Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Breaking Ground

Breaking ground on your first day of work for most is learning your way around the office.  When I look back to breaking ground my first week of work at my new job, I'm going to have the most colorful story to tell.  
I started my job at The Chef's Academy Morrisville, NC Campus on November 29, 2010, the day before the official ground breaking!  Talk about exciting.  Wihin thirty-five minutes of my first day I was at the airport picking up Chef Tony Hanslits and meeting Chef Jeffrey Bane and off to a meeting on my own with MMI Public Relations Agency in Cary, NC.
The most exciting part though, was the day of the official ground breaking.  Not only was I surrounded by the delicious aroma of the pork tenderloin and chicken satay on the grill, but I was among a crowd of chefs, executives, elected officials, including Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco and Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe and community members that were also excited to be there.  Everything went right, as it should have, the turnout was unbelievable, the food was a success and the speeches hit home to all guests.  

It is important to see where The Chef's Academy comes from and what they stand for; to hear the speeches and learn more about who we [The Chef's Academy] are, and how the community perceives us, was exciting, rewarding, and encouraging.  Exciting because I know I am going to be a part of this schools from the beginning here in North Carolina, rewarding because I was able to see the respect and enthusiasm that The Chef's Academy and Harrison College receive from the community, and encouraging because it made me want to encourage other people to be involved and able to be a part of this awesome experience.
The ground breaking was a HUGE success.  My first week was fast pace and full of excitement.  The ground breaking ceremony could not have gone better.  It not only marked the beginning of the new The Chef's Academy existence in North Carolina, but also the start of something new for a lot of people and their families around the Triangle and at the Indiana campus.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Micro-blog from student Clint Wood

I was part of one of the biggest graduation classes at The Chef’s Academy that graduated on Saturday the 6th of November 2010. I would like to tell you how it felt from my point of view and what I was able to visually see happen right in front of my eyes.  
I am the middle child in my family so I have always been competitive towards my siblings, trying to get the attention of our parents since I wasn’t the first born, or the baby.  As I grew up and got out of those childish ways I realized that our parents loved us all the same.  I came to Indianapolis in 2008 and started my life at The Chef’s Academy where through term after term I continued to adapt and over-come all of the voices in my head saying, “you can’t do it!”  I am here to tell you that with hard work and perseverance you can finish your goal here at The Chef’s Academy and the feeling you will get the day you graduate will be one that you will never forget.  I was waiting for everybody to show up and when they started playing the graduation music I started tearing up, but me being a man, trying to not look like a big softy, I held it in. Going across the stage to get my degree and to shake hands with all the people that helped me through, and kept the fire burning in my life, and who kept me from giving up is wonderful.
-Clint East Wood

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Micro-blog from student Hannah Kester

Being at The Chef’s Academy has been great! As a new student leaving home for the first time, I was extremely nervous. My first day of class I met so many new people that I felt like I was home. All of us became such fast friends. It definitely made the transition easier. Being away from home for the first time is tough. Moving into housing with three others girls… even harder! I was worried about having roommates that would not like me or we would not get along. I was wrong. All of us got along just fine. The thing about TCA is that they don’t let just anyone into the school. Everyone that I have met I have liked! That is a huge plus! I do not think that a single person comes into TCA and is not welcomed right away. I have only been at TCA for about a month now, but I feel like I have been there for a year. People are so nice there and understanding. It is like we have all known each other our whole lives!
            The classes at TCA are better than I could have imagined. My first day was exciting. They are so fun. I thought that they were going to be extremely hard. The way the instructors teach class and communicate with us helps me enjoy it so much more. It is not a boring class. They make it interesting and fun all the time. I absolutely love being at TCA. It was definitely the right choice of school. I think TCA is a great place for anyone especially if they are leaving home for the first time. Everyone here is like family and we all have a blast! TCA is a great school to go to!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Micro-blog from Student Faye Williams

Ever heard the song, "Somethings gotta go wrong, cause I'm feeling way too d*@# good?"  How about everything, yes, I mean everything going good for you in your life and then something totally out of your control happens to bring you to your knees?  I have!  To what first became a startling revelation that I have no business walking around in the back yard, in the dark, to breaking a leg will, and did stop me in my tracks, I realized that in order to finish school and further my career, I am going to have to take care of myself.  Right up until the day I broke my leg, I had been cramming way too much into my schedule, professional and personal life.  I couldn't allow myself to say no, for fear I might miss out of some opportunity.  As I spent endless hours, on my couch, lamenting the fact that I was incapacitated, I realized that in order to be effective, I truly needed to structure my life.  No more late nights partying, no more volunteering for every opportunity that comes down the pike, no more staying up till all hours of the weekday nights studying so as to convince myself that I must make a 100% on every test I take. 

