Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Student Micro Blog: Jorge Zarate - Arenas

What is Revolution Day?
Food Revolution Day” on May 17th is a global day of action for people to make a stand for good food and essential cooking skills. It's a chance for people to come together within their homes, schools, workplaces and communities to cook and share their kitchen skills, food knowledge and resources. Food Revolution Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of good food and better food education for everyone by focusing on three simple actions – cook it, share it, live it (Better Food Foundation, 2013). (
Hello everyone.  My name is Jorge Zarate.  Today, I want to share with you this information that can help anyone who is at risk for a heart attack and for general knowledge to all of us, especially the new generations.  Chef Jamie Oliver started a movement on May 19, 2012 called Food Revolution Day.  I presented a persuasive speech in my Presentation Skills class on this topic.  I firmly believe and share the opinion of Jamie Oliver to promote a sustainable culture to educate new and existing generations to fight obesity and bad eating habits, as well as to promote, educate, and share the basic skills of cooking food with our families, friends, and people that surround us. This topic inspired me to such a degree that I shared this information with my class instructors, classmates and the student advisory board members.  We can make our own group to support this cause and be part of this annual international event, the International Food Revolution Day, which for this year was on May 17.  Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to hold this event at our school this year.  Nevertheless, the seed has been planted and I hope that the next year, I would be available to come back here and join in this noble cause and help grant Jamie Oliver’s dream of achieving his goal, which he describes as follows.
         “I wish for everyone to help create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity”

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Student Micro Blog: Sean Hall


Hello TCA! This blog is about the US Foods Show, which was held this year at the Raleigh Convention Center on April 30th. US Foods are a foodservice distributer that services a number of kitchens and other facilities as well as the kitchens here at TCA. Not only does US Foods serve its own private brands, it also serves over 350,000 national products.

The US Foods Show is an event held at major cities around the United States, several times a year and is a showcase for thousands upon thousands of different foods items as well as culinary uniforms, cooking equipment, menu designs and just about anything else culinary related. One of the major benefits of attending these shows is seeing brand new products coming into the kitchen scene, as well as having a representative explain the product in great detail.

The other major benefits are the networking experiences and the sampling. Samples of food range from simple organic sodas to new sausage casings or to even newly developed gluten-free products. Also offered are hundreds of fresh samples of regularly available US Foods and national brand items. Do not plan on eating before attending a show!

Shows are held periodically throughout the year, so please pay attention to any signage, Chefs or staff mentioning opportunities to go to the show and participate as a volunteer or even as a contestant in a Chefs Demo just like several students from the NC TCA campus were able to. It is an exciting and fun experience that you will be vowing to return to again and again!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Student Micro Blog: Jerome Moody Jr.

Good morning all, lets talk about friends in life and in the cooking industry. Over the past year I have be able to meet some awesome culinarians.  These are people that love food, making food and the overall enjoyment of food.  Since i started down this journey at The Chef's Academy I have stepped into a world of true friends that have your back when times get hot.  I remember a time in the kitchen at school that a dish of mine was just wrong and a friend of my took out there time to help me fix it on the fly.  Never once did that friend ask for anything in return.  They were just there to lead a extra pair of hands to help me put out a great dish on time.  At work, over the past 2 weeks I have been training on saute.  My co-workers have taken the time to be patient and understanding that I am new to that station.  Without them I would be for a lack of a better word " A deer in the head lights".  They have taken there knowledge and time to help me become a better culinarian.  So when you feel like life is beating you down and the kitchen is to hot to handle, turn to a friend and they can help you get through that troubling time.

Jerome Moody Jr
Culinary Student
The Chef's Academy

Friday, March 22, 2013

Student Micro Blog: Carl Ciprian

The hardest lesson for me to coming to The Chef’s Academy was learning my knife skills. Being able to rough chop things was already a skill I had, but being able to do it accurately is a whole different story. Knife skills is one skill that you will be doing for the rest of your life. I’ve made some bad knife cuts, and I’ve made some good ones. Will you always make the perfect cut with precision accuracy and speed? No, everyone will make mistakes whether you have just started your first day, or you have practiced knife skills your whole life. For every knife cut you make, you are improving yourself, and the quality of your work. So get out there and practice, practice, practice! Also be sure to have some Band-Aid’s and finger cots nearby!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Student Micro Blog: Cassandra Bellinger

What I like most about my kitchen courses is how wonderful the chefs are. The chef’s are always willing to assist and encourage you when you make a mistake. I feel that having chef’s that are passionate gives me a better educational experience. The chef’s makes it so easy for you to come and talk to them. They never intimidate you or make you feel like you are asking a dumb question. I appreciate the sense of urgency that is instilled in us because that’s what we will experience out in the industry. I enjoyed experimenting with different foods that I’ve never eaten before. Even though this is my second term I have l learned so much about cooking on a professional level. I’m so eager to see what exciting new things that is in store for me next term. My advice I have for students is, when you enter the kitchen and working in your groups, make sure you try to keep a positive attitude. In the kitchen everyone will not agree on everything. It’s important to have communication within your group. Trust me; things will be a lot easier. Don’t let the disagreement in the kitchen make you lose sight of what you want to achieve at TCA. Stay focused. Remember, there is no “I” in teamwork. I will end my blog with this quote by Bill Bradley: “Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it (Bill Bradley).”


