Culinary and Wine Vacations in the North Georgia Mountains

Culinary and Wine Vacations in the North Georgia Mountains The North Georgia mountains have been known for moonshine, agriculture, traditional values and a broad spectrum of geologic and cultural riches. These assets remain, but their impact is changing as visitors are now associating the North Georgia Mountains with beautiful new wineries, fabulous dining, luxury resorts and the abundance of wonderful fresh and local products. Of course, you can still find a mason jar of good -shine if you know who to ask. The owners of many North Georgia vineyards, farms, orchards, mills, herbalists, dairies and restaurants founded the Georgia Mountains Foodways Alliance, dedicated to preserving the heritage of our mountain foodways and to promoting fresh and local products. This Alliance encompasses a field to table spectrum from agriculture to fine dining, with emphasis on all the specialty foods, farm markets, and hands-on restaurants in between that are so dear to the hearts of southerners who love homegrown/homemade local food.

The notion of using fresh and local ingredients is not new to the Georgia mountain people who have planted gardens and orchards, raised farm animals and foraged or hunted in the wild to supplement what they might purchase at the market. However, the unique development is the birth and growth of North Georgia’s Wine Highway. While the first modern Georgia wineries started back in the 1980’s, in the past decade many new vineyards have been planted and wineries built dedicated to making fine table wines from Georgia grown grapes. Viticulture and winemaking have steadily gained importance in Georgia’s agri-economy. North Georgia is currently host to more than a dozen wineries, and the rate of new vineyard plantings is amongst the highest in the Eastern U.S. Production is now about 115,000 gallons annually.[1] In 2001, Georgia’s legislature recognized the significance of the industry and authorized the designation of roadways and signage to create the Georgia Wine Highway. This designation and more recent legislation permitting Georgia wineries to ship wine will encourage increased planting and production. Along with the development of wineries is an explosion of wine and culinary tourism in the North Georgia Mountains – in particular there is a growing interest in fresh and local products. Fruits and vegetables grown thousands of miles away are harvested long before peak ripeness so they can survive shipping and be market ready weeks later. Local products are fresher, have better flavor and more nutrient benefit, offer more seasonal variety, lessen the environmental impact of transportation and packaging, and keep more money in local economies. Although we are both Southerners, our parent’s employment took us to Northern California in our youth, well before Napa and Sonoma became synonymous with food and wine. We observed the growth of California wineries during the 1970’s, but what really contributed to the development of culinary and wine tourism was the location of fine dining venues in Napa and Sonoma Valleys, along with the birth of California Cuisine.[2] When John Ash & Company, The French Laundry, Auberge du Soleil and others built fabulous restaurants (and lodging) they quickly developed loyal followings – and that is when tourism exploded. With over 5 million visitors annually, Napa is California’s second most visited tourist destination after Disneyland. Together we have traveled the world in pursuit of food and wine destinations. Some of our most romantic memories include wine dinners and wine tastings in a winery hosted by the winemaker. Few experiences, at least for the wine enthusiast, can be better than sitting next to red stained wine barrels, breathing in the smell of wine-soaked oak, dining on the best of fresh and local cuisine, while the winemaker offers secrets on how she coaxed her grapes into offering their very best. Once you have experienced this personal treatment you will understand what makes Napa more attractive to the tourist than Disneyland- at least for many adults. A new survey reveals that the emerging phenomenon of culinary tourism-defined as travel to learn about or enjoy unique and memorable eating-and-drinking experiences-is taking hold in the American vocabulary. One-quarter of all leisure travelers say food is central to their destination selection, and that number increases to 51 percent for culinary travelers (those engaging in culinary activities during leisure trips). Deliberate culinary travelers also indicated that culinary or wine-related activities were either a key reason to take the trip or helped them choose between destinations. According to the survey, two in five (40 percent) of leisure travelers self-identify as traveling to learn about or enjoy unique and memorable eating-and-drinking experiences.[3] The study demonstrates that a sizable proportion of the U.S. leisure market does indeed make travel decisions based on a desire for wine and culinary experiences. In fact, it confirms that wine and culinary experiences are a driver of destination choice. This perspective has not been lost on Georgia’s grape-growers. One of the first to appreciate and understand the association of wine and culinary tourism was Karl Boegner, founder of Wolf Mountain Vineyards near Dahlonega. Karl opened the winery in 2002 and operates it with his wife Linda and son Brannon and daughter in law Ashley. Karl is an old hand in the tourist, food and accommodation industry. He was in charge of food service for the opening of Disney World in 1971. He was also the Executive Vice President for Chateau Elan Winery from 1985-1989. He and Linda owned and operated the Founder’s Club in Roswell, GA a high quality events venue. Wolf Mountain was built as a destination for the wine and culinary savvy. Karl spared no expense to create of a wonderful ambience in the lodge, tasting room, patios, and winery. The lodge sits at the top of the mountain and enjoys a spectacular view with southern aspect for his 8 acres of grapes, which include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mouvedre and Touriga. Wolf Mountain makes some of Georgia’s best and most highly rated wines. In the winery, tasting room and barrel room, the architecture is a modern rendering of traditional craftsman style. Karl has collected a stunning array of wine antiques that add an historic European flavor to the cellar ambience. The floors and walls could easily be mistaken for a timeworn castle’s wine cave. Wolf Mountain specializes in hosting weddings and banquets in the gardens and patios. In addition, the Boegners offer themed wine dinners, live music, tours and tastings to the public. Karl is a proponent of fresh and local products and is a supporter of the Georgia Foodways Alliance. Karl has proven success in the delivery of fine food service has quickly made Wolf Mountain a popular and successful wine and culinary destination. Not far away is another beautiful winery destination, Frogtown Cellars. Owned and operated by Craig and Cydney Krietzer, this three level California-style gravity flow winery was designed to accommodate receptions, weddings and large events. The facility is a timber-frame structure with cathedral ceilings, hand-carved Tennessee flag-stone walls and Brazilian cherry floors. Two large decks and a wrap-around porch envelop the structure with breath-taking views of the mountains and their vineyards. Frogtown makes award winning Georgia wines from 15 varieties of grapes planted on 32 acres of well-tended vineyards. Craig is passionate about farming and making wine, and he is certainly one of Georgia’s most knowledgeable growers. He and Cydney knew that the combination of food and wine in the development of winery events is a powerful determinate for the traveling public. The winery facility includes a well-designed commercial kitchen and they now offer events on-site to experience food and wine. Frogtown hosts regular multi-course winemaker dinners and receptions where guests can talk to the winemaker. You can even plan your own Al Fresco dinner in the vineyard with live guitar or violin music. One of the newer winery destinations in Georgia is Montaluce, a Napa-Tuscan themed winery and residential estate development near Dahlonega. Its commitment to food and wine tourism and to fresh and local is certainly the most ambitious so far. The estate includes the brand new 9500 square foot Tuscan themed winery, Le Vigne Ristorante, estate home-sites and, finally, Montaluce claims to offer a Napa-Tuscan lifestyle for its residents and for visitors right here in the North Georgia Mountains. To ensure culinary success Montaluce hired Steve Hewins as Executive Chef. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Chef Hewins landed a job in San Francisco at the renowned Stars Restaurant, working under Jeremiah Tower where he spent his four most formative years. Chef Hewins has a passion for fresh seasonal ingredients and a commitment to sustainable produce. Le Vigne Ristorante’s recipes reflect the Italian proverb of “eating by the calendar.- Organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs are either estate-grown or handpicked by the restaurant’s forager from local farms and ranches. Chef Hewins oversees the planting of organic vegetable and herb gardens on the Montaluce estate with the guidance of a full-time master gardener. Finally, Montaluce says it offers a Napa-Tuscan lifestyle for its residents and visitors. It will offer wine and culinary festivals throughout the year including wine seminars with guest speakers, visiting winemakers and its own winemaker. Chef Hewins and visiting chefs will host culinary classes in their state of the art demonstration kitchen. There will be art exhibits with some of the finest artists and galleries in the south and visitors will have the opportunity to meet the artist, sample fine wines, and enjoy the finest in gourmet dining. Finally, Montaluce will host Artists and Farmers Markets. Reminiscent of the age-old street markets throughout Tuscany, the weekend artists and farmers markets will feature the area’s finest arts, crafts, and organic produce.

Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Frogtown Cellars are wonderful examples of wineries built to be wine and culinary destinations from the outset. Montaluce goes another step and offers its visitors and residents a Napa-Tuscan -fresh and local- immersion and lifestyle. All three are exciting venues offering culinary, wine and lifestyle events that will encourage visitors to make the North Georgia Mountains a destination choice. In addition to these mega-venues, North Georgia has smaller wineries that, while they did not initially invest in large event facilities or commercial restaurant kitchens, are nonetheless devoted to culinary, wine and lifestyle tourism. Tiger Mountain Vineyards in Rabun County, nestles at the foot of its namesake mountain. Owned Dr. John and Martha Ezzard, the winery itself is located on the fifth generation family estate of John. They farm about 10 acres of grapes, including Norton, Tannat, Viognier, Malbec, Mouvedre, Cabernet Franc, Touriga and Petite Menseng.

At Tiger Mountain Winery almost everything is done by hand – farming and winemaking. Martha Ezzard, journalist and author, showed us the different varieties of young trees, each one selected and planted by their young grandchildren. She and John want to give them a love of the land and a personal investment in it. John is a farmer at heart and spends as much time as possible in the vineyard. They want to keep the acreage of vineyards at a manageable level, as their objective is to provide the highest quality hand-made wines from less commonly known grapes that prosper in north Georgia (e.g. Tannat, Malbec and Touriga). We think they have found a wonderful niche.

The owners provide plenty of wine events and culinary celebrations for their visitors and for the local community. In May they annually hold an -Awakening of the Vines- Festival with wonderful food and live music that may include the 100 piece Atlanta Chamber Orchestra set up in the vineyard. The vines are serenaded by classical, show tunes, jazz, and of course, -I heard it Through the Grapevine.- Late each summer they celebrate harvest with a stylish picnic, wine tasting and live music. Visitors can help harvest grapes and may even participate in a grape stomp. This spring Tiger Mountain Vineyards added a -Fiddle and Author Festival- to raise funds for Forest Watch. The winery offers more casual celebrations to commemorate the release of new wines and vintages. In addition, romantic Al Fresco picnicking and dining is available in the vineyard. One will always find a large assortment of local artisan cheeses and many other seasonal products from local farms and gardens. All of these wonderful products taste better with a glass of one of Tiger Mountains Vineyards award winning wines.