Now days, there is no partying, I am trying to cut back on volunteering for everything, I don't feel obligated to make perfect grades, even though I am still maintaining my postition on the Dean's List, and my leg is slowly healing.  I am very grateful to be back at school, and on my way to realizing my dream of becomming a chef.
Faye E. Williams

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Micro-Blog from Student Josh Francis

On the Cusp of a Victory

I have been with The Chef's Academy since the 8th of March of this year, and as another term comes to an end I have seen competitions come and go at the school as well as a few competitions outside of the school. My blog was due the day of The Clash of the Tailgaters, but I decided to hold off because I had two more competitions following that one. After competing in the Clash of the Tailgaters, I competed in an ACF sanctioned competition at the McFarling food show at Lucas Oil Stadium. At this competition I was the first competitor that was judged. I only earned a certificate of participation, but all of the information that I gained was priceless. This brings me to my last competition: the Huantsburg Chili Cook off in Brownsburg, IN. On my team was Rhiannon Spafford (a fellow TCA student and member of the Student Advisory board). We had a few obstacles to overcome, but we did it, and when it came down to it at the end of the day we won First Place with our Voodoo Chili that we used not just two weeks prior at the Clash competition. We took to heart what the judges and public told us, and improved upon the recipe and it paid off. Does any of this rambling have a message? Simply put, be patient and persistent when competing in the kitchen. When one doesn't win right away, they have two choices: they can quit, and not do it anymore, or they can learn from what they did and push through the disappointment that comes with loss.

My name is Josh, and I am a competitive culinarian.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Student Emily Auth Micro-blog

The Most Difficult Lesson

Life is one big lesson. For those of you who have yet to figure this out, well, I wish you luck. Learning for me is a big deal. Given unlimited funding, I would probably spend all of my time in school, studying anything and everything of interest. I am very enthusiastic to add my degree from the Chef’s Academy to my Bachelors from Indiana University in 2011, and it is unlikely I will stop there. Case in point, I love to learn.

From my perspective, most of life’s lessons are not something we acquire intentionally. Some of the hardest lessons come at the expense of others. One of my favorite anti-motivational poster quotes states: “It could be that the purpose of your life is to serve as a warning to others.” Humorous but painfully frank, I try to learn from the mistakes of my peers. Unfortunately, it is more often than not my own mistakes teach the hardest lessons.

Chef Hamilton was my instructor for 101 last term. I admire him not only for his obvious skill in the classroom, but his patience with a challenging class. I didn’t think that I personally would need his help, hoping that I would pick up the material very quickly on my own. I had no idea just how wrong I was.

We began breakfast cookery, starting on the basics. It was then that I met my match: the incredible, rumored to be amazingly edible, egg. One ingredient means no margin for error. It also requires far more patience than has been required of me for awhile. This much was obvious to Chef Hamilton because I became visibly frustrated in class. I could not get my eggs over easy just right. This was evident by the growing pile of “sunny-side up” failures directly behind my station.

Chef Hamilton strolled over, wondering why I had apparently given up. With that coy, boyish smile of his he said, “Show me what the problem is.” He stood there, watching my work on egg after egg until I got it right, instructing and directing me through every step. My confidence increased as I finally turned out one single perfect over-easy egg. I was elated, and he moved on to help the next student.

I do not think Chef Hamilton realized the events that transpired that day, and probably went about his business as usual. However, I will never forget. What he taught me was not just how to make an egg. Chef Hamilton taught me the value of patience, and more importance, the value of humility. Everyone needs help sometimes, and being afraid to ask for it will never help you improve. I voted for Chef Hamilton as instructor of the term for this very reason. He has given me the confidence, patience and humility that will make me a great chef. I will never stop learning and I vow to treat my fellow students, colleagues and hopefully, proteges with the same patience and respect as Chef Hamilton did for me that day.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Bike Racks on Campus

The bike racks are here!
If you have not noticed, The Chef’s Academy now has bicycle racks installed.
In an effort to accommodate the request of a few students and to become more environmentally friendly we have installed two bike racks that will accommodate up to six bicycles each.
It was a very long process to procure the racks but we have them securely installed now. Please utilize these racks to secure your ride if you commute to or from The Chef’s Academy via bicycle. You can find the bicycle racks located in the front of the building by the visitor parking spaces.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Student Dan Scalf Micro-blog

