Thursday, May 12th, 2016
Guest Blogger: Tammy Jaxtheimer, Program Director, Hampton Roads
Not many freshman at the Culinary Institute of America can boast a resume like 2015 C-CAP alum, Carson Moreland from Hampton Roads, VA. Farm to table may be on-trend, but it has been a way of life for Carson, having grown up working at his mom and step-dad’s The Leaping Lizard Café featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Prior to opening the café, Amy and Bill Prince operated Prince Produce. On the café property they have a greenhouse, gardens of fresh herbs and vegetables, and Amy recently became a beekeeper.
Prior to his CIA experience and wanting to ready himself even more, Carson smartly sought out award-winning chef-owner, Rodney Einhorn of Terrapin in Virginia Beach, a frequent visiting chef at the James Beard House. It is not unusual to see Einhorn at our local Old Beach Farmers Market selling his breads and granola or picking his own vegetables at a local farm in Pungo, the agricultural section of Virginia Beach.
When Carson realized that Einhorn had connections with Chef Vivian Howard, of the Chef & The Farmer restaurant in Kinston, NC, and the PBS series of the same name, he finessed a month-long stage in her kitchen before starting at the CIA. Carson reflects fondly upon the time he rose early to drive his car to Warren Brothers Farm to pick green onions and then travel back with the aroma of earth and sweet onions before cooking the beautiful product.
Carson is hooked on “FTT” (Farm to Table for those out of sync with the internet age.) In his CIA Product Identification class, the chef allows the students to take home the products they have been handling to cook with them in their dorm. Carson often jumps at the chance to bring home ingredients that he may never have worked with such as swiss chard, enoki or shitake mushrooms.
Carson has taken Einhorn’s advice to heart with regards to getting involved right away at the CIA. He jumped right in to re-ignite the C-CAP Club and is a senator for the Student Government Association (SGA), secretary for Slow Food Club and a member of the Charcuterie Club. Remembering fondly his road trips to Warren Brothers Farm, Carson is excited about working with the SGA and the Slow Food Club on providing student opportunities to visit the nearby Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market.
On using fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and products, Carson sees it as a way to support the community and keep the carbon footprint a bit smaller. He firmly believes that local, homegrown produce is better for you, and better tasting, allowing the end product to be far superior.
When I asked Carson what he thought might be his next restaurant post, he shared that he might want to head to the West Coast to do his externship at fellow C-CAP alum’s restaurant Broadway by Amar Santana. If he is lucky enough to make that happen, he looks forward to learning about the farm-to-table abundance that Laguna Beach has to offer.
Thursday, May 5th, 2016
Guest Blogger: Heidi Lee, Culinary Resource Specialist
There are innumerable blessings that come with motherhood; first steps, first words, school days, graduations and so much more. One can only guess how proud Maryann Hills is of her daughter, Theresé, for bringing her entire family together to open My Sweet Blessings Bakery & Bistro in Carefree, AZ.
Theresé attended Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, AZ and began culinary classes her senior year. Theresé’s instructor, Jennie Blomquist, must have sensed a diamond in the rough and insisted she enroll in the C-CAP program in 2008. After competing in the C-CAP Cooking Competition for Scholarships, she won the Barbara Fenzl scholarship.
Theresé went on to earn an associates degree from Scottsdale Community College and worked at Nothing But Noodles and The Herb Box. With C-CAP placement assistance, she then landed the position of Pastry Chef at The Four Seasons Troon North. After several years, she decided to strike out on her own and began selling lemon bars and cheese biscuits at farmers’ markets across the Phoenix metro area. To put it mildly, her baked goods were a hit!
The next logical step was to set up shop. What wasn’t all that logical (or expected) in this day and age was that her entire family jumped on board. Theresé, her 4 siblings and parents are the only employees of My Sweet Blessings Bakery. Her Dad, Joe, is an engineer and created the plans to build out the space; Mom now makes all the soups and her mother’s signature 60-year-old recipe is featured on the menu as Ann Louise Tuna Salad. Brother Andrew, who is also a C-CAP 2013 alum, works closely with his sister in the kitchen, and everyone else wears whatever hats are necessary to prepare outstanding food made with quality ingredients, lots of love and inspiration.