Nearby, Bill and Leckie Stack farm about 5 acres of grapes including: Norton, Malbec, Viognier and Cabernet Franc. Over at the Stack property, Leckie, a life-long gardener, has extended her skills to manage the vineyard as Bill spends weekdays at his law practice in Atlanta. She is a devotee of the fresh and local movement and is a co-founder of the Georgia Mountains Foodways Alliance. The Stack’s farm is a tribute to Rabun County’s fresh and local mountain heritage as it includes a 100 year-old apple orchard, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, persimmons, and Asian pears to name but a few. Her yard is a wonderful wild jumble of perennials, wild flowers, lilies, flowering bushes and indigenous mountain plants. Something is always in bloom. Crane Creek Vineyards in nearby Young Harris, owned by Eric and DeAnne Siefarth, is another wonderful small family owned operation that offers visitors a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, all of which include fresh and local products. Spring includes an artfest, in summer a tomato festival, in fall a harvest festival with hay-rides for the kids. The tasting room is located in a restored 1880 farmhouse that also contains a quaint guesthouse for visitors. Eric and DeAnne host monthly wine dinners featuring Crane Creek wines, often with live music. The setting is the tasting room in a beautiful garden location with expansive patios with a view of the vineyards, ponds and the mountains beyond. The resident Crane Creek Chef is a supporter of the Georgia Mountain Foodways Alliance. Eric also sells grapes to amateur winemakers and conducts home winemaking and pruning seminars. The tasting room has many local products including art and amateur wine making supplies.

Blackstock Vineyards, owned by David Harris, with 40 Acres under cultivation, qualifies as the largest Vinifera vineyard in Georgia. David is a graduate of the oenology and viticulture programs at Fresno State, in California. He started his winemaking career as an assistant winemaker at Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. His reputation and interests eventually led him to become the winemaker at the successful Habersham Winery in Helen, Georgia. Ten years ago, he -semi- retired from winemaking to concentrate on the development of his own vineyard near Dahlonega, GA. At this beautiful mountain estate he works in the vineyard daily, giving personal care to his 24,000 vines.

Last year David completed construction of a new winery and tasting room on the highest location on his vineyard. The tasting room opens onto a large covered porch with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Blackstock frequently uses the porch for wine, food and music events. Visitors can also rent this area for their own private event.

One of the most gorgeous vineyards in the eastern United States is Persimmon Creek Vineyards located in Rabun County. Set in a secluded valley encircled by high mountain peaks, trout flit through Persimmon Creek as it meanders through the vineyards. Sonny and Mary Ann Hardman searched for two years to find the vineyard site. Currently there are 15 acres under cultivation planted to Seyval Blanc, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Laid out with a painterly eye, the couple studied the undulations of the land and selected the planting areas for not only the specific conditions required of each grape variety, but also so the rows follow the land in a way that leads the eye to absorb exquisite natural contours and textures. The couple has three young sons and find that working with them in the vineyard is a way to pass on a love of the earth and knowledge of the basic rhythms of the ecosystem.

Mary Ann Hardman is the marketing maven, flying and driving around the state to resorts and fine restaurants to offer tastes of Persimmon Creek wines to wine directors, sommeliers and chefs. She emphasizes the fresh and local aspect of Georgia wines – and reminds them that wine is a farm product. To a growing number of restaurants and resorts that brag about serving local Georgia products the point is not lost The Hardmans have added three farm cottages on land overlooking the vineyards. These cottages will provide an escape and haven for visitors seeking the peaceful solitude of Persimmon Valley. In addition, until they build a new winery, they have moved their tasting room to a building they refurbished in downtown Clayton. -Persimmon on the Square- offers wine tastings, and it has a number of high quality fresh and local products and upscale gifts made or designed by Georgia artists. We asked Mary Ann about her culinary philosophy and the phrase -what grows together goes together- and -farmers are our local heroes- rolled quickly from her lips. She is definitely a strong proponent of fresh and local. Their oldest son, Mitchell has plowed up much of what is not planted to grapes and is growing wildflowers, silver queen corn, heirloom pumpkins, tomatoes, and vegetables.

Persimmon Creek offers a number of scheduled dinners throughout the year featuring well-known regional chefs that are proponents of fresh and local products. They also offer private luncheons and dinners either in the winery, on their terrace or Al Fresco in the vineyard. Sonny and Mary Ann will make sure you have the perfect Persimmon Creek wines to match your meal.

If you are looking for wonderful culinary and wine experiences, seek beautiful romantic scenery, want to relax and enjoy our mountain hospitality, and to sample the abundance of our fresh and local foods and wines then the Georgia Wine Highway should be your destination of choice. The North Georgia Mountains are truly an exciting place to live or to visit.

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David and Gayle Darugh are owners of the Beechwood Inn, located in Clayton, GA. The inn includes a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence Restaurant. They taught Wine Appreciation classes at the University of Tennessee during the 1980’s. Gayle is a former National President of the American Wine Society and David was the General Counsel from 1990 to 2000. Gayle is co-founder of the Georgia Mountains Foodways Alliance. Beechwood Inn is Georgia’s Premier Wine Country Inn

[1] The Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America, Bruce Cass, Oxford University Press, 2000. [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_cuisine: Alice Waters, of the restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, is credited with originating California cuisine and retains the reputation of offering the ultimate California cuisine experience. Her cuisine emphasizes the freshest ingredients in season and procured solely from local farms. Jeremiah Tower worked for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and then opened his own restaurant, Stars, in San Francisco. Tower, who held a degree in architecture from Harvard, was the first to implement the “stacked presentation.- The success of Stars restaurant helped the hype of California Cuisine as “what the stars eat.- [3] The URL for this study is:http://www.travelindustrywire.com/article26325.html

Why Culinary School Covers More Than Just Cooking

While the main focus of culinary school is, of course, to learn how to cook, there are a lot of other topics to cover. Planning menus, managing a kitchen, and food safety are just also an important part of a complete culinary education.