The Chef’s Academy’s 2nd Annual Rib Cook off was held on Friday the 23rd of July. Although there were not as many entries as we had hoped for, everyone that participated in the grilling as well as the tasting and voting had a great time!
Man it was smoking hot and I am not just talking about the grills!
The National Weather Service had issued a heat advisory for Marion County that day, I do not recall the exact temperature with heat index but the only thing hotter than the weather was Rodney Franklin and Patrick Early’s Raspberry/Chipotle sauce. Ha! I really doubt there was much raspberry in that sauce! Just kidding guys, it was great.
The tasting only cost a measly $5 and participants could taste as many as 6 or 7 different ribs prepared by The Chef’s Academy students. The participants could then vote for their favorite ribs. The judging was performed by a panel of 5 judges comprised of Chef/ instructors of The Chef’s Academy, student advisory board member, and other staff and volunteers.
We would like to congratulate Ryan Beck for winning first place at the 2nd Annual Rib Cook off! We would also like to give special mention to Jenna Turner and Tanya Russell for winning the People's Choice award.
If you missed it this year well you just missed it!
Students, make a point next time to display your talent and abilities, join in on the fun and camaraderie these events provide.
Tasters, voters, friends, family, and general public, please come out and support our students, the future chef’s of the world.
Our next competition will be the Clash of the Tailgaters, on Friday, September 17, 2011!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Student Rodney Franklin micro-blog

Spud-tacular Mini Blog

The Chef’s Academy Spud-tacular first annual potato race on Friday, July 16, quickly became a terrific twist on tubers. More than 30 chefs, staff, students and family were our tater-race challengers, and chose their potatoes pensively. Carved, assembled and wheeled, a few spud cars were creatively named, “The Buzz Spud,” “The TaterNater,” “Team HRM,” and “The Begermeister.” Competition was fierce as Chef Hamilton and Chef Powell joined forces and created a starchy monstrosity, complete with an avocado grill and carrot racing stripes. Despite their culinary expertise, they were quickly thrown out of the running by a very versatile vehicle carved by The Hanslits sisters. Participants of all ages recklessly raced their Russets through different heats, beating each other's spectacular spuds into submission. It was a harrowing and heated day, but finally student Rodney Franklin won the Yukon gold. Staff member Dorenda Roberson took home the win for her potato “Best in Show.” Student Patrick Early and Financial Aid Analyst Josh White came in 2nd and 3rd respectively with their spectacular spuds!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Student Katie Schenkel Micro-blog

As a student at the Chef’s Academy, I have volunteered at many different events. Each event had been crafted with care and attention, but I think my absolute favorite was our dinner for the Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market in June of this year. I was proud to be one of the dozen or so students that lent their talents to the night’s proceedings.
            The dinner helped raise funds for the Broad Ripple Village Association, which has been working since 1969 to make Broad Ripple a truly beautiful place. Comprised of approximately 350 households and 500 businesses, the BRVA has been thriving for over 40 years because of the dedication of volunteers and the success of their Farmer’s Market. Running every Saturday from May 1st through November 20th (8:00 AM to 12:30 PM), the Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market has 32 regular vendors.
One of the Market’s vendors is Ross Faris, who hosted the dinner and offered one of his scenic gardens as the setting for the event. Mr. Faris told me the story of how he began his garden. Twenty-nine years ago, his children (who were then very young) wanted to make a lemonade stand. Faris, who had been growing tomatoes for the summer, wagered his tomato stand would do more business than their lemonade stand. This went on for many summers until his children had grown up. By that time, Mr. Faris had started growing a variety of vegetables. When he finally retired from Eli Lilly, he dedicated himself to his hobby. He now has four acres of land devoted to his garden. He provides produce for ten restaurants and ten farmer’s markets, including of course the Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market.
As the guests came into the plentiful, picturesque garden, they were greeted by not only my fellow chefs-in-training, but also some thirst-quenching beverages. Clay Robinson of the relatively new but up-and-coming Sun King Brewers donated his Sunlight Cream Ale, which won silver at the 2010 World Beer Cup. John Hill, owner of the Broad Ripple Brew Pub and co-founder of the BRVA, provided a lovely Hefeweizen. And Mallow Run Winery (located in Bargerville, just 30 minutes south of downtown Indianapolis) provided the evening with a delicious assortment of wine.
The night’s menu (featuring five decadent courses) was carefully crafted by Chef Greg Hardesty of the restaurant Recess. We began with Tomato Panzanella Gazpacho Salad. While it had the distinct taste of gazpacho soup, it also had the texture of panzanella (a traditional Italian bread salad). It was a delightful contradiction and a refreshing start to the meal. The second course was a tamale made of Indiana sweet corn. Topped with mushrooms, swiss chard, peppers and a spicy green onion cilantro salsa, the tamale was warm, savory and provided an overall nice transition to the third course.
Next, we served a wonderful summer vegetable soup. It was composed of turnips, cabbage and braised greens. With a drizzle of bacon oil for a refined finish, the soup was hearty and scrumptious. For the entrée, we grilled some tantalizing meat terrines with a beautiful red wine glaze. They were served with horseradish green beans and a roasted leek and new potato salad. To end the meal, the guests had a truly unique dessert. With the texture of cheesecake, the goat cheese panna cotta was topped with local fruit marinated in maple syrup. It was rich, delectable and a lovely conclusion to the menu.
As the sun began to set over the trees, all the volunteers were asked to come up to the front by the guests’ table. We weren’t quite sure what was going to happen next. Suddenly, we received a standing ovation from the very people we fed that night. It was extremely satisfying, not just that we were thanked, but that we used our time and talent to help a well-deserving organization raise money for their noble cause.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Whistle While You Wait!

