chefs of Tomorrow call-for-entries in Chicago grant program

The Chefs of Tomorrow™ grants, which began in 2008 and will total $20,000 over five years in recognition of Olson Communications’ 20th year of operations, will award $1,500 each to a high-school and college instructor annually through 2012. Additional grants will be made to local community-based programs that endeavor to alleviate hunger through education on food and nutrition.

Olson Communications has awarded several teachers to date and contributed to select community programs around the city. 2010 winner Laurette Stefani, chef/instructor at Robert Morris University’s Chicago campus, enjoyed an educational immersion in northern California foodways that included visits to Napa Valley growers, vintners and cheesemakers; farmers’ markets and cooperatives; and some of the nation’s highest-rated restaurants.

Through Olson Communications’ Chefs of Tomorrow™ grant program, foodservice instructors at Chicago-based schools may apply the grant toward such activities as conducting research for a book or master’s thesis, attending a hands-on workshop, embarking on a culinary tour abroad, or learning how to use computer applications more effectively in education delivery. In all cases, the professional-development activity must ultimately benefit student learning.

All who teach culinary, pastry and baking arts at accredited degree- or certificate-granting high schools and postsecondary schools (public and private) within Chicago’s city limits are eligible to apply for a Chefs of Tomorrow™ grant. Deadline to submit applications and supporting documents for 2011 is March 21, with awards announced in May. For an application or more information, contact Olson Communications at (312) 280-4573 or

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kendall College Hosted Global Culinary Competition for International Students

Culinary students from around the world visited the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts to prepare locally inspired dishes from their native countries in a global cooking competition on January 27 - 28. Teams from schools in seven countries and the Laureate International Universities Culinary Network joined Kendall College in this two-day competition.

Participating schools and countries included: Universidade Potiguar in Brazil; Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, Heredia; Universidad de Las Américas in Ecuador; Universidad del Valle de México (two teams); Royal Academy of Culinary Arts in Jordan; Universidad Interamericana de Panama; and Kendall College in the United States.
The group of student competitors 
National competitions were conducted at the various campuses throughout the past three months to determine the teams that would participate in the global competition. On Friday, the finalists had three hours to prepare for their high-end four-course meal for the following day. On Saturday, each team had an additional 2 ½ hours to finish their dishes and 30 minutes to serve all four courses to the judges. 
Chef Steve Jilleba, CMC, CCE, AAC, corporate executive chef for Unilever Foodsolutions North America and manager of Team USA in the Culinary Olympics, led the panel of judges. A competition veteran, Jilleba has garnered dozens of awards, including a handful from the American Culinary Federation and an impressive nine gold medals from various International Culinary Olympic competitions. The panel of judges also included Stephen J. Miller, CMC, vice president and chief operating officer for Midway Airport Concessionaires and a World Association of Chefs (WACS) approved judge; Chef Leo Waldmeier, retired executive chef of The Drake Hotel in Chicago; and Chef Carlos Gaytan, owner of Mexique in Chicago.

Kendall College team Alison Honiotes and Adam Harralson came in second with their entries that included a trio of raw oysters appetizer

The dessert entry for the USA team
It was a very close competition with less than 1½ points separating first and third place. The winning team was Valeria Coto and Marcela Ramirez from Universidad del Valle de Mexico, who returned home with The Laureate Culinary Cup and gold medals. Their dishes included a Tarasca soup with shrimp and a main course of duck with a traditional manchamanteles, which is a typical mole from Oaxaca and Puebla in Mexico. The Kendall College team of Alison Honiotes and Adam Harralson came in second with their entries that included a trio of raw oysters appetizer and a pheasant saltimbocca main course. Third place went to the team of Mohamad Irshied and Khaled Haddad from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts in Jordan.

Valeria Coto and Marcela Ramirez from Universidad del Valle de Mexico were the winning team and returned home with The Laureate Culinary Cup and gold medals

“Kendall College is proud to have hosted this first-ever competition for culinary students worldwide,” said Christopher Koetke, CEC, CCE, dean of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts and vice president of the Laureate International Universities Centers of Excellence in Culinary Arts. “This lively competition gave us the opportunity to celebrate our dynamic network of culinary programs and highlighted diverse cuisines and indigenous foods from around the world.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

French Pastry School Makes History at Graduation Ceremony

The graduation celebration in late December 2010 honored not one, but two full-time programs’ graduates of The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago. More than 400 attendees including friends, family, faculty, staff and newly minted alumni celebrated the conclusion of the programs at the Union League Club of Chicago. Seventy-two students in L’Art de la Pâtisserie – The Professional Pastry and Baking Program, and 36 in L’Art du Gâteau – The Professional Cake Decorating and Baking Program completed their six- and four-month terms, respectively. This graduation also applauded the inaugural class of L’Art du Gâteau.

Many of the recent graduates will relocate across the country, from New York to Las Vegas to California, while others will stay in Chicago to work in pastry kitchens in highly regarded establishments like Blackbird/avec restaurants under Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy, fellow alumnus. Some will go to new pastry hubs such as Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Cake Nouveau, owned by another fellow alumna, Courtney Clark. Several graduates, who have completed one certificate program, will enroll in the other and continue their education working toward a second certificate. 
Guest speaker at the ceremony, Chef Gina Hartwig, co-owner of Lovely: a Bake Shop and Bakin’ & Eggs, and also a graduate of the July 2006 class of L’Art de la Pâtisserie, addressed the students and attendees. From the perspective of a successful career changer, she told the story of building her businesses following her experience as a student and intern at The French Pastry School. Hartwig advised the graduates, many of whom also have dreams of one day creating their own businesses, to “overcome the unknown. If you wait until you think you know everything, you’ll never move forward. … Harness all that you have learned,” she said, “and take risks.”
The ceremony was followed by a grand buffet at the school, showcasing the graduates’ newly acquired skills. New sessions for both programs began on January 3, 2011.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicago's Susan Goss Celebrity Guest Chef at Lexington College 'Taste of Lexington' Event

Lexington College will host its Taste of Lexington event March 24, 2011 from 5 – 7pm at Chicago's West Loop campus. The evening’s event raises scholarship funds for the next generation of women leaders in the hospitality industry.

This year’s theme, "Passport to Hospitality" focuses on varied aspects of Lexington’s rich academic program and expertise in the art of hospitality. The College welcomes guests that include community leaders, hospitality industry professionals, educators, prospective students, and executives of hospitality related businesses in the Chicagoland area.

The event provides an opportunity to meet students, faculty and staff, tour the campus, and enjoy appetizers, and food and internship demonstrations by students. Learn about degree specializations in hospitality management and the personalized education that makes Lexington a singular institution.

Susan Goss, chef, Chicagoland restaurateur, and cookbook author will make a special guest appearance and sign her recent cookbook, entitled West Town Tavern: Contemporary Comfort Food.

For sponsorship opportunities, to register for the event, or for more information, please contact Megan Goggin at 312.226.6294 x228 or