Food Safety and Sanitation

There are probably thousands of dishes that can be created to wow a food patron. There are probably just as many ways to make them sick. Cooking schools teach food safety, such as how not to cross contaminate utensils when cutting chicken, what temperatures specific foods should be kept while in storage, etc. Students often come away with a bit of medical knowledge as it relates to toxins and poisons that can be present in mishandled food.

Management Skills

Chefs are not born with the knowledge of how to run a kitchen. These are skills learned in a good culinary arts school. Menu analysis, food costs, inventory management, budgeting, dealing with restaurant suppliers, handling issues with the patrons and interacting with the staff are all skills with roots in cooking school. Understanding how these aspects of a professional kitchen work will produce a student who knows how to perform under pressure, juggling the multitude of things that is required in a commercial kitchen.

Professional Cooking: The Team Effort

Watching cooking shows might give the impression that running a professional kitchen is a one-man job. This is untrue kitchens are busy and full of people who much work at as a team in order to get the job done. Culinary arts school will teach their students all about the entire staff behind the scenes making all of the magic that comes from a great restaurant.

How to Respond to Kitchen Emergencies

Responding to kitchen emergencies, along with knife handling is one of the first lessons learned in cooking schools. What should be done if there is a fire? What if there is a plumbing malfunction? How to create contingency plans and handle the unexpected are all questions that will be answered for students learning the fundamentals of a professional kitchen.

The workplace of the kitchen is a very diverse atmosphere. There is a lot to learn other than the cooking itself. A good culinary school will turn out students who are responsible and very informed on the fundamentals of the kitchen. The environment of the professional kitchen is demanding. A good culinary faculty teaches students how to meet all of these demands without disrupting the flow of the kitchen. Those interested in cooking will have a new appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes at a restaurant.

The Best Culinary Schools in New York

Aspiring chefs who want to have a much more standard specialization really should consider a slot in the Culinary Institute of America. The following, pupils have to consider up sensible cooking models and managerial units. These who want to review Italian cooking, meanwhile, can examine out the Italian Culinary Academy.

The restaurant ran by the culinary universities in New York can also be employed as a component when selecting. Culinary universities have their eating places the place the students do the job for a couple of weeks as piece of their internship. Since students will have to function for these dining establishments for a substantial amount of time, it’s intelligent for an aspiring culinary arts college student to look at no matter if particular school eating places catch his fancy.cy.

The culinary arts are a very multifaceted discipline, and culinary colleges in New York present how varied it truly is. A university student, for illustration, can specialize on restaurant management alternatively of taking a generalized program. A seem at the culinary universities with area of interest specialization proves this.

The Italian Culinary Academy and the French Culinary Institute are two great examples of culinary college specialization. Of course, the French Culinary Institute is an institution that offers programs on French cuisine-readily a person of the most well-liked and most complicated cuisines in the globe. College students here can get up complete courses or small programs, all of which are centered on the fine are of French cooking. Just after all, a French culinary college is the ideal location to understand about deboning and filleting, artisan bread baking, fundamentals of wine, breakfast breads, and fondant-earning?

Meanwhile, the Italian Culinary Academy provides the most in depth Italian cuisine curriculum this side of the earth. The school has two courses: Essentials of Italian Cooking (for all those who want to learn about about the intricacies of Italian cooking) and Italian Culinary Expertise (for those who want to recognize the fundamentals of Italian cuisine). The Essentials of Italian Cooking is an 8 unit program that teaches pupils the basics of various simple Italian meals, this sort of as dried pasta (unit one), soups and grains (unit 7), cheese, pizza, and calzone (unit 2), and desserts (unit eight). Even though it does not supply bachelor programs, the academy features incredibly intensive lessons on this specialization that no other cooking colleges in New York can match.

If the state of New York is the Mecca of the country’s food culture, New York is most likely its Masjid al-Haram. Go to the leading five enclaves of the metropolis and you can easily establish the different cuisines they specialize in. Manhattan, for instance, is recognised for world cuisine, whilst Queens is famed for its Asian specialties. An additional testament to the brilliance of the city as a meals culture center is the variety of best cooking colleges in New York.

The three top rated can be identified in the city. At its forefront is the French Culinary Institute (or the FCI) in the SoHo neighborhood of the town. The college, founded in 1984, provides courses in culinary arts and pastry arts, as well as several applications on restaurant management. Not like other culinary universities, the FCI has courses in foods technologies, wine scientific tests, and food journalism, producing it amongst the most rounded culinary schools in the city.

Emil is passionate about gourmet foods and wine. He is specifically passionate about culinary colleges, which train the upcoming generation of gourmand chefs.

culinary school, culinary school

Finding The Right Culinary School For You

Have you ever thought about the possibility of going to culinary school to become a professional chef or start a new career in hospitality management? Maybe you want to go to school just to be a better cook at home? The good news is there are a lot of great schools and colleges in every state to help you accomplish your goals.

Based upon the number of cooking schools opening each year, there must be a lot of folks interested in getting into the culinary world. I recently read an article in our local newspaper about the growth in local culinary schools, and the numbers surprised me. It appears that supermarkets, gourmet stores, local restaurants, colleges, ex-chefs, and just about anyone else who has the room and expertise is putting on an apron and opening a school.