How many times each week do you find yourself waiting in a line somewhere? We wait in line at the bank, at the checkout counter at the grocery store, at the airport, at the DMV, and many other places! How much of that time do we stand there annoyed, thinking of all the other things we could be doing? Unless you one day have someone to run all of your errands for you, count on continuing to have to stand in line at some point throughout your week! This occurrence may never go away; however, how we deal with it may determine our stress level on any given day.

I was very fortunate to be standing in line the other day behind what appeared to be a mother and son. They were having a whistling contest while they were waiting in line! I was fascinated by how quickly the time went by before we were being serviced. . . 30 minutes in line felt more like 10 minutes. Imagine if I had my own version of whistling while waiting each time I was in a line? There are so many things people could do to pass the time. After all, we know we’re going to be waiting today or tomorrow or the next day. So, why don’t we prepare ourselves?

Ways to Pass the Time While Standing in Line:

• Check your voicemail messages.
• Take out pen and paper and make a “To Do List.”
• Bring a report or paper you’ve been working on and proofread it.
• Read a book, magazine, or something that is fun and will keep your interest.
• Pack a handheld game and play until you hear that you’re NEXT!
• Clean out your pockets, purse, or wallet.
• Whistle or hum softly your favorite tune!

Jokima Hiller, MBA, Hospitality & Restaurant
Management Program Coordinator
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Student Anthony Dick micro-blog

The Chef’s Academy’s Student Advisory Board Blog Entry - 05/21/2010                 

By Anthony Dick, Hospitality & Restaurant Management Student Representative
What Made You Decide To Come To Culinary School & What Keeps You Coming Back For More?
This being the month of May and in the city of Indianapolis, it is fitting that I would be asked to write this week’s blog entry. Why? In a way, the Indianapolis 500 had a lot to do with my decision to attend culinary school. I love to cook and being in a kitchen, and I first learned from both my parents and my grandmother at a fairly young age. But I never thought that I could make a career out of it. When The Chef’s Academy opened its doors in 2006 I had seen its infomercials advertising the school and I became intrigued. However, I dismissed the possibility and continued on with my life. Eight years ago, I can remember getting together with seven or eight of my old high school buddy’s and going to one of my first Indy 500’s. We decided we were going to enjoy the race from the infield, or what was once called “The Snake Pit.”  We had an old Fire/Ice grill, a pack of brats and frozen burgers, and a pony keg. We had a blast! Since then, our race party has grown and grown and taken on a life of its own. Last year we had over one hundred people, three grills, three sets of three burners, four 12 x 12 tents, and we serve a full breakfast and lunch with 6 full size kegs and a bar! We even have our crest and our own t-shirts. We call ourselves THE RACEDAY ALLSTARS, and we consider ourselves to be a college fraternity that only exists for one day a year. We have a hell of a good time! As one of the main administrators for this event year after year, I thinking to myself, “WOW, I’m getting pretty good at this. Maybe I could do this for living?” That is when my culinary school adventure began. There were many other reasons why I decided to come to The Chef’s Academy, but it was last year’s Indy 500 that really pushed me in the right direction. Since then, I started school in October 2009 and haven’t missed a single class in almost eight months. I just started my fourth term, and I have to say, I love every minute of it!  I’ve learned so much, and as a Culinary Arts and Hospitality & Restaurant Management double major, I get a chance to learn about the food service industry from both points of view. I’ve seen and done things that I’ve never thought possible, and all it took was a little push to get me started. That’s my story, that’s why I’m here: to see if my passion can become my career. That’s what sustains me in the tough times when I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning or study late at night. That dream is what keeps me going and coming back for more. Why did you decide to come to culinary school or what’s stopping you? What sustains you and keeps you coming back for more? What’s stopping you from making your dreams a reality? Think about it. Who knows, maybe you’ll come to love The Chef’s Academy as much as I do. In dreams, as in life, nothing is impossible, if you believe.   

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Welcome to our HRM 1030 Class - Technology for the Hospitality Industry!

The best way to learn about technology is to use it. In this class we work primarily on the computer. A course specific website is setup for student’s to have access 24/7 to the class syllabus and school policies. In addition, chapter PowerPoint presentations are posted to the site, as well as, a variety of technology website links that student’s are encouraged to visit.

Technology is ALWAYS changing! What is current today may not be applicable tomorrow. Therefore, we must be on the lookout for changes, updates, and new technological advances in and around the hospitality industry. Our goal is not to be computer programmers; but, we must familiarize ourselves with the basics. As stated in our Managing Technology in the Hospitality Industry textbook,

". . . in order to use technology, a manager does not need to learn
the intricacies of electronic circuitry etched on silicon chips.
The manager simply needs to learn the commands by which
to instruct the system to carry out the desired functions."