Friday, March 1, 2013

Micro Blog: Toni-Rain Miller

As a relatively new student to the school, I found it important to become as active as possible in school activities, events, and clubs.  My participation in various events helped me to meet new people and acquainted me with the wonderful opportunities offered to students at The Chef’s Academy.  I am in my second term, and I found volunteering for various events exposed me to a lot more hands-on experiences in the culinary field that I would have never been made aware of if I had not become actively involved in the Student Advisory Board.
           I have learned from several instructors that 90% of the culinary field involves how you connect, network, and work well with others.  One may be highly skilled in cutting techniques or brazing various meats, but if you do not take advantage of opportunities afforded to you it can slow down your rate of success in the culinary field.  Having said that, I encourage everyone, even those with hectic schedules to make time to become active in school events or clubs; it may very well open the door to your future and a successful life in the culinary field.       

My Thoughts,

Toni-Rain Miller     

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Micro Blog: Carly Hall

Are you a new student at TCA… about some advice?
By: Carly Hall (second term)

I shall begin with the obvious….wash and press your uniform regularly.  Hem your pants. Make sure you trim your nails.  Sharpen your knives.  Wash your hands.  Wear your hat when entering the kitchen.  Please make sure you get all of your hair under your hat. Take your apron and towels off before entering the restroom.  Always keep a spare uniform close by. Write your recipes. Read your recipes. Don’t try to get anything past the Chef’s… won’t work.  Have fun.

Now for the less obvious…. You will have to take classes other than just kitchen. It would be in your best interest to volunteer for events. If you do not know something, ask.  Be on time for class.  Don’t miss class. Be professional. Be respectful.  You aren’t always going to get along with your classmates.   You aren’t going to be able to cook like you do at home.  Write your recipes. Read your recipes.  Learn how to convert recipes. Taste your food as you go.  Wear gloves. Don’t be afraid to salt your dishes.  Read the chapters you are assigned. Don’t be nervous (I’m still working on this one and it’s obvious, isn’t it Chef A?).  Learn your LAND OF G!  Have fun.

Some of you may be starting college for the first time and others may be making a career change but whatever your reason for going to school, you are now walking into the halls of TCA as first term students. Congratulations! This is a school where you can get a $47,000 education or a $147,000 education….it’s all up to you (Thanks for the motivation Chef Eric). You will learn a lot about yourself in the first term.  Can you do this?  You will soon find out.  What do you want to do when you graduate?  Don’t know yet? Then take your time and see what unfolds. You have never heard of that food?  Try it and see if you like it. You can’t make a sunny-side up egg?  You will after your first term.  Also know that it is very difficult to prank Chef Eddie.

Don’t question your ability to learn and grow.  Have trust in yourself and you will do things you never imagined. When I read this quote from Brian Andreas it reminded me of how I felt during my first term.  The first time her laughter unfurled its wings in the wind, we knew that the world would never be the same. I knew my world would never be the same when I left the social work field and entered culinary school.  I hoped my new choices in life would bring me the happiness I was seeking and thus far, it has.  Every day I wake up with a smile on my face and the excitement of learning something new.  Now is the time to make your decisions…will culinary school make you smile and ignite your passions too?

Remember the Land of G…1 Gallon = 4 Quarts = 8 Pints = 16 cups = 256 Tablespoons = 768 Teaspoons
Burn it in your brain!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Micro Blog: Ellen Davinson

Get Out of your way!
My blog is about my first steps getting started at TCA.
I hated school… In high school I was bored out of my mind! My favorite classes were art and gym. I turned 16 and a magical new opportunity called a GED was now an option. I got a ride to Wake Tech, took the test and passed it in one week. I went to high school and turned in my books.
I worked at a crappy job but I stuck with it and ended up moving from the bottom to the top. I had worked at fast food kitchens part time on and off and I liked it. I always brought in food for people I worked with and they all said I should sell what I made. I loved cooking and I had wanted to check out school programs for cooking but everyone said I would hate it! They said I only liked cooking because that was what I did for fun; I would hate it if I cooked for a living. That stuck in my head and I didn’t pursue that dream for years! Well, the company I worked for went bankrupt!  I was good at what I did but I didn’t like it. So here is where it all started!
I was sitting at home with my two kids that were home for the summer. I was watching TV and a commercial came on about TCA. I got mad at the TV thinking “Why do they keep showing this place if it’s not located around here?” I saw the commercial for the second time and I decided to call only to find out it is in Morrisville!!! I talked to Ashley and the next day I was coming in with my kids for a tour!   I thought “Oh Great, here comes the sales pitch: we are this, we are that, it’s so easy.” Nope! She said, “Here are the kitchens, here is what we offer, it’s up to you!” Class started in a week and it was $50.00 to hold your spot.
All the former doubts rolled back in my mind. You can’t, you will hate it, you can’t afford it, you won’t fit in, this is nuts!!!! I breathed in looked at my kids and I thought just jump! I signed the check and was set up for orientation! Now when I talk to all of the people who said I shouldn’t, couldn’t…. They say wow they wish they could do it!
My point is simple. Get out of your own way quit holding yourself back! The people who said they wish they could follow their dreams can do so! They just have to GET OUT OF THEIR OWN WAY.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Micro Blog: “Why Understanding Wine Matters to a Chef ” Mary Margaret McCamic

It’s easy to come to culinary school and focus on only one thing: food. So where does wine come in, and why does it matter? 