Many of these schools are there for absolute beginners who just want to learn how to boil water and get around in the kitchen without hurting themselves. These classes tend to be more fun where you watch a professional chef prepare a meal and then you get to share it with the rest of the class. Its a good way to meet some interesting people, learn a few culinary tricks, and taste some delicious food.

And then there are schools for home cooks who have some experience but want to build upon their skills and learn some new techniques. These schools tend to have classrooms with individual stations where the students learn by doing. Often these classes will specialize in one particular technique or cooking style.

But what about the individuals who wants to make cooking their career and go back to school for a degree in culinary education? They may want to learn about hospitality management to master the skills needed to run a resort, restaurant, or theme park. Or they may want to become professional chefs and cook in some of the best restaurants in the country.

Lucky for them, there are now more than 500 vocational, college, and university programs scattered around the country with more schools opening each year that offer first-rate educational degrees in this field. The bigger question is: how do you choose the best culinary school for you?

Here are a few steps to help you narrow down the field and simplify your decision:

Step 1 – Figure out what you want to do after you graduate.

Do you want to start a catering company, make pastries and fancy desserts, or how about manage a restaurant? Once you have an idea of what it is that you would like to specialize in, you can limit your search to only those schools that offer the necessary classes.

If you have no idea what you would like to do in the culinary field, be sure to go to a school that offers a number of choices in every field of the industry- sort of like taking a liberal arts approach.

Step 2 – Determine what’s most important to you in a school. Some topics you may want to think about before choosing a school are:

Location
Entry requirements
Length of program and class schedule
Costs and financial aid
Class size and student-to-faculty ratio
Classroom facilities
Class schedules
The school’s faculty and reputation
Degrees and accreditations
Externship opportunities
Location and housing
Schools contacts, job placement, and/or internships

Step 3 – Create a list of schools to contact for more information.

You can start with your local yellow pages but if you don’t find a school close enough, or one that strikes your fancy, try doing a search on the Internet. Just type in “cooking schools in [your state]”, or “culinary schools [your state]”, and you will find hundreds of leads to schools worldwide. Type in culinary schools with a city and it will narrow down the field even more.

There is also a listing of top schools listed by state at The Reluctant Gourmet web site. Go to http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/cooking_schools.htm and click on the state of your choice and pick a city of interest.

Once you find a few schools that look promising, read a little about them to see what they have to offer. Most sites will provide a short form that you can fill out for more information. Once you fill out the form and send it back to the school, someone will call you within a day or two to answer your questions, provide you with additional information, and offer to send you some brochures and an application.

Be sure to have a list of questions you want answered when you speak with a schools representative. You might also ask for a list of current students and graduates to contact for their assessment of the school.

This is also a good time to ask about scholarships and what the school has to offer. If financing is going to be an issue, it’s better to find out alternatives now rather than wait until you have been accepted. Remember, the school representatives are there to help and most, I’ve found, don’t push too hard–although it is their job to sell you on the school.

Step 4 – Narrow down the field.

Once you look over what the schools have to offer and have spoken with the representatives, start eliminating those that just don’t fit in with your needs. Maybe a school is too far, too costly, or just doesn’t offer the courses you are interested in taking.

Step 5 – Visit the schools that fit best.

In my opinion, this is one of the most important steps you can do to make sure that you are going to be happy at any cooking school. You want to see the actual classrooms you will be attending, see some of the teachers and students in action, and get a feel for the surroundings to make sure you will fit in.

I once made the mistake of taking a new job on Wall Street with a competitor without ever seeing the offices Id be working in. Sure the money was better and I thought I would make faster advancement, but when I arrived for my first day of work, I couldn’t believe the conditions they wanted me to work in. The office space was old, dirty, and outdated compared to where I was working. I was horrified and only lasted about four months!

So, make sure that the school in which you are thinking of investing your time and money is as good, if not better, than the brochure they send to you.

Step 6 – Apply to your top picks.

After you make your visits, narrow down the field to your top choices and prepare the applications you were sent. Be sure to be neat and complete, and provide the schools with everything they ask you for. If you have any questions about the application, pick up the phone right away and get answers. You don’t want to be sending in incomplete forms.

Step 7 – Choose your school.

Once notified by the schools of your acceptance, you can decide which school works best for you. Because you did your homework and followed the steps above, this final choice should be easy.

Be sure to inform the school of your choice that you will be attending, and find out what steps are required to get you enrolled and what you will need to start school.

Although this article was written for those of you interested in going to culinary school, you can follow these same procedures when choosing any continuing education degree. If you think about it, it’s just like getting everything prepped and ready to go (mise en place) before starting to prepare a meal.

Copyright 2005 G. Stephen Jones, The Reluctant Gourmet

Eat Sassy, Stay Healthy In The New Year

Frequent readers may be under the impression that I don’t spend too much time counting calories or fat grams… well, they’d be right! However, lest you think I’m all about extra cheese and second helpings, I do make a point to keep healthy eating in mind. I always exercise common sense when doling out portions, and work towards eating a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of different fruits and veggies. I come from a generation where plenty was celebrated! What’s now called “dieting”, was simply referred to as sensible eating back then. If we had it, we wanted to celebrate it.

It’s that philosophy of enjoying the simple abundances that makes me so excited when I come across a healthful recipe that has tons of flavor. It’s dishes like from cooking book clubs member Holly Willwerth’s Sassy Chicken Enchiladas that will make you stick to a healthy eating plan.

