Culinary school has always been a fascination to me. People from all walks of life end up in school to train how to stand behind a hot stove for long hours. Why?
Making of a Chef, Columbus State Style
Columbus State has a dual approach of intense classroom instruction combined with 6000 hours of apprentice work. Students learn about everything from sanitation to accounting, and menu planning to food preparation in the culinary apprenticeship program. They graduate with an associates degree and three years of restaurant experience.
By the time I met the third year students in the International Cuisine class I observed, they knew their way around the well-stocked kitchen. Prep work was focused and jolly. Students sought the advice of instructor James Taylor, Certified Executive Chef, as needed.
I chatted with students about their aspirations. Many were looking forward to continuing in their apprentice kitchens after graduation. One wants to find a place in a military base, as her husband recently enlisted in the Army. Another hopes to continue on to a fine pastry school, such as the Le Cordon Blue.
Taylor provided some additional insight into why a person might come to CSCC: for the confidence to cook great things. Taylor teaches students that a “recipe isn’t a be all, end all thing – it doesn’t excuse you from using your brain.”
Joking voices were replaced by pans clanking on stove grates and the sizzle of meat on the grill as the plating deadline approached. The teaching kitchen was a whir of activity.
Students delivered their dishes to a central table where they were gently critiqued by Taylor. The chefs-to-be analyzed their own work too, guessing why dishes prepared with the same recipe looked different and evaluating plating looks. Students practiced using the dish tank before serving themselves. As we tasted the dishes together, the students were clearly exhausted but endeared to this program.
Taste the Future
Low tuition is a hallmark of the community college system, as is a strong scholarship system. Taste the Future is Columbus State’s nod to their successful culinary program and their biggest community fund raising event.
At Taste the Future, visitors enjoy drinks, music, and tastes of the finest dishes chefs have to offer. Many participants are CSCC graduates who return at Taste to give back to their school. Read the Hounds in the Kitchen 2009 Taste the Future recap for an idea of what the event entails.
This year’s Taste the Future will be held on September 13, 2011 from 5:30 to 9 pm. Tickets are $100 each, available online or by calling 614-287-2436.
Giveaway (Now Closed)
Wish you could spend an evening sampling chefs’ best at Taste the Future? You can! Organizers provided me with two pairs of tickets to giveaway.
To enter, leave a comment below with the offering you most wish to try at Taste the Future 2011. The menu of dishes is expanding every day.
Contest entries close at 12:01 AM EST on Tuesday, September 6. Two winners will be selected with random.org. Winners will have 24 hours to respond to email notification with their mailing address for delivery of the tickets.
Winners must have a US address. Only one entry per person please.
Retail value of each pair of tickets is $200. Tickets are for the 2011 Taste the Future event held on September 13, 2011 at Columbus State Community College Downtown campus, 550 East Spring Street, Columbus, OH 43215.
Disclosure: I received a pair of tickets to Taste the Future, a tour, lunch, and tastes at the cooking class. All opinions are my own.