Keeping this in mind, each week students are responsible for sharing with the class a current article that details something new, or a change, or an update in technology for the hospitality industry! Yes, the article has to be submitted electronically - via email to me, the instructor. But, students learn about technology by using it along the way. We tackle technology from as many aspects as we can from creating tri-fold brochures using Microsoft Word and learning the parts of a computer to watching videos on how advanced payroll systems are today!

There are a number of systems utilized in the hospitality industry with the property management system (PMS) being required among hotels, and the point of sale (POS) system being required within restaurants. During each class session, students access PMS simulation modules designed to take them through basic hotel responsibilities from the check-in process to balancing the end of a shift. As a highlight to the course, students are welcomed into area hotels and restaurants to see firsthand the ins and outs of a real-life PMS and POS.

Technology in the hospitality industry is moving and here at The Chef’s Academy we’re moving right along with it!

Please note that HRM 1030 is just one of the industry specific courses offered in our Hospitality & Restaurant Management Program. Join us to learn more about the ever-changing world of technology!

Jokima Hiller, MBA, Hospitality & Restaurant
Management Program Coordinator
Blog Editor – Emily Warner-Hoover, MLS, Librarian

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Student Rodney Franklin micro-blog

Recently I have had the honor to witness one of the most educational contests ever. When we discussed the “Who’s Left Cooking” competition I thought just like some of you: “Blah, blah, just another contest.” But then I helped set up for the event. This is going to be so cool, and then when the judges come in, this is even cooler! I got to meet chefs from around Indy. To meet them was a privilege. For the first round, not even the board members knew what Chef Tony had put in the mystery basket! To see what the contestants came up with was so awesome, and then it was time to serve the judges. Now remember that these are the eyes and ears of the people you are going to be serving when you leave school.  Just to be there to hear what they had to say was almost better than being in a classroom. The famous line, “Did you taste it??” “Your knife cuts could have been better” and “hot food-hot plate”. Do I hear an echo coming from the classrooms of the Chefs Academy? If you missed this event you have missed out on lifetime of information that spilled out of the Judges mouths.
See what you missed!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It’s an Economic Principle!

“I can eat pizza EVERYDAY!” How many times have you heard someone say that? I, myself have eagerly proclaimed that I know I could eat Mexican food everyday for the rest of my life. But, can we really eat the same thing every single day? According to economists, NO, we can’t!

Admittedly, there are people who have limited options for what they eat on a daily basis. However, if given a choice they would probably welcome an opportunity to change up their diet. Why is this proclamation of eating your favorite food everyday not plausible? Because as each additional item is consumed, the satisfaction we receive from it lessens over time. This is an economic principle called the law of diminishing marginal utility. Here’s how it works:

As you know, I enjoy eating authentic Mexican cuisine. I am a connoisseur of guacamole and would like to think I could devour a bowl of it every day! The chart below shows what happened when I tried to do this . . .
My experiment did not yield the results I had hoped for! On Day 1, I consumed one bowl of guacamole and was 100% satisfied.  By Day 3 I could only eat half of a bowl of guacamole and by Day 5 I didn’t want any more at all!  In fact, I couldn't even stand the smell of it!  I've seen others eat popcorn at the movies or candy at the amusement park until they were sick.

“Do not confuse diminishing marginal utility with dislike,” mentions the Essentials of Economics textbook. Just because by Day 5 I could not eat anymore guacamole doesn’t mean that it was not desirable. Oh, I wanted to eat it; but, physically, my taste buds and stomach could not take it in for the fifth day in a row. It was just too much of a good thing!  It’s been a couple of weeks since I tried this little experiment and so as I type I am thinking how nice it would be to have some chips and guacamole! Sorry, I’ve got to go now.  Trust me, I will stop at the first bowl ensuring that my satisfaction level is at 100%.

Please note that the law of diminishing marginal utility and other principles of the sort are discussed and learned in our Hospitality & Restaurant Management Program.  Join us to learn how to apply these principles to the decison making process in operating an effective business.

Jokima Hiller, MBA, Hospitality & Restaurant
Management Program Coordinator

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Student Anthony Dick micro-blog