“My husband [and] I love these,” exclaims Holly. “I sub fat free cheese when ever I can, and use a high fiber, low fat tortilla. What a great healthy dish!”

When using prepared enchilada sauce – or any pre-packaged foods – it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the sodium levels as well. I try to get low-sodium whenever possible and then simply season to my liking. This way, not only am I limiting my salt intake, but also gaining more control over the flavors in a dish. (I think I get to call it “homemade” then, right? After all, what happens in mama’s kitchen stays in mama’s kitchen.) Low-sodium enchilada sauce is becoming easier to find. Look for it in the international or health food section of your grocery store.

So how do you manage to keep flavor without loading up on a bunch of yummy fat? Spices, spices, spices! When a recipe is well-seasoned, your taste buds wont have time to miss the grease. Just ask cooking book club member Reta Smith of Liberty, MO. Her White Chicken Chili with Salsa Verde combines healthy beans and veggies for one deliciously hearty dish. Its topping of tomatillos, onion, garlic jalapeno and lime adds an unexpected kick that turns an otherwise great chili into something truly fantastic. At last, a comfort food thats good for you!

Eating sensibly can most definitely include sweets, too! Frederick, MD gal Natasha Nalley has given dessert a makeover, proving that you really can have your cheesecake and eat it too! Her No Crust Cherry Cheese Cake focuses on ease and flavor, shedding much of the fat and time-consuming elements of traditional cheesecake.

“I’ve been making this cheese cake ‘pie’ for over 35 years, and it’s still the best cheesecake I’ve ever tasted,” says Natasha. “This recipe works well if you want to use reduced fat cream cheese and sour cream.”

Some of the Test Kitchen gals and I recently made this “in a pinch” for some friends who have gluten allergies. Without a traditional crust, this dessert is completely gluten free! We think it’s darn pretty too.

These recent cooking club recipe finds are just a sampling of all the wonderful, healthy recipes yet to be tasted. Creativity and resourcefulness can be just as tasty as fat and calories… and THAT is truly something to be celebrated.

It Seems Incredible That You Can Get A Culinary Art Program And Qualified Certification

Culinary Art Program

A culinary art degree shows loyalty and dedication, as well as a thorough grounding in the practical knowledge necessary for an advanced culinary position. A number of culinary arts schools have their own restaurants or work with local eateries placing students in internships. When training for a culinary arts career, students will find themselves putting their knowledge to use in a hands-on environment.

Perhaps the first thing you should look at is whether a particular culinary arts school is fully accredited or not. Due to increased popularity, there are now over five hundred programs in the United States that offer top educational courses in the field of culinary arts. You will be pleased to know that as a general rule, culinary arts courses go for a more reasonable fee than what you would expect for, say, a computer scientist and applying with a culinary arts program is basically no different than applying to any other program or course at a college or a university.

As you learn your new skills, whether you decide on culinary arts or a baking and pastry program, you will gather knowledge on new tricks and talents as each day passes. If you are interested in specializing in culinary arts management, for example, you should ask the instructor of your potential school about this portion of their program. One of the keys to being successful in the food preparation industry is having a true depth and breadth of knowledge.

These educational institutions are designed for one simple purpose, to teach you what you need to know in order to pursue your vocation in the culinary arts field. While cooking is the most important aspect of culinary schools, most schools offer classes that put cooking secondary to learning the skills and knowledge that help chefs understand culinary arts to the fullest.

Finding the culinary art program that is right for you is as simple as starting the process and making enquiries about the courses offered locally. For aspiring gourmet chefs maybe the better option would be to choose the best college offering a quality culinary art program that is within your budget and will give the highest return in credibility and of course overall education.

Interview With Top Chef Winner Hosea Rosenberg

Hosea Rosenberg, originally from Taos, New Mexico, was always good at math. After graduating 3rd in his class at Taos High School, he moved to Boulder, CO to study at the University of Colorado. His dream was to be an astronomer. During his years as a Colorado Buffalo, Hosea worked in local kitchens to pay his way through school. In, he was awarded a Bachelors of Science in Engineering Physics. After graduation, he spent some time traveling and it was then he realized he was spending more time thinking about food than about math.

Hoseas first restaurant job was as a dishwasher at the Apple Tree Restaurant in Taos. Since then he has worked his way up the ranks, from prep cook to line cook and finally to chef. Past positions include working for Wolfgang Puck, Kevin Taylor, Sean Yontz and Dave Query. His first Chef position was at Dandelion Restaurant in Boulder in 2001.

Hosea first joined the Big Red F Restaurant Group as Sous Chef at Zolo Southwestern Grill before moving to Jax Fish House Boulder in January, 2004. During his tenure at Jax, Hosea has won numerous awards and accolades: Best Chef of Denver International Wine Festival (2006, 2007); seven-time, undefeated winner of the Flatiron Chef Competition; Guest Chef at the James Beard House (2007); and most recently was named Top Chef Season 5. Jax Fish House has also been named Best Seafood Restaurant in the Denver/Boulder area since opening in 1994.

Hosea is active in many local and national charitable organizations. He proudly represents and supports the Boulder County AIDS Project, Share Our Strength, Chefs Up Front, March of Dimes, Colorado Music Festival, Operation Frontline, and the American Cancer Society, among others.

Hosea is active in many local and national charitable organizations. He proudly represents and supports the Boulder County AIDS Project, Share Our Strength, Chefs Up Front, March of Dimes, Colorado Music Festival, Operation Frontline, and the American Cancer Society, among others.