Top picture from left to right: Theresé Hills, Maryann Hills, Ashley Hills, Andrew Hills
My Sweet Blessings Bakery is located at 34250 N. 60th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85266 and is open for breakfast and lunch, Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. They also offer catering and, of course, wedding cakes.
Thursday, April 28th, 2016
Guest Blogger: Keri Fisher
When C-CAP alum Sylva Senat appears on a special Cinco de Mayo-themed episode of Chopped on May 3, it may seem like a natural pairing. After all, he’s the owner of the hugely popular Dos Tacos in Philadelphia, recently named one of the best taco joints in the city by Philadelphia Magazine. But the Haitian-born Senat wasn’t always all about the tacos.
Senat graduated from his New York City high school in 1996 and has since traveled a decidedly international route to where he is today. He’s cooked Swedish food with Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit, French with Jean Georges Vongerichten at Jean Georges, Asian at Stephen Starr’s New York outpost of Buddakan, and Indian at Philadelphia’s Tashan.
But on Cinco de Mayo, as Senat says, “we’re all from Mexico.” Senat wouldn’t reveal what themed ingredients he’ll cook with on May 3 (“Like you, I am anxiously waiting to watch,” he said), but he did share what he’ll be doing two days later on May 5: “This year I plan on having fun with a Barramundi fish special.” He’ll also take his staff out to celebrate with another Cinco de Mayo standard: “As Dos Tacos currently has no Tequila, we will be on the hunt!”
And after tacos and Tequila, there’s no better way to finish than with churros. “It takes some time to pipe these guys,” Senat concedes, “But it’s well worth the effort.”
Dos Tacos Churros with Spiced Mocha Sauce
Spiced Mocha Sauce
1 cup milk
½ cup espresso beans
8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 dried chili
1 teaspoon sugar, plus more for rolling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Vegetable oil, for frying
In a small saucepan bring the milk, espresso beans and chili to a boil and remove from heat instantly. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain the milk into a measuring cup, you should have about 5 ounces.
Wipe out the saucepan, return the milk to it and bring just to a simmer. Off the heat, stir in the chopped chocolate until melted. Whisk the sauce until smooth and transfer to a bowl. Keep warm.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, salt and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Off heat, add the flour all at once and stir until incorporated. Scrape the mixture into a bowl. Using an electric mixer at medium speed beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. Add the vanilla and citrus zests. Scrape the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350°. Working carefully and quickly, pipe about eight 3-inch lengths of batter into the hot oil; use a knife to cut between the pieces. Fry over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. While they are frying, pour sugar on a plate in an even layer. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the churros and let drain for 10 seconds, and then transfer them to the plate of sugar and toss to coat. Repeat with remaining dough. Serve the churros with the mocha sauce.
Thursday, April 21st, 2016
Guest Blogger: Anna Borgman
There’s been a lot of chatter lately about women chefs; why don’t they receive as much critical acclaim as their male counterparts? Do they face more obstacles on their way up the culinary ladder? Are they doing equally as amazing things, but the media just isn’t paying attention?
Like so many gender-related issues, there’s no simple answer, but to begin to understand the current conversation, let’s take a step back. In most cultures, tradition dictated that a woman’s role was to tend the hearth and home, and she was the rare exception who ever set foot in a professional kitchen. But during the 19th and 20th centuries this began to change thanks to trailblazers like Eugenie Brazier and Les Mère Lyonnaises, Julia Child and Alice Waters and perceptions of women in the professional kitchen began to shift. Doors began to open. Opportunities began to take shape.
Today, we have a whole generation of women chefs carving their own paths in the industry like April Bloomfield, Kim Woodward and Christina Tosi, and not to mention, all of our powerhouse C-CAP alumnae, too. In fact, one of them, Giovanna Alvarez, winner of the C-CAP Daniel Boulud Scholarship to the Institut Paul Bocuse, is about to walk in the very footsteps of Chef Eugenie Brazier, herself at a two-week stage at La Mère Brazier in Lyon, France. Bonne chance, Giovanna!
