Every culinary professor at the off-campus culinary institute is a Certified Master Chef. With a little help and a lot of practice, all culinary students are able to utilize their professor’s priceless knowledge in hopes that they too will become a culinary master.
On any day, if you were to casually walk into the culinary school, you would see students dressed in the typical white chef jackets with the buttons down the front, bustling around the kitchen chopping, stirring and delicately slicing fruit into shapes and arranging them on a platter better than any florist. All students look driven and disciplined in what they are doing.
During the intense four-semester program, students not only learn to cook but how to serve guests and run a restaurant, front to back.
The students learn butchery and baking, among other core classes their first year, then go on to learn a slew of advanced classes, such as hot foods and advanced baking, along with the delicate fine spun sugar mounds and other fine goodies. The culinary program keeps its students busy with several culinary outlets that subsidize some expenses of food costs, including a cafe right in the institute that’s open to any member of the public.
The cafe is open Monday-Friday 10-2 p.m. The cafe dining area has many window facing tables where anyone can come and get delectable, reasonably priced creations by the students.
“Here at the café, we have the lunch crowd from around the office park that we serve. Everything is made here, so there is always food around,” Chelsey Kidd, a student at the institute said.
In addition to the café, the culinary institute has tried to provide every type of experience for the students.
“We not only have an operational cafe here that serves all homemade dishes from as much local ingredients that we can get, but we also cater. Also, we have the Restaurant Forte that is the capstone of our program,” Andrew Corrao, the cafe manager at the institute, said.
The Restaurant Forte is for the senior class, and students learn to cook in a fast paced environment,” said Corrao. Restaurant Forte is located in the UCCU center on the main floor and is a reservation only establishment.
The 2014 Culinary Arts Institute Gala takes place on Feb. 7. This event recognizes students’ accomplishments and raises funds for culinary arts scholarships. They will be serving French cuisine along with a French theme at the event.
Students who graduate from the program go on to find their niche by working for hotels, clubs, corporate dining rooms and health care facilities. The students may also become personal chefs, dieticians or franchise owners. Using the tools that the culinary program offers, students will hopefully translate the knowledge they received into success stories and find the path that’s right for them.
The program is usually full, and there may be a wait list, but there are ways of getting in. Talk with an advisor about your options if you’re interested.
Photos by Laura Fox