Hosea works closely with many of the local farmers and ranchers in Colorado. He supports sustainable agriculture, conservation, and buys local and organic whenever possible. The seafood he buys is sustainable and on green lists. Jax is PACE certified, on the Colorado Proud list, uses 100% Wind Energy and practices composting, recycling, and water conservation.

Can you tell us when you decided to become a professional chef and was there anyone in particular who influenced your decision?

HOSEA: I decided just after graduating college with my engineering-physics degree. I was not really excited about the work I was doing at the time. My good friend was looking at culinary schools and it sparked something for me. I was working in restaurants at the time, but didnt think about culinary as a career. I asked my chef at the time what he thought and he really mad me feel like I could make a career out of it.

When do you think you really became passionate about food? And with whom did you learn from?

HOSEA: Since my first job as a dishwasher in high school, Ive always loved the kitchen. Its the food but its also the people, the camaraderie, the energy, and the passion. I think you learn from everyone, so since that day, Ive tried to keep my eyes and ears open. You never stop learning.

What dish are you most proud of? What dish just didnt work?

HOSEA: Im probably most proud of my foie gras and scallop dish that I made on the finale of top chef. Its a dish that Ive run at the restaurant and every time I make it, people seem to just love it. I think it was the dish that I won Top Chef with.

Ive had plenty of not-so-successful dishes along the way. There was a shrimp with coffee and pineapple dish that I tried at the restaurant that nobody seemed to care for.

Whats your favorite newly discovered ingredient(s)?

HOSEA: Im a huge fan of pomegranate molasses

What are the Five most important ingredients that every home should have in the cupboard/refrigerator?

HOSEA: Good salt, good olive oil, butter, good vinegar, bacon

Your favorite kitchen gadget?

HOSEA: Blender

What is your favorite spice to cook with and why?

HOSEA: Smoked paprika. It adds such a nice level of flavor to dishes. Its not overly smoky, and its a little sweet.

As a professional chef, what was your funniest kitchen incident?

HOSEA: I have made people eat really bad things for money. From fruit that has been soaking in vodka for months, to hot chiles, to blood, to shakes made from everything we can get our hands on (mayo with anchovies, chocolate, peppers, broccoli, vinegar, etc.). Its so funny to me to watch someone try and down a big glass of crap just for a few dollars. I laugh until I cry when I get a sucker like that.

When at home, what do you like to eat?

HOSEA: I eat simply. I recently mad a big batch of soup that Ive been eating for a week now. I dont cook big fancy dinners at home. Mac n cheese, sandwiches, pizza easy stuff.

Has the heightened interest in celebrity chefs and cooking in general been good or bad for the industry? Who is your favorite celebrity chef and why?

HOSEA: Overall, its been great for the industry. There is so much interest in chefs and our world. It validates the decision I mad years ago to not be an engineer. We are now seen as professionals. My favorite celebrity chef is probably Jacques Pepin. He is such an amazing person and a great teacher. No pretense with him, just solid skills and a desire to see people do better.

What would you say to a high- school student thinking of becoming a professional cook? What advice would you give him or her?

HOSEA: My advice is always to work in restaurants. You should see it first hand before you decide to go to culinary school. Make sure you are willing to put in the hours and the sweat.

What cookbooks would you recommend every home cook own?

HOSEA: Anything by Jacques, Madeline Kamman, Lidia Bastianich, Julia Child, Rick Bayless. the list goes on. It depends on what you are wanting to cook. One of my favorite books is Culinary Artistry by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg.

If you werent a chef, or in the food business, what would you be?

HOSEA: Professional poker player!

If you were being executed tomorrow, what would be your last meal? (stolen from Anthony Bourdain)

HOSEA: Big fat BLT with the best bacon on the planet.

We did want to get your take on what you thought of this years Top Chef and who were you pulling for to win. Tom and Padma thought this years chefs were by far the best. They were excellent, but we are prejudice. No one beats HR from Colorado.

HOSEA: As far as this seasons TC, Im fine with the winner. I was rooting for Kevin, but it comes down to the last dish. Michael bested the other two when it counted. I agree that they were a very talented bunch.

The Pompous Palate Private Chef’s Of Las Vegas

You are busy with your daily schedule and dont have time to get a meal ready. Our Private Chefs of Las Vegas are here to help you. Have no fear the Pompous Palate is here! Our Private Chef of Las Vegas are some of the very best in the country and will make an Iron Chef Worthy meal for you-right in your kitchen. The Pompous Plate has private chefs to fit your every need, all of our chefs are classically trained at some of the best schools in the World. Including Le Cordon Bleu, Culinary Institute of America (CIA), French Culinary Institute and Johnson and Whales to name a few. Menus are designed according to your taste in food. Private Chef David Catapano has many accolades from fellow chefs and foodies alike. About his food ooooooooh yes, but the buzz is his food blog The Pompous Palate, its really entertaining and fun.

You can have an Iron Chef in your home restaurant Quality foods cooked personally for your occasion the Private Chef of Las Vegas are there for you! (Also serving Henderson NV, Summerlin NV and Clark County. You can throw a soiree with restaurant quality food by one of our award winning Top Chefs Our Personal/Private chefs have experience in a wide range of cuisines Icluding but not limited to: Italian, French, American, Spanish, Chinese and have recently signed on an Indian and Japanese chef. One of the better known Personal Chefs is Chef David Catapano a Las Vegas resident He works anywhere in Clark County including Henderson NV, Summerlin NV, Seven Hills NV, Green Valley NV, and Clark County NV. Chef David Catapanos Food blog has become quite the craze of foodies across the country. You can read through Food news, snappy repartee, you can look through the Las Vegas Food Review section, or you can even learn to make a perfect Risotto. The Pompous Palate Food blog will also give you details and sample menus about the variety of food served by Private/Personal Chefs of Las Vegas.