It is through the hard and incredible work of these ladies in chef whites that the conversation about critical acclaim, barriers to success and media coverage is even happening. And while everybody has an opinion and we certainly don’t have the answers, we’re glad the conversation is going on and are happy to be a part of it.
Join the chatter with us on Twitter: #CCAPisCooking
Thursday, April 14th, 2016
Guest Blogger: Eliza Loehr
New Orleans is a city surrounded by expectations. Visitors from around the world arrive expecting to see a city devastated by a storm, overwhelmed with revelers on Bourbon St., or bursting at the seams with its acclaimed cuisine.
On a recent visit, while harboring all of these expectations, I became fixated on one; what is the true New Orleans cuisine? I naively asked my aunt, a native of the Crescent City, this question. Raising her eyebrows, she paused before answering, “What do you think New Orleans food is?” What did I think New Orleans food was? Is it a refined etouffée? A rustic crawfish boil? What about the famous Po-Boy that can be filled with anything from meatballs to fried oysters? The truth, of course, is that it’s all of these things. It also happens to be very divided. Although an outsider has a hard time telling the difference between Cajun and Creole, the rift runs deep in southern Louisiana. While Creole was born in the city and Cajun in the country, the distinction seemed (to a New Yorker like me) to have more to do with the difference in dining experience than the difference in ingredients.
The deep history is clear from the moment you walk up to the teal blue and white striped awning of Commander’s Palace set in the quintessentially southern Garden District. We are guided through multiple, stunning dining rooms and ultimately land in what feels like the most elegant tree house in the world. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls showcase the deeply established trees that surround you. “Turtle Soup (takes three days to make!)”, reads the menu. Yup, we’ll take one of those! A seafood gumbo with an unparalleled depth of flavor is up next, followed by a perfectly caramelized crème brûlée topped with a powdered sugar fleur-de-lys that brought us back to the Creole youth we never had. While the 25-cent martinis initially felt out of place, the price seemed to suit the timeless feeling of the place. Out of the window to our right, chefs sit in the garden to plan the next day’s specials. To our left, three generations of a New Orleanian family dine on Creole Crawfish and Succotash. In the kitchen, the James Beard Award-winning chef, Tory McPhail, is teaching young chefs the lessons he’s learned over twenty years spent in this palace. Time stops here. Expectations are exceeded here. This is New Orleans, I think to myself.
Time does not stop in Cajun country. In fact, you can’t even count on the ground you’re standing on to be there in a few weeks. Katrina hit hard in this area, but global warming is hitting much harder. The Louisiana coastline is disappearing at the rate of a football field per hour. What you can count on, thankfully, is finding a crawfish boil within a mile of anywhere. Just outside of New Orleans’ city center, we found ourselves a roadside crawfish boil served straight out of a canoe. The carnal pleasure of twisting open spicy, tangy crawfish after crawfish is invigorating. The $1.25 beer doesn’t hurt, either. What do you do with the massive pile of shells? Toss them in the bayou, of course. The alligators will eat them. You think, ‘This is New Orleans’. But then you remember you just had that same thought, during a wildly different experience. New Orleans is, it turns out, whatever you expect to find there.
Thursday, April 7th, 2016
By Guest Blogger, Keri Fisher, C-CAP Program Coordinator, Philadelphia Region
Last year, The New York Times published a list of “52 Places to Go in 2015.” There at number three, just after Milan and Cuba but before Yellowstone National Park, was Philadelphia.
Philadelphia, whose own tourism ad features a giant cheesesteak battling a giant Ben Franklin.
Philadelphia, where the statue erected on the steps of the Art Museum was not a Rodin or Da Vinci, but a life-size replica of Rocky Balboa.
Philadelphia, where sports fans allegedly steal prosthetic legs from visiting fans and pelt Santa Claus with snowballs.
But Philadelphia is so much more than passionate sports fans and cheesesteaks. And if locals rally behind a fictional character who literally fought his way to the top, who can blame them? For too long Philadelphia sat in New York City’s shadow, and nowhere was this more apparent than in the food scene.
