Friday, October 28, 2011

Micro-Blog from Terry Rusch

First Day of Culinary School or is it Basic Training?
October 17, 2011
I wake up 5:45 AM: got to get ready for the first day at The Chef's Academy.  Shower...check...shave...check…brush teeth...check.... deodorant...check...fingernails cut and clean...check.  Put my freshly starched and pressed The Chef's Academy uniform with pants and chef's coat on. Wow, look at that crease in the sleeves and pant legs!  Black Croc's cleaned and polished, black socks, fold and iron the neckerchief and put it on, tie it just like a necktie,  got my skullcap and apron.  Books?...check…chef's knife kit?...check..Wow, it's like déjà vu, why does this all seem eerily familiar? Uniform, hat, black shoes/boots and a weapon(s)?

6:55 AM: start the drive to school and I’m nervous.

7:05AM: arrive at TCA, meet some of the new and old students, everyone is looking sharp and new. Everything is hectic and scattered right now, everyone is wondering, "Do I have everything I am supposed to? Where do we go or who do we talk to?" 

7:30 AM: first class: Strategies for Success with Mary Margaret McCamic. Everyone introduces themselves and it seems everyone is from all over and very diverse: New York, Ohio, California, NC, SC, VA, Canada even?  Again this all seems so familiar. The class is very enlightening and helps you to believe in yourself and to succeed in reaching all of your life's goals and dreams.  

9:40 AM: get out of class head to Kitchen Basics after everyone fumbles with their lockers and does a last minute check on everything from books to uniform, to appearance to ...weapons...err I mean knife kit.  

9:50 AM: get to kitchen class and we meet Chef Rusty Nichols and Chef Paul. Wow these guys look like us except their uniforms are slightly different, they have a designation or rank on their coats and a BIG Chef's hat?  Déjà vu again. Chef Rusty introduces himself and tells us all to line up for inspection, wow we are all toeing the line. Chef is inspecting us all, déjà vu?  I got it, this is what it felt like going into the Army, brand new Privates with a Drill Sergeant/Drill Instructor BUT we are all soldiers in a Chef's Academy uniform (like BDU's which protect us), our weapon is a set of knives instead of an M16, our battlefield will be the kitchen. Chef inspects us all, "Hey first and only warning son, clean shaved tomorrow! Black socks and plain white t-shirt only Miss! Those shoes are not acceptable for the kitchen!"  Wow Chef Rusty (First Sergeant head of Kilo Company/Kitchen Company) and Chef Paul (Platoon Sergeant) are like Drill Sergeants but respectful to the students/soldiers, and even Chef Wilson (He would have to be Commanding Officer/CO for the Company) and Chef Bane (General of 2nd Kitchen Battalion) inspect, greet and welcome us to Basic...err I mean The Chef's Academy.

Wow, it really is like being in the military again and in basic training. I have my Platoon with 32 total soldiers in training. My squad of Private Tyler, Private Chris, Private Jerry and Corporal Vince (he served sometime in the field already in another branch).  There is such a camaraderie with everyone in class, everyone is from different backgrounds BUT, we are all here for the same reason… to graduate and become chef's or restaurant/business owners in the restaurant industry.  We have all each other’s backs and help one another just like a military soldier, instead of going into battle, we go into the kitchen, work fast and efficiently. Team work is key and work with our knives(weapons) and all the kitchen equipment, battle  through the elements , constantly learning so we can provide a service to our country or should I say to our customers.  We started with 32 and it seems a few went AWOL but the remaining few, the Proud will become The Chef's Academy graduates and follow our dreams in the culinary field!  It feels great to be a part of this school and part of an Army/Kitchen Brigade. Hopefully someday become a General (aka Executive Chef), just got to get through Basic training, then go to battle starting from dishwasher all the way through the stations as station chef, sous chef and work my way up to fulfill my dreams of cooking and making people happy with food.  Let me end this LONG blog with this...