American Culinary Federation Central Regional Conference, Indianapolis IN-March 26th-Sunday, March 28th 2010
News & Notes:
            What an incredible weekend for The Chef’s Academy! Our school had the honor of hosting the Competition components of the A.C.F. Central Regional Conference. Dozens of professional chef’s and student culinary teams from nine states competed this weekend (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Indiana). The Chef’s Academy Culinary Team members included: Mary Grace Breese, Mitch McDaniel, Lisa Clayton, Rachel Hanson, Kelsey Luallen, and myself. We participated in the Cold Platter, or Garde Manger portion on Friday, and the Cold Salon, or Skills Set, and Hot Salon, or the Four Course Menu on Saturday.  We fought long and hard all weekend, and in the end brought home a bronze medal for the school.
            On Sunday our team was given the opportunity to attend the last day of the conference at the Downtown Marriot. At 8a.m. I attended a lecture on Avocado’s and received several recipes and new ideas using this amazing little fruit. Next I attended a demonstration presented by the Sterno Group. This lecture was on fire, literally! The last two lectures I attended were focused on competitions. The International Competition lecture was focused on the strategies and mindsets needed for success in competitions here in the U.S. and abroad. It was given by the Vice-President of the A.A.C., or the American Academy of Chef’s, the fraternal order of distinguished chef’s inside the A.C.F., and it was awesome! The last lecture was presented by the members of the A.C.F. Competition Committee. Each and every one of them served as judges during the competition this weekend. I learned a tremendous amount of information that will definitely help me and members of this school compete and win at a very high level.
            The high points of the weekend for me were of course the competition itself, but also the lectures, and the chance to meet many professional chef’s that serve as the judges and the leadership of A.C.F. For example, I got the chance to shake the hand of the National President of A.C.F.! As an aspiring chef, just to be in the same room with these individuals and to listen to their comments and suggestions was truly an honor and privilege. To my fellow students, I would highly recommend joining the A.C.F. It can only help you in your career goals and make you a better chef. Also, think about trying out for next year’s T.C.A. Culinary Team. We can use all the talented, disciplined, and dedicated personnel we can get. It’s a great way to represent the school and practice the techniques you’ll use in the real world. I’m already making plans to attend next year’s Central Regional Conference in 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. You should too!  
Written by Anthony Dick                                                                                                               

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Random thoughts I've had today . . .

  • Is there a difference between comprising and a win/win resolution?
  • Why can’t I seem to remember to ask for ketchup before I drive away from the drive-thru window?
  • Is it possible to be a Tweetaholic? If so, where can I send some folks for meetings?
  • I have got to have at least 2 pieces of cheese on my grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Do we even know what came first – the chicken or the egg – or are we really confused?
  • Do you cringe when you hear customer service reps say they don’t like people or is it just me?
  • What’s the worst that could happen for holding people accountable? Never mind, don’t answer that – I know.
  • I wonder if I could make money off of showing the world the proper way to eat an Oreo. There is really only one way!
  • “Keep your head up. Things are going to get easier.” Tupac

Jokima Hiller, MBA, Hospitality & Restaurant
Management Program Coordinator
The Chef's Academy on the Web
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Student Faye Williams Micro Blog

Micro blog submitted by student Faye Williams. Faye also was recently named The Chef's Academy Student of the Term for day classes!

Attending The Chef's Academy later in life, after being a Paralegal for 10 years was a bit daunting for me to say the least. Will I have the same opportunities as my younger, fellow students? Will I be able to get a job? Will I be able to make good grades, even though it has been over 20 years since I last attended school? These were just a few of the questions swirling in my head. With determination, a firm goal in mind and the drive to succeed, I have realized that I, as well as anyone attending The Chef's Academy can accomplish any thing, no matter what. "For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible". Frédérick Jézégou

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chef Brian malarkey coming to The Chef's Academy

Meeting Planners International
The Chef's Academy

Presents Bravo TV Top Chef Brian Malarkey
Chef Brian will be visiting The Chef's Academy on April 16th 2010 to perform cooking demos and to talk with The Chef’s Academy students for a Q & A session after the cooking demo with Meeting Planners International.
Bio for Guest Speaker Chef Brian Malarkey
As an award-winning Executive Chef, Brian Malarkey’s passion for food and entertaining is the driving force behind his pursuits in both the culinary and entertainment industry. Malarkey is no stranger to the world of television and reality and culinary programming. In 2007, he was cast as a contestant on Bravo’s Emmy-nominated series, “Top Chef 3 Miami,” where he advanced to the finale gaining national recognition for his talents, high-energy and captivating charm. This was the country’s first, but certainly not their last, glimpse into what makes Malarkey one of the country’s favorite chefs.
Malarkey’s has been involved in various endorsement opportunities, including a series of Diet Dr. Pepper commercials; a joint-promotion with Wal-Mart, Kingsford® Charcoal, GLAD, KC Masterpiece® and Hidden Valley® Ranch; a sponsorship by Chef Works and Beringer Wines. Malarkey also developed a menu for Fresh Dining, Southern California's leading purveyor of daily, home-delivered gourmet meals. In the coming months he will emcee the National SushiMasters competition in Los Angeles, be a guest celebrity chef on a Holland America Cruise sponsored by Food & Wine Magazine, demonstrate at the Charleston Food & Wine Festival, headline both San Diego and Martha’s Vineyard Wine & Food Festivals and much more.
In 2004, Malarkey relocated to southern California to open The Oceanaire in San Diego as Executive Chef and Operating Partner. Since the restaurant’s opening it has received more than 60 industry awards, including Malarkey’s Gold Medallion for Chef of the Year and Best Seafood-Fine Dining (2006-2009), San Diego’s Best Chef (2009), Zagat Top Ten Restaurants (2007), Wine Spectator Award of Excellence (2005-2008), and the DiRoNA Award of Excellence.
Malarkey is opening his first restaurant in summer 2010, working on two cookbooks and writing a weekly blog on BRAVOTV.com and SanDiegoMagazine.com where he dishes about all things culinary. He is available for demos, special events and dinner parties, cooking classes, speaking opportunities, TV appearances, endorsements and more.

