Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu idea gallery launched for chef-developed potato dishes

Every year, chefs from leading foodservice and retail chains meet at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley to engage in some friendly competition and creativity with potatoes. This year, the U.S. Potato Board has collected those ideas in a photo-gallery to help chefs in all foodservice channels spark their own creativity. 

The ideas photographed for the Idea Gallery were generated by 14 of the top minds in the industry who represent over 8,800 units and $3 billion in annual sales. The ideas demonstrate some of today’s hottest trends and are available to help any chef capitalize on the versatility and profitability of potatoes.

For more information and to see the idea gallery, visit  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ferran Adrià announces post-elBulli plans: the elBulli Foundation

"Freedom to Create" is the motto and goal of Ferran Adrià's new elBulli Foundation. The organization will take the place of the legendary chef's famous restaurant elBulli, near Barcelona, Spain after it closes its doors on July 31, 2011. Chef Adrià spoke of his innovative plans for the first time in the United States during a visit to The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY on March 21.  
The Barcelona native says he will turn the restaurant's property into a park and "reserve" for culinary brainstorming, opening in 2014. Each year, 20 collaborators from around the world will be selected to work with the base team. Through the Internet, chefs across the globe will then be able to access the thousands of ideas the team creates, and use the ones that fit their restaurants.

Ferran Adrià speaking at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, where he announced future plans for the elBulli Foundation
Chef Adrià was at the CIA for a panel discussion with Lisa Abend, author of The Sorcerer's Apprentices, a new book about Adrià and elBulli; and two former apprentices at the restaurant, including CIA graduate George Mendes '92. About 1,200 CIA students attended the event.

Visit for more information.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Three chefs from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts inducted into Chaîne des Rôtisseurs

At a dinner hosted at the school on Friday, February 25, three top chefs from the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts [Orlando] were recently inducted as Professional Chef Rôtisseurs in the renowned French International Gastronomy Association, the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.

The newly inducted Professional Chef Rôtisseurs include Chef Edward Leonard, CMC, executive chef, an accomplished author of seven culinary books and one of only 72 Certified Master Chefs (CMC) in the U.S; Chef Jean Rene Thiery, a chef instructor who has served as executive chef of three different restaurants in France and in the U.S. and began his culinary career at the age of 18. He received a diploma of French Master Pastry Chef in 1981; and Chef Richard Barth, lead culinary instructor.
Left to right: Chef Barth, Chef Leonard and Chef Thiery
 This is a significant occasion for Le Cordon Bleu as the Chaîne actively encourages the raising of catering standards and the training of future chefs. In addition, the national chapter of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs provided a $1,000 scholarship to the college.

For more information, visit

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Honey Culinary Instruction Kit now available as a free download

The National Honey Board’s popular Honey Culinary Instruction Kit (introduced in 2009 as a CD-ROM) is now available as a free download at  Culinary educators and other interested foodservice professionals can access the comprehensive information tool on the Foodservice page at, under “Free Culinary CDs.”  After providing basic contact information, visitors simply indicate if they wish to download the kit or receive it as a CD via mail.

The National Honey Board developed the culinary curriculum to share the benefits of honey – as a food, an ingredient and a marketing tool – with student and professional culinarians.  An advanced classroom teaching guide is divided into four learning blocks:  Life of the Hive; Ingredient Functionality; Varietal Honeys; and Tasting Workshop with Culinary Applications.  A PowerPoint presentation emphasizes key learning points, and an appendix offers additional honey information, references and resources.

Culinarians who pass the comprehensive exam (also included in the kit) qualify for 3.5 American Culinary Federation continuing education credits.  Culinary educators, students and foodservice professionals can download their free copy of the Honey Culinary Instruction Kit today at

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Marco Bahena of Kendall College named winner of 9th annual S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition

On March 13th, Marco Bahena, of Kendall College, was named the winner of the 9TH annual S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition at the finals event held at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, Calif. A celebrity panel of judges awarded the top prize to Marco for his signature dish.
Marco Bahena with his winning dish

The event was hosted by Gail Simmons, Food & Wine special projects director and Bravo's “Top Chef” judge and host, and Ralph Pagano, the executive chef at STK Miami, finalist from “Hell’s Kitchen,” season one, and host of the internationally broadcast travel show, “Pressure Cook.”

