Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Culinary Job Training program begins

Chef Tom Tiner introduces the Culinary Job Training Class.

"This is not a Martha Stewart cooking class," says Sodexo Executive Chef Tom Tiner as he opens the first day of the 11-week Culinary Job Training Class.  He continues, explaining to eight attentive students, that this class is not for those who enjoy cooking but for those who want cooking to be their lives and livelihoods.  

This 11-week certificate course is truly a crash course in everything culinary from the basics of safety and sanitiation to a mystery basket day where students will be given a basket of ingredients and must create a dish from them to be judged as their final project.  

The eight students were selected from a pool of over twenty applicants and all have dreams of either opening their own restaurants, catering businesses, or becoming Head or Sous Chefs at restaurants.  "Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity" says Jean Stroman whose words were echoed by all of the chosen students whose previous culinary experiences range from chef classes in Virginia to simply cooking