Malarkey currently resides in San Diego with his beautiful wife, Chantelle, their first child Hunter, AKA “Boots” and their two dogs Porter and Stella.
Students are to arrive at 11:00 and head to room 104 to view cooking demo followed by an open Q & A session

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Chef's Academy "Who's Left Cooking" Competition

This post is to present the rules and guidelines of the "Who's Left Cooking" student competition that is going to be taking place in April.

The Chef’s Academy “Who’s Left Cooking?” Competition
• 16 teams, 3 people on a team. All teams must pre-register and PRE-PAY in order to reserve their spot in the competition. Each team should have a name.
• Cost: $10/person or $30/team
• Each team gets a mystery box with ingredients. The mystery boxes will be created by Chef Tony.
• All items in the box have to be used to create the dish, and all of the waste has to be measured. The amount of waste each team produces will be part of the scoring.
• There will be a community pantry that the teams will be allowed to use to supplement their dishes, however, the items will be very basic (butter, oil, seasonings, flour, etc.).
• No outside food or beverages will be allowed in the competition.
• All teams are responsible for cleaning up their station at the end of every round. The judges will be inspecting the cleanliness of the area and it will factor in to the team’s score at the end of each round.
• Teams are NOT allowed to use their own china. Everyone must use the china provided by The Chef’s Academy.
• Judges will be selected by Chef Tony and will be local artisans.
• The winners will receive an ACF student membership.
There will be 4 rounds, each round will last 1 hour:
Round 1: Appetizer
Round 2: Fish
Round 3: Protein/Entree
Round 4: Dessert

The teams and the start times will be decided by luck of the draw. We will have two hats: one hat containing the names of the teams, and the second hat with the start times. Leslie Hale will pick the names and times out of the hats. You will be notified what your time slot is once it has been determined.

Round 1 begins at 8am on Friday, April 16, 2010. There will be sixteen teams competing in round 1. We will stagger the teams in groups of 4. The first heat will begin at 8am, second heat will begin at 10am, third heat will begin at 12pm, and the fourth heat will begin at 2pm. At the end of the first round, there will only be eight teams left, the other eight will be eliminated.

Round 2 begins at 8am on Friday, April 23, 2010. There will be eight teams competing in round 2. We will stagger the teams again in groups of 4. The first heat will begin at 8am, and the second heat will begin at 10am. At the end of the second round, there will only be four teams left, the other four will be eliminated.

Round 3 and 4 will take place on Friday, April 30, 2010. The third round will have four teams competing. All four teams will compete at the same time beginning at 8am. After the third round, two teams will be eliminated and the other two teams will move on to round 4.

The fourth round will take place directly after the third round, and there will be two teams competing. The winner of this round will be the winner of the competition, and WHO’S LEFT COOKING!

Monday, March 22, 2010

That's Not My Job!

Have you heard the story about the Body Family - Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody?

“There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry with that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody have done.”

How would a hotel or any business in the
hospitality industry fair if this was how they operated?

In an industry that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days out of the year, the Somebody carrying out the important job must be Everybody! This is teamwork and without it the business fails. Each of us working for a company, although hired to perform specific tasks must be willing to help out and support all areas of the organization. At the moment we say, “that’s not my job”, we limit our usefulness and value to our co-workers, guests, and company. Taking care of our guests and each other is Everybody’s job.

I had a director of sales who’d joke quite often about being responsible for “booking, cooking, setting, and serving”! Not only did she bring in the business but, she took care of them during their stay. There was no task she was not capable or willing to do. Several times as general manager, guests would ask me what don’t I do? . . . I’ve checked them in, brought them pool towels, delivered their rollaway, made them fresh coffee in the morning, emptied the lobby trash, and then checked them out. As General Manager, I generally did some of everything! Front Desk Clerks – what would you do if a guest asked for a new set of sheets and wanted assistance in making the bed? Is that your job? Server – what would you do if you were asked to plunge the toilet in the women’s restroom?  Is that your job?  Maintenance – what would you do if you were asked to take out the trash in the breakfast room? Is that your job? “That’s not my job” should be stricken from our vocabulary. Let’s say –

“What else can I do?”
“How can I help?”
“Let me do it!”
“I’ll take care of it!”