Culinarian's Code
"As a proud member of the American Culinary Federation, I pledge to share my professional knowledge and skill with all culinarians. I will place honor, fairness, cooperation and consideration first when dealing with my colleagues. I will keep all comments professional and respectful when dealing with my colleagues. I will protect all members from the use of unfair means, unnecessary risks and unethical behavior when used against them for another's personal gain. I will support the success, growth, and future of my colleagues and this great federation."
*Adopted by the ACF at Board of Governors August, 2010

Signing off  Out.. Hooooah!
Private/Culinary Student Terry Kim Rusch and One Day... General/Chef Terry Kim Rusch
The Chef's Academy North Carolina

Monday, October 24, 2011

Micro-Blog from Nii Okine

On the beautiful fall morning of October 9, staff and students from The Chef’s Academy (TCA), participated in The Walk for Hope event sponsored by The Angus Barn. This annual event raises community awareness and monetary funding for treatment for mental illness, post traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. The city of Raleigh was out in full force with 3,000 walkers and runners in attendance. TCA contributed by lending a helping hand as volunteers with some of the prep and kitchen work. Our team cooked around 5,000 hamburgers to help feed the hungry mass of people who came to support this cause. The Chef’s Academy is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this annual event, and we hope to have an even larger school presence next year.

Nii Okine
The Chef's Academy North Carolina Culinary Student

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Baby is Born!

Greetings Everyone!
Well, I had no idea how emotional I would be as this special day approached . . . but, it is the night before and I can’t sleep!  The feeling I guess is similar to that of an expectant mother about to go into labor . . . my breath is short, the anticipation of what is going to happen is overwhelming.  All I need now is for someone to say push!  Tomorrow, Monday, October 17, 2011 will go down in history as we launch our Hospitality & Restaurant Management (HRM) ONLINE program.  My baby is born. . .
It is an amazing feeling when dreams come true.  I have thought about this moment in time for almost three years and worked feverishly with my team for the past year getting things in order to make this happen.  I am very proud of the work that we’ve done and are doing to bring this bachelor’s degree curriculum to the online environment.  Gwen Hasse, HRM Lead Instructor and I stayed up late many nights researching, benchmarking, writing course descriptions, changing objectives, revising lesson plans, updating and making projects relevant.  Together we poured our passions, talents, and time into this project hoping that it would all be approved, come to fruition, and be the kind of opportunity a student and his or her employer could benefit from.
It isn’t easy to turn your hard work over to someone and trust that they will handle it with care.  But, that is exactly what Gwen and I had to do.  Brittany Barwegen, HRM Instructional Designer/Instructor has been able to translate our visions into courses for the online student.  With her inquisitive nature and tech savvy ability she has created such interactive creations as the Pineapple Pad!   She’s been able to incorporate video, animation, and audio to keep students not only engaged; but, wanting to learn more and more each day.
Day one, approximately 19 students will meet my first born named HRM1010 Introduction to Hospitality & Industry Trends.  She is 10 weeks long and has a ton of content that will inspire and guide.  This course will feature a classy lady named Penelope Pineapple!  She is the self-proclaimed “Queen of Hospitality.”  She is ready to greet students and share with them all she knows about hospitality, restaurants, and management.
Our online offering is right on time!  Today, more and more industry professionals want to seek higher education but have been bound by time constraints from working in the industry.  Taking classes online however allows them the flexibility to maintain their full-time employment yet have 24/7 access to their classes.
I’ll be looking for opportunities to share with you all HRM1010’s progress.  Come watch her grow in person by joining us!  You still have time to register for classes and be a part of this dream come true.  Or, you can read about HRM1010 and Penelope on Facebook!
Thank you for listening!  I am going to try to sleep now.  PUSH!
Jokima Hiller, Program Coordinator
Hospitality & Restaurant Management

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Micro-Blog from Jessica Vittoria

So…… this is my first blog and I have to say I am excited to be able to have a way to express myself through my education at The Chef’s Academy. Let me start by saying my name is Jessica I am 25 years old, and originally from NJ. I am enjoying all of my time here at The Chefs Academy. The classes are great and, I am learning something new every day. Words can’t express how much I love this school. One of the things I have learned this term had to do with Lou Tice in my Strategies for Success class. Learning the power of my mind and how to embrace nothing but positivity. Also, in my ServSafe class I have learned alot like how to not buy seafood of Neto’s truck. “What a Dirtbag.” In addition, there is my baking and pastry class which I come to love more and more every day. Chef Stolfo is amazing she inspires me so much, and I feel she is always pushing me toward my true potential. I feel the biggest lesson I have learned since starting at The Chef’s Academy is that work may be pain, but pain pays off in pride and passion which makes a great chef. I know I have the passion to succeed in my career, and with help and opportunities from The Chef’s Academy I know that failure is not an option.
                                                                                                                      With a Passion for Pastry,
                                                                                                                                  Jessica Vittoria