It used to be that the only foods associated with Philadelphia were cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. But today, Philadelphia is a melting pot of cooking styles and cuisines that would make the most diehard foodies salivate. In fact, when Tom Sietsema, food critic for The Washington Post, set out to find the top ten food cities in America, he ranked Philadelphia number 6, three spots above his beloved D.C. New York didn’t even make the list.
Not that it’s a competition. Philadelphia’s thriving food truck scene and liberal BYOB policies make good food and fine dining within reach.
Last fall C-CAP was fortunate to be able to partner with a Philadelphia foodie institution, Reading Terminal Market, for an after-school job training program. There you will find not only the real sandwich star of Philly – DiNic’s roast pork with broccoli rabe and provolone – you’ll also find handmade cheese and ice cream and donuts, fill-to-order cannoli and, rather unfortunately, Flying Monkey’s Pumpple Cake, featuring a chocolate cake layer with a pumpkin pie baked inside and a vanilla cake layer filled with apple pie.
Pumpple aside, we are thrilled to be able to expose our students to such a varied and vibrant culinary scene, from the iconic French Jean Marie Lacroix to the cutting edge Christopher Kearse of Will BYOB. And as our students and alumni work their way up the ranks with chefs like Jose Garces and Kevin Sbraga, we are confident that they will continue to keep Philadelphia on top. (Cue the Rocky theme.)
Monday, April 4th, 2016
The average household wastes up to $2,200 each year in discarded food. With an average income of around $50,000 in the U.S., this means 4% of our income is going directly into our trashcans. Globally, we waste 1.3 billion tons of food every single year. That’s equal to an astounding one-third of all food that is produced. What makes this even more shocking is that one in seven Americans and nearly 800 million people globally have food insecurity. Food waste is one of the biggest issues facing our planet, and one of the biggest opportunities for change. If we can reduce food waste by just one quarter, we would be able to feed every single one of the seven billion people who live on this earth. Whether looking at it from an economic, environmental, political or ethical standpoint, we can all come together around the fact that something needs to change. The good news is, in about five minutes you can learn how to drastically reduce your personal contribution to global food waste.
As connections with farms and local sources of meat and produce began to disappear in the 1950s due to industrialization , consumers wanted to know how fresh was their food. Thus, the expiration date was born. These dates are not meant to be a statement about food safety. The safeness of a food is much more dependent on how that food is stored than on its expiration date. Food not kept properly can easily go bad before an expiration date, and far too often food is completely safe to eat beyond its expiration date.
The Power of the Freezer
Freezers aren’t just for frozen pizzas. If you have leftover milk, bread or hard cheeses, put them in the freezer before they turn. Leftover herbs, garlic and ginger can be popped in an ice tray with olive oil or butter. The next time you start cooking, toss one of the herb cubes in the pan for extra flavor. Making large batches of meals and freezing them in single portions can be a great way to have a healthier, cheaper and waste-free quick meal on the ready. Your freezer can also be a great storage space for that extra squash from your Community Share Agriculture allotment you couldn’t quite finish or those half-full jars of pesto or curry paste.
Be Realistic When Shopping
A great rule of thumb to ask yourself before you hit the check out line is when exactly you’ll be using all of the ingredients in your cart. If you can’t think of a time, and it’s a perishable item, hold off on that purchase. Bulk non-perishable items such as rice and dried beans are always a good thing to keep around. If you know you have a busy week and won’t be able to cook much, factor that into how many perishable items you buy.
Storage Is Everything
To maximize the time before your food turns, use these tips:
- Do not leave meat or dairy products out (between 40 -140 degrees) for more than four hours.
- Store your eggs in the fridge. If you’re not sure an egg is still good, put it in a bowl with water. If it sinks, it’s good. If it sinks but stands on its point, use it soon. If it floats, throw it out.
- Many vegetables, including all alliums (onions, garlic, shallots) as well as all types of squash and potatoes last much longer in a cool, dry place.
- Certain fruits such as bananas, citrus and melons should be left out on the counter.
- Bread should be left out for two days before putting in the freezer.