Listen up – instead of risking Nobody doing what Anybody could do, Somebody which is Everybody should jump at the chance to do what it takes to satisfy the customer. In many cases, if this doesn’t happen, a new family member named “Busybody” will be sent to replace “Everybody!”

Jokima Hiller, MBA, Hospitality & Restaurant
Management Program Coordinator

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Career Services Director Joshua Horrigan Micro-blog

Our Career Services director, Joshua Horrigan recently attended a taping with Guy Fieri.  Josh forwarded this information about his visit:

"I went to Cincinnati yesterday to witness the taping of dinners, drive inns, and dives with Guy Fieri from The Food Network


 It was awesome. I visited Terry’s Turf Club a place that’s famous for Burgers. I got to sample the fillet mignon chili, and three burgers. The chili was cooked in a bank vault and stirred with a canoe ore.
1.       Angus burger with burgundy wine sauce, blue cheese crumbs and caramelized onions
2.       Angus burger with Thai peanut sauce and sautéed banana peppers
3.       Angus burger with fois gras and balsamic syrup"

Student Advisory Board member Patrick Rose microblog

Working for a catering company that serves students everyday, which also does events, I come into contact with a lot of food. This week however was really cool. My boss/ executive chef had to leave for another branch. So for my station he said, “make a pasta dish and have fun with it.” I decided that I would make a chicken fettuccine Alfredo, served with an assortment of green vegetables topped with fresh shredded Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper. I have never seen my station as busy as it was that night. One of the students that ate my dish came up to me when I got off and said,
“You’re in school to be a chef right?”
I answered, “Yeah I am, why?”
“Because you are a really good cook, nobody else that works here takes care of us as well as you do.” Before I could respond he was already walking away. It is times and situations like these that all the stress of the culinary field is worth it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

99 Years of “Good Things to Eat!”

Greetings Readers!

Usually, in every industry, there is a first or a pioneer that opens doors or begins a process or starts the ball rolling. And, I guess today’s African-American cookbook authors, Jeff Henderson and Patti Labelle owe a great thanks to Rufus Estes for being the first to publish his recipes for the general public. This month I am celebrating 99 years of “Rufus Estes’ Good Things to Eat!”

Rufus was born in 1857 as a slave and 54 years later produced a cookbook in 1911. This book contains almost 600 recipes! He offers up recipes for everything from fruit paste and lemon sherbet to mince meat and cheese soufflés. The setup of his book makes it a very easy read. . . Rufus starts with a section entitled “a sketch of my life” where he summarizes his growth through the industry starting at age 16 on to becoming the “chef of the subsidiary companies of the United States Steel Corporation in Chicago.” All in all, Rufus talks very little about topics outside of food! The next section of his book goes right into hints and suggestions for kitchen cooks followed by a “table of weights and measures.” The rest of the book is recipes. I am putting the cookbook back on our library shelves so YOU can be the next person to check it out! Plus, I’ve already read it twice.

Other writings worthy of celebrating are “Soul Food Classic Cuisine from the Deep South” by Sheila Ferguson. The section entitled “If You See It, Shoot It” has certainly piqued my interest! In fact, I’ll tell you now – it reminds me of my uncle EJ. While growing up I got a chance to try a variety of different types of foods because uncle EJ caught and cooked up almost anything that crossed his path. At any point in time, you could open his freezer and find possum, or pig’s feet, or squirrel, and some other unidentified frozen meals! “Living off the fat of the land,” a practiced belief of Ferguson’s grandfather has been a common occurrence in many African-American families.

My next selections are “African American Foodways-Explorations of History & Culture.” It is edited by Anne L. Bower who explores how in spite of its passage from West Africa; African Americans today still value the food of Africa as symbolic. Finally, in “Black Hunger”, author Doris Witt writes how food stereotypes have historically shaped debates between races. All of these books are available in our Learning Resource Center! Whether for pleasure or enlightenment - these books are great reads.

Jokima Hiller, MBA, Hospitality & Restaurant
Management Program Coordinator
Blog Editor - Dorenda Roberson, MA, Instructor

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Miniblog from student Scott Rollins

Having a family member volunteer you to cook dinner for 25 girl scouts and their families was a bit scary. Having only cooked for about 10 people at the most, I was a little worried. But I used the skills of team work developed in the kitchen environment at The Chef's Academy to help me through this scary task. I gathered up a couple of girl scouts to help with the prep work. After a quick knife skills lesson we were off and running. The girls did a great job on prep and I used the confidence of cooking larger amounts of food, learned at school, to help me pull off a very successful dinner. Without the learning and confidence I gained as a student of The Chef's Academy, I would have never been able to do cooking that good on a meal that large. Trust what you are learning in school to be amongst the best you can learn from. And volunteer to put that learning to good practice, it will pay off for you down the road.