Private Chef or Personal Chef at Las Vegas, henderson nv, Summerlin nv and Clark County NV will spice up any occasion right in the luxury of your own home. Chef David Catapano has a menu called the Italian ON-Slaught, OH MY GOD! If you like Italian food, the buck stops with his Italian On-Slaught There is no Other. Let our chefs make your guest happy with delicious top Chef worthy food. The Pompous Palate Food Blog will also show you variety of recipes and you can try at your home in free time. See the Las Vegas Food Review before you hit the strip for that latest greatest restaurant.

So do you have a party or some upcoming occasion??? Hakuna Matata your Private Chef or personal Chef, of The Pompous Palate is there to make your guest completely Ecstatic with delicious foods and the great personalities of their chefs. The Pompous Palate food blog is certainly the best thing I ever made Said Chef David Catapano and we speak from experience, he has made some amazing things before. So whether youre looking for an addictive food blog or a private chef in Las Vegas or maybe even just some help on how to make that cheese cake not collapse in the center. Visit the pompous palate, they have got what you need.

Chef Gianni Joins As Executive Chef Pinnacle Restaurant At Falkner Winery In Temecula

Having won Best Restaurant of 2008 and 2009 from Inland Empire Magazine, the Pinnacle Restaurantin Temecula wine country does not stand pat. Co-owners Ray and Loretta Falkner added a new Executive Chef, Gianni Ciciliot, for their award winning and popular restaurant. In Temecula, the Pinnacle Restaurant provides great panoramic views, outstanding American/Mediterranean style food, an international wine list, and high quality service for lunches 7 days a week. Set on a 1,500 foot hilltop, the Pinnacle offers customers a choice of seating between the air conditioned indoors or on the open-air outdoor balcony. The restaurant also serves as an evening wedding and banquet venue.

Chef Gianni started on March 1st and has a great cooking and leadership background at establishments such as Tommy Bahama’s in Newport Beach, Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, Yardhouse Restaurant in Irvine, Tutto Mare in La Jolla, and Amici’s and Lugano’s in Costa Mesa. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Chef Gianni specializes in Mediterranean Cuisine, particularly Italian cuisine. According to co-owner Ray Falkner, -We are excited to have Gianni join us as we strive to become the best eating establishment in the Temecula area-. Chef Gianni also handles all the catering aspects of the Falkner Winery wedding and banquet business. In April he introduced his new summer menu that shows off his unique cooking skills. The menu includes items such as his Seafood Portofino (Pasta with jumbo shrimp, lobster, bay scallops, fresh garlic, basil, sundried-tomatoes, artichoke hearts and lemon in a white wine pomodoro sauce), and Soy Glazed Flat Iron Steak (8 oz. flat iron steak grilled and glazed in a sweet & spicy soy glaze served over seasonal sauted vegetables). Chef Gianni will offer a special New Release Sunset Wine Dinner outside in the winery lawn garden area on August 29th featuring 5 courses all with 2 wines paired apiece. For lunch or wine dinner reservations, contact the restaurant at 951-676-8231 x1.

What To Look For In Top Culinary Schools

Finding a profession these days seems to be hard enough without having to hassle about the tiny things such as; how sustained will this industry last? Is there a future with this establishment? And Will I get compensated enough to be able to handle my bills? These are all legitimate questions. almost all of us have asked these questions for each one corporation that we have got an employment in. With most industries we must settle for two of these questions to comment yes to. However there is one industry that you can plead yes to all of these questions. The trade that I convey of is the culinary arts. This is the one trade that has been throughout longer than any alternative. It’s not volatile like some sales businesses and if for some excuse you are laid off there are genuinely hundreds of other places of employment that are consistently hiring real chefs. Let’s take a look at these concerns individually. The first question is, will this business still be throughout in ten or twenty years. This one may seem clear to most but it is still worth covering. There is no thing that consumers like more than going out and spending bankroll on chow. Not just any chow but great chow. Most of us are able to name at least 15 restaurants not over a 5 mile radius of our own homes. This tells you that we enjoy having our meals cooked for us. The next question would be, is there an outlook with this establishment? This one is a little bit tougher to comment. It really depends on how authentic the business establishment serving food and drink it. If it’s a brand new business establishment serving food and drink than it is not very likely that it will be. If it’s an accepted eating place, than your chances are a lot better at having a secure profession for years to come. The most fitting way to get a calling at an accepted business establishment serving food and drink is to make sure you have a fine education to back you. No well accepted eating house is going to carry a chef without a real degree in the culinary arts. The last question is consistently the one that most of us are incriminated in the most. How much will I make in this corporation. Well this one is incompletely up to you. You can make a very real living as a chef or you can make very little. The total you get rewarded is directly related to your schooling. Finding top culinary schools to attend is imperative. Getting a good degree here will allow you to study under some of the top chefs in the city. With so much riding on instruction in this corporation you want to make sure not to brush off this. There are many top culinary schools in the United States to choose from. hunting down these schools can be a daunting task. There is a lot of exploration that goes into finding the most desirable culinary school for you. Depending on what angle you want your culinary career to take will be the greatest conclusive aspect for a school.

For free help finding top rated culinary schools visit us here at top culinary schools a>