- For dry goods, keep them away from light, heat and air as best as possible.
Here’s to reducing your personal food waste!
Thursday, March 24th, 2016
By guest blogger Lorri Wressell, Career Advisor and Event Planner, C-CAP Los Angeles
On March 14th, C-CAP presented a screening of City of Gold in Los Angeles. Laura Gabbert’s documentary about the Pulitzer Prize-winning LA Times food critic, Jonathan Gold, shows us the rich and ethnically diverse textures, colors and flavors of the food and people in Los Angeles.
A reception was held before the screening, which included amazing and diverse delights such as Pork Tostaditas from Border Grill, six different types of perfect oysters from Michael Cimarusti’s new restaurant Cape Seafood and Provisions’ (Fun fact: Chef Cimarusti’s other restaurant, Providence, is Jonathan Gold‘s FAVORITE in LA according to his annual 101 top restaurants guide), and West Coast Prime Meats’ grilled filet mignon sliders with blue cheese and caramelized onions on a brioche bun. Melissa’s Produce provided the fruit and crudité, and Spago Beverly Hills created an Asian-inspired dessert. Our amazing food was perfectly paired with local beers from El Segundo and Smog City and wines from Wine Exchange!
Some of the proceeds of the benefit will go to the City of Gold special scholarship, which will be presented on May 2nd at our awards ceremony at the Downtown Jonathan Club by Mr. Gold himself!
Evan Kleiman treated us to a Q&A with Mr. Gold and Ms. Gabbert after the movie screening, and C-CAP students excitedly thanked our guests by giving each of them a copy of the documentary Pressure Cooker!
Check out our social media links below to see more and to join the non-stop excitement in Los Angeles!
Thursday, March 17th, 2016
A HUGE thanks to everyone who made this year’s C-CAP Annual Benefit such a fantastic evening!!
Against a backdrop of the Hudson River at Pier Sixty, we rounded up over forty of New York’s finest chefs, assisted for the evening by our very own C-CAP students and alumni serving up the best cuisine this fine city has to offer! This year, we honored Chef Daniel Humm of highly regarded Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad for his dedication to culinary excellence and his commitment to mentoring and educating the next generation of culinary professionals.
Highlights of the evening included dishes like Chantrelle, Sencha, and Dashi by Bryce Shuman of Betony; Verjus marinated Diver Scallops, Fresno Chili, Daikon and Buddha Hand by Gabriel Kreuther of Gabriel Kreuther; Peekytoe Crab Dumpling with Gae Jang sauce by Cedric Vongerichten of Perry Street; and Warm Poached Egg with Black Truffle by Abram Bissell of The Modern. Cooking alongside these all-star chefs were more than 60 New York City C-CAP high school culinary students and alumni.
As an exciting update, the night after the benefit, alumni speaker Amar Santana fought his way back into the Top Chef finale!
The evening raised over $1.2 M for our programs, for which we are truly grateful. Once again, thank you, to all of our amazing students, past and present, the hugely talented chefs who took part and to everyone who gave their time and generous contributions to ensure C-CAP can continue its work of transforming lives through the culinary arts! If you missed the benefit and want to contribute to our mission, click here.
Thursday, March 10th, 2016
By C-CAP Guest blogger Nicola Copeland, Chicago Program Coordinator
This last week C-CAP Chicago 2016 Scholarship Finalists participated in the International Home and Housewares Show in partnership with Harold Import Company. For the last 9 years (with the help of Christopher Williams, 2006 C-CAP Alumni and his mother Stephanie McBlackwell), Chicago finalists and program alumni have demoed omelets, pasta and stir-fry’s featuring recipes from Chef Helen Chen and smallwares from the Harold Import Company product line.
L to R: Daneka Kelley, Dechant Kemp, Jennifer Ramirez, Francisco Santiago, Christopher Williams (back), Unique Parker
The finalists had a great time sharing their culinary and education goals with the show’s attendees, wowing them with their French Omelet skills and sharing how C-CAP has changed their lives!
L to R: Devlon James, Josephine Dyer (Harold Import Company), Chloe Gould, Symphony Palmore