Judging the three days of competition were a panel of celebrity chefs and media: chefs Michel Richard of Citronelle, Rick Moonen of rm Seafood, Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia, Jean Joho of Everest, Gary Danko of Gary Danko Restaurant, Brooke McDougall of ByMark Restaurant and Napa’s own, Bob Hurley. The chefs were joined by an elite group of media: Dana Cowin of Food & Wine magazine, Sophie Gayot of, Mitchell Davis of The James Beard Foundation and Bonnie Stern of The National Post. 
Marco with judge Ralph Pagano
Marco’s prizes included a $10,000 cash prize for winning as well as $3,000 for his winning signature dish of Mediterranean Lamb Loin, a year-long paid apprenticeship with a participating chef judge of his choice and the title of 2011 S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef.
In addition to vying for the top prize, the 10 competitors also competed in a Mystery Basket Competition and were voted on by fans and attendees for the People’s Choice and Acqua Panna Fan Favorite Awards. Marco won the $3,000 Signature Dish prize for his recipe, Mediterranean Lamb Loin. Jean-François Daigle of The George Brown Chef's School won the Mystery Basket competition, earning him  $3,000, for a dish he created with the surprise ingredients featuring pork loin. Elizabeth Freer from the Culinary Institute of Charleston won the People’s Choice Award, taking away $3,000 for her signature dish, Rabbit Two Ways: Pecan and Spice Encrusted Rabbit Tenderloin with Sweet Braised Rabbit Ravioli and a Baby Spinach, Radicchio Sauté. And Emma Louth from Drexel University scored $3,000 for wowing the online audience with her dish.

“I am thrilled to be named the winner, especially by this amazing panel of judges,” said Marco Bahena. “Not only was it an incredible experience competing against nine really talented competitors, but to be able to cook in one of the most prestigious kitchens in the world and be mentored by such a talented group of chef and media judges for the weekend – I couldn’t have asked for a better jump-start to my career.”
Marco in action
For more information on the competition and to view Marco’s biography and winning recipe, visit,, become a fan on Facebook ( or follow the competition on Twitter at AFChefComp.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Foundation of the National Association of Catering Executives to award $20,000 in undergraduate scholarships this year

the Foundation of the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) has expanded its Vince DeFinis Scholarship program for undergraduate students and will award $20,000 in undergraduate scholarships to five students in summer 2011.
A total of five presentations will be made at the NACE annual convention, Experience! 2011, in Reno-Tahoe. The Foundation will award the $10,000 Vince DeFinis Scholarship grant, as well as four, $2,500 Foundation Scholarship Awards. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and be enrolled as a full-time student to be eligible for the scholarship. The recipient will also receive complimentary student membership in the National Association of Catering Executives.
Applicants must be currently enrolled as a full-time student (12 credits or more) in an accredited hospitality, culinary or related program. Students must have completed 60 credits to be eligible. Judging will be based on an essay and two letters of reference, which must be included in the application. All applications must be submitted by May 1, 2011. The winners will be announced at the NACE Experience! conference, July 24-27, in Reno-Tahoe.
Students who are interested in applying for the scholarship may find more information at DeFinis, who died in December 2007, was one of the co-founders of NACE and a visionary in the field of catering and special events. On June 3, 1958 in New York City, DeFinis helped found the Banquet Managers Guild, which would grow to become the National Association of Catering Executives. He spent his entire career dedicated to the profession and to seeing that NACE properly reflected and served its members. The scholarship honoring DeFinis was launched in 2008.
For more information, call 410-290-5410 or visit

Monday, March 14, 2011

Allen High School and Prosper High School win Texas ProStart Invitational

On March 5, nine culinary arts teams and 14 restaurant management teams met in Austin at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts to compete in the state finals of the Texas ProStart Invitational. Allen High School took first place in the culinary competition and Prosper High School placed first in the restaurant management competition.

The Texas ProStart Invitational was hosted by the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation. Only students enrolled in high school culinary arts programs utilizing the Texas ProStart program and curriculum were eligible to compete in the Invitational. 

The state competition capped off a month of competitions held across the state. Thirty-four culinary teams participated in regional culinary competitions in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The top three teams from each regional competition participated in the state competition.  Fourteen management teams competed at the same time, making for a very exciting day in high school culinary arts!

Winning culinary team, Allen High School
The Allen High School culinary team of Lucas Trahan, Matthew Konrad, Samantha March and Hillary Scott, led by their instructor Jordan Swim took first prize. Judges were impressed by their tasty cuisine and excellent team work. Their menu featured Thai Tortilla Soup with Lime Poached Shrimp; Spiced Flat Iron Steak with a Sweet Potato Jalapeno Gallete; and Crepe Gateau with Texas Grapefruit, Pineapple Mint Mousse and a Black Raspberry Reduction. Teams participating in the culinary competition were required to demonstrate their creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in only 60 minutes. Others areas they were judged on were knife skills, chicken fabrication and safety and sanitation.

Restaurant management winning team, Prosper High School
Prosper High School’s restaurant management team of Jessica Ford, Sara Nichols, Kelli Smith and Kristi Stiles, led by instructor Katie Garms, placed first in the restaurant management competition with their 50’s-themed Jivin’ Jukebox diner concept. Teams participating in the restaurant management competition demonstrated their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by developing a restaurant proposal, delivering a verbal presentation and applying critical thinking skills to challenges managers face in day-to-day operations.

