End of summer updateThis is an update to the classes I took at Arkansas Culinary School this summer. First, there is no more Arkansas Culinary School! It died and was resurrected the following day as the Culinary Division of Pulaski Technical College in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Furthermore, at the halfway point in the summer classes we were informed that the school was moving from its location at 4901 Asher Avenue in west Little Rock to the new Pulaski Technical College facility at 13000 Interstate 30, Little Rock, AR 72210-7016, between Little Rock and Benton on the south side of Little Rock (that cuts about 5-10 miles out of my commute from Hot Springs).
Then came the b-i-g announcement that we were getting a new, $500,000 kitchen with all the jazzy equipment one could reasonably expect to see. Almost all of the equipment and materials have been moved in the last week from the old location at 4901 Asher Avenue and the staff is excited about their new offices.
I have learned a lot from the two classes I initially took this summer (Food Production I and Breakfast Cookery). I especially developed an appreciation for the French (e.g, Carême, Escoffier and Point plus scores of others) and their vast contribution to the culinary arts. It is important to understand the history so one can understand where one is. I enjoyed the instruction and learned a bit of cooking (I can do a passable French omelette now) and liked Eggs Benedict and stuffed French toast the most.
The people to whom I spoke encouraged me to follow private chefing. It is all about making contacts and doing well in school (I got an A in each class this summer). Got to be a people person. They also said that I had to develop a repertoire of recipes that would enable me to provide a family with a variety of meals for a few weeks. I also need to learn how to look for parties that such families would likely have. So, that’s my challenge.
I got a knife set and did a bunch of chopping, but I am slow. In time my speed with increase. Other students in culinary arts who read this know exactly what I mean when I say I feel incompetent with a knife at this point.
This Fall I will be taking 5 classes (3 credits each) for the semester, starting on August 18th. Here are the classes and their description:
CUL 2307. Healthy Foods/Nutrition
This course discusses the contemporary issues facing our country including food insecurity, obesity and the diabetes crisis, and discusses the role chefs can play in creating a healthy food culture. Specific diets are discussed, and students examine the role a chef could assume in school cafeterias and hospital settings. (1 lecture hour/2 lab hours/88 contact hours)
HOS 1301. Introduction to Hospitality
This course will introduce the student to the broad world of hospitality and tourism and to the topics which will begin to prepare them for careers in these fields. Students will tour Little Rock restaurants, hospitals, universities, hotels and corporations. Students will learn of the different ethnic food markets including Hispanic markets, Korean markets, Indian markets and Vietnamese markets. (3 lecture hours/40 contact hours)
CUL 1301. Applied Foodservice Sanitation
This course presents safety and sanitation in the foodservice workplace, custom designed for the culinary professional. It meets the requirements set forth by the American Culinary Federation for 30 Continuing Education Hours. (3 lecture hours/40 contact hours)
BAK 1301. Baking I
This course is an introduction to the theory and technique of baking and pastry arts. Included will be basic concepts, units of measure, tools and materials, techniques and formulas. Discussions/demonstrations will cover basic baking to advanced techniques. Breads, sweet doughs, choux paste, pies, mousses, etc. will be covered. (1 lecture hour/2 lab hours/88 contact hours)
CUL 1303. Food Production II
The focus in this class is on organic produce, vegetable cookery, soups, potatoes, legumes and other starches. Students will learn of the recovery movement of native vegetables and legumes through Native Seed Search, and other seed companies dedicated to resurrecting American regional cuisine. (1 lecture hour/ 2 lab hours/88 contact hours). Prerequisite Food Production I or permission of instructor.
That’s a lot to learn but I have considerable experience in a school environment and it should not be too tough. My only gripe is that Food Production II is starting at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Ugh! Other than that, I have no complaints. Gotta have the class, so guess that I have to get up at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning in order to be there at 8. Grrr... Life ain’t always fair!
This new kitchen also serves a cafe at the school and all of the banquets that are held at the school (yes, there is a banquet room). There will be classes that do the needed cooking for those operations. Should be fun.
Thanks to all who have sent me encouraging messages. You do not know how much I appreciated them. More later.