Wine, like food, is all about balance. A lemon bar is filled with sugar, but the lemon’s acidity makes it less cloying. A too bitter radicchio salad can be brought back to life with a little bit of honey. Evaluating wine is very similar - a truly great wine isn't defined by how sweet or dry it is, by how much alcohol it contains, by its acidity level, or by how fruity it is or isn't  It is how these components work together that really matters. This is balance.

Ultimately, wine becomes like an ingredient in a dish; a great chef must consider what wines will best partner with his or her cuisine. It seems only logical that the person creating the food should also be able to talk about how this final ingredient – wine – can enhance the meal. A restaurant that depends on spicy ingredients
could benefit from a wine by the glass with a little residual sugar. The sugar can soften heat and allow your palate to enjoy the other flavors. A crème brulée is even more delicious when sipping a glass of tawny port because it complements the caramelized sugar. Separately, great wine and food can be incredible. Imagine what can happen they work together.

Mary Margaret McCamic, DWS

Friday, January 25, 2013

Micro Blog: Something to Think About By Chef Antonio Alano

Professionalism and humility go a long way. It is the way that we carry ourselves in and out of our kitchens, whether it is at school, home, or at work. Sometimes being professional and humble are the qualities that allow us to reach that next promotion.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, professionalism is defined as the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well. Humility is defined as the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people, the quality or state of being humble, or not being too proud. Two simple words and philosophies that absolutely go hand in hand in the kitchens today,especially with all the exposure from the media and the internet. Being professional and humble become a way of life for restaurants
and their employees.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Micro Blog: Wine for Thought by Mary Margaret McCamic

When the weather warms up and the grill comes out, I reach for a certain category of wine without thinking twice: rosé. I drink it all year-round, of course, but I’m often surprised when others don’t share in my enthusiasm; I hope the pleas that follow can convince readers that rosé is a genre of wine they must try.

Let me first address the gentlemen, and let me be clear: there’s nothing more charming than a man holding a glass of rosé. It tells onlookers two things: one, you don’t buy into the ridiculous stereotype that only ladies drink pink wines, and two, you might actually know something about wine. Because people who truly understand wine know that rose is as diverse and serious a category of wine as white, red, or sparkling, and it includes so much more than White Zinfandel.

I broaden my address to both ladies and gentlemen now, and I politely ask you all to forget the rumors you’ve heard about rosé always being sweet. We can thank the aforementioned White Zinfandel (a known trouble-maker) for that nasty reputation, a wine so popular in its sticky sweetness that it has masked the truth that rosé can be-gasp-bone dry. Such dry examples might include those from France’s Provence, where locals drink their pale, salmon-colored rosé wines like water. Notes of mineral and tangy, tart cranberry can dance on your tongue, and such styles are the perfect accompaniment to fresh, chilled seafood, like shrimp.

If you aren’t afraid of a bit more color in your pink wine, might I suggest trying styles from Argentina or Chile? Here, grapes like Malbec and Syrah shine with their supple red fruits and soft spices. They are fruity not sweet-and the perfect companion for burgers fresh off the grill or foods with a little heath. Have I tempted you enough? 

Shall I goon? I could, but alas, a glass of rosé is waiting-where’s yours?

Mary Margaret McCamic, DWS

Friday, January 4, 2013

Micro Blog: Kelsey Monahan

My sister and I are extremely close in many ways. We are only 15 months apart in age, actually choose to hang out with each other, and have both found the loves of our lives. I think we look nothing alike, but many people say that they can tell that we are sisters. It wasn’t that long ago when we couldn’t even stand being in the same room. We fought constantly, I’m talking knock down drag out fighting. Despite it all I love her dearly and don’t know what I would do without her. I come from a family that loves to cook, and while it appears that I inherited the “good at cooking” gene, it totally skipped over my sister. We are talking like couldn’t figure out how to make frozen orange juice. Her culinary expertise covers boxed mac and cheese, hot pockets, and frozen pizza. Despite the messing up of pasta-roni, forgetting to put milk in the corn chowder, not being able to make frozen orange juice without calling mom; she has begun trying to be more of a little Susie home maker for her beau. Because of this, for Christmas, my family and I have decided to get her many “gag gifts” this year. From a step by step Anyone Can Cook book, complete with pictures and video, to wooden spoons and rubber spatulas. Just to cover our bases, we also got her beau a first aid kit and some tums. With all of this, it promises to be an entertaining Christmas and interesting attempts of cooking by my sister.
Happy Holidays!