More than $125,000 in scholarships was awarded to the winning teams courtesy of the International Culinary Schools at the Art Institutes, the Culinary Institute of America, Le Cordon Bleu and Johnson & Wales University.

Now the two teams will travel to Kansas to compete in the National ProStart Invitational April 29.

State Competition Results
First Place             Allen High School, Allen, Texas
Second Place        Jefferson Davis High School, Houston, Texas
Third Place            Westside High School, Houston, Texas

First Place             Prosper High School, Prosper, Texas
Second Place        Plano East High School, Plano, Texas
Third Place            Allen High School, Allen, Texas

The Texas ProStart Invitational competition was sponsored by: Auto-Chlor, Texas Beef Council, Texas Gas Service and US Foodservice. For more information, visit

Friday, March 11, 2011

Regional president of The Chef's Academy, Jayson M. Boyers, joins N.C. Hospitality Education Foundation

The Chef’s Academy, the Culinary Division of Harrison College, has announced that regional president Jayson M. Boyers has joined the North Carolina Hospitality Education Foundation (NC HEF). The nonprofit organization was established in 2003 by the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA) to provide the resources necessary to build an educated, strong and committed workforce for the state’s hospitality and tourism industry. The NC HEF provides scholarships and grants to assist individuals who are pursuing educational programs in the hospitality and tourism fields.

Jayson M. Boyers
“I am proud to join the N.C. Hospitality Education Foundation,” said Boyers. “I have devoted much of my professional career to the advancement of education in the hospitality industry, and this new opportunity will allow me further involvement in improving education for this workforce.”

For more information regarding the NC Hospitality Education Foundation, visit For more information about The Chef’s Academy, visit

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Calling all culinary students: InsPEARational recipe competition now accepting entries

USA Pears has issued a challenge to all post-secondary culinary school students to enter an insPEARational recipe competition. Students must create an original recipe using any fresh USA Pear variety (Bartlett, Anjou, Comice, Seckel, Concorde, Forelle, Bosc, Starkrimson) in the following categories: breakfast, salad, soup, appetizer, side dish, entrée, dessert. Enter online by March 31, 2011 at

All entries will be judged based on prominent use of fresh USA Pears, originality, creativity, taste/texture, and appearance. Three semi-finalists will receive an all-expense paid trip to Portland, Oregon to prepare their dish for a panel of professional judges. Grand prize is $2,500 cash for the student, plus the student’s culinary department will receive $250 for supplies or scholarship fund. Second place winners will receive $1,000 cash and third place, $500 cash.

The goal of the contest is to reward future culinary professionals for their creativity and demonstrate the versatility of fresh pears across all menu and day parts. The 2010 winner, Keith Paugh of The Texas Culinary Academy was chosen for his savory “Pear and Scallops” creation.
For more information, visit

Friday, March 4, 2011

WCR announces 2011 scholarship and internship opportunities

Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR) is offering a slate of learning opportunities for students and professionals in its 2011 Scholarship and Internship Program. Deadline for applications is April 4, 2011.

“Our scholarships and internships allow WCR to fulfill its mission by offering women in the culinary industry invaluable educational opportunities,” says Jamie Leeds, president of WCR and chef/owner of Hank’s Oyster Bar and CommonWealth Gastropub in greater Washington, D.C.

Last year, WCR awarded more than 40 scholarships and internships in six nations. Recipients gained professional skills and inspiration from industry leaders who donated their time and resources to advance the professional development of women in foodservice. 

Opportunities for WCR’s 2011 program include:
• Internship with Bon Appétit Management Company, Silicon Valley
• Barbara Tropp Memorial Internship, Beijing
• Internship in New Orleans with Susan Spicer
• Organic internship with Nora Pouillon, Washington, D.C.

Returning opportunities include scholarships at leading professional culinary-arts programs nationwide and cooking, baking, cheese- and winemaking, management and marketing internships in the United States, China, France, Ireland, Italy and Scotland.

Applicants must be active members of WCR in any category. Online application deadline is 5:00 p.m. CDT on April 4, 2011; mailed applications must be postmarked no later than April 4, 2011. Details of this year’s WCR Scholarship and Internship Program are described fully at

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sullivan University instructor Cynthia Chandler takes Michelle Obama’s nutrition initiatives to local schools

On Thursday, Feb. 24, Sullivan University instructor Cynthia Chandler held a cooking demonstration for third graders at Gutermuth Elementary in association with Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools program. During the demonstration, students learned how to create a vegetable-packed pasta salad while Chandler educated them about the importance of eating healthy foods. 
Cynthia Chandler, MS, RD, LD,CDM, Sullivan University
Because of a partnership between All-Clad and the organization Partnership for a Healthier America, each school that works with a chef through the Chefs Move to Schools program receives a free cookware kit, which consists of induction burners, pots, pans and utensils. The cookware will be used during future healthy cooking demonstrations at the school.

For more information, visit or the Let's Move! Web site