Delta Theta Tau Sorority recently awarded two of The Chef's Academy students with scholarships towards their education. The application was heavily weighted on volunteer and community involvement from applicants. From the applications received, two people stood out above the rest to the Sorority and they chose to award Jeremiah Clark and Markus Silvey to each receive a scholarship. Congratulations to Jeremiah and Markus and a big Thank You to Delta Theta Tau Sorority for choosing to give our students this opportunity to help further their education!
Students, for more information on available scholarships see Financial Aid.
Along the banks of the mighty Ohio River thirty professional barbeque teams from around the Midwest compiled to compete in the Hoosier Daddy State BBQ Competition in association with the Harvest Homecoming Festival in New Albany, Indiana. The Chef’s Academy sent Chef Anderson and Chef Trinosky as “The TCA Smokers” to try their hand at a piece of the prize money and a chance to qualify for larger national events. The Hoosier Daddy State BBQ Competition was sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society and served as a qualifier for national contests the Jack Daniel's Invitational, and the Kansas City Royal. The Hoosier Daddy State BBQ Competition held October 9th and 10th, also had an amateur category that many back yard enthusiasts competed in as well.
The competition was an awfully soggy one as there had been torrential downpours the days leading up to the event and there was flooding all around the area. Rain normally wouldn’t be much of a factor for a chef as they typically are working indoors, but when you are in a barbeque competition the only shelter from the storm you have is self provided. The inclement weather didn’t slow Chef’s Jason Anderson and Lucas Trinosky down though, as they smoked and grilled their hearts out on that soggy patch of land in front of the river. Mother Nature eased up on Saturday for the finishing touches and turn-in, as it was a beautiful fall morning and afternoon.
Teams competed in four official KCBS categories: chicken, ribs, shoulder, and brisket. Each team was to prepare each of the four categories and have them turned in on a strict timeframe. If any team had not turned in their dish at the precise moment that the “window” closed, they were disqualified from the category. The prepared dishes were turned in order from chicken, ribs, shoulder, and finished with brisket. Each category was judged individually and judges looked at three points to each dish. First, judges graded the overall appearance of the entry. Second, judges tasted a sample and graded it on their personal taste. Finally, the participants were judged on the tenderness of the dish they provided. The judging process ranges from 1 equaling a disqualification to 9 being perfect. Judges are instructed to start at 6 which is average and to raise or lower the score from that point. Each of the categories is weighted differently for the final score which is derived from a mathematical equation used.
The TCA Smokers worked tirelessly on Friday preparing their meats and testing their ribs and chicken to ensure their entries were solid. The Soggy Friday afternoon didn’t keep these two from manning the smoker and large kettle grill all afternoon, evening, and throughout the night with very little rest due to having to stoke the fires or add smoke chips every few hours. As nightfall came the Chefs’ had their mettle tested as another storm came in producing high winds and heavy rainfall. We hunkered down and braved the storm and as it had passed everyone was thankful that no more precipitation fell from the dark skies. The dreary weather seemed to be a hint of foreshadowing for the TCA Smokers though as a lackluster feeling came as the judging was announced.
It was a character building competition as the Chefs’ were humbled with the overall results of the competition. The Hoosier Daddy State BBQ competition was the second barbeque competition the Chefs’ had been a part of as a team and they were definitely the “new guys” in the event as many of the other competitors travel around the US competing in these events and have been doing so for years. Chef Trinosky stated that “It was good to come out and compete, as well as have the opportunity to meet some of the old timers to get some pointers.” On the walk back to the cook site the two were already discussing what to change and when the next competition will be. Don’t count these two competitors’ out as they are tenacious and have already been practicing their technique to come out stronger in the next competition.
Every student at The Chef’s Academy receives two stainless steel spoons along with their uniform and knife kit. These spoons are an essential element in their culinary development because it allows them an opportunity to taste what they prepare and create! “To taste with two spoons, dip one spoon into food then, transfer food to second spoon, which is the spoon you put into your mouth for tasting.” The purpose of this is to prevent students from dipping their fingers into a pot, licking their fingers, or double dipping. All of this can result in cross contamination! As students transition into the workplace, tasting will be their job.
Chef Gordon Ramsay from the television show “Hell’s Kitchen” oftentimes sends food back to the kitchen. I can hear him asking the chef contestant if they’ve tasted what they were so willing to send out to their customers. Many times, the contestant’s response is indeed “no.”
I know we can see, feel, and measure the temperature of food items to determine its readiness. However, “tasting is the true test,” as my mother would say. One of my fondest childhood memories is of my mother allowing me to taste test steak with fried onions and potatoes before anyone else in the house! “Do I need to add anything?” she’d ask. Tasting not only helps you answer this question, but it helps you catch your culinary blunders prior to upsetting a diner. For example, a very common mistake is getting sugar and salt mixed up! Can you imagine eating something that should be sweet and it’s salty? Yuck!
Even from a server’s perspective, tasting what’s on the menu helps them explain and sell items to their customer. Tasting not only applies to food, but beverages too! “What does it taste like? Is it dry or sweet?” These are questions a customer seeking to purchase a glass or bottle of wine might ask and you should be prepared to answer. Let me be clear, there is a difference between “tasting” and “drinking!” Using your other senses – smell and sight – only a taste is required to help you draw in the necessary information to evaluate a wine.
I encourage you to join the Travel & Tour Club. It is our mission to provide students with opportunities to taste . . . just this past Friday, September 25th we toured Easley Winery just around the corner from the school. Meredith Easley led us through each phase of wine making, from crushing to bottling. The process itself is like “science with a touch of art” says Foodservice Instructor Deb Nelson. Our 10:00am tour ended with wine tasting! It is our job to taste what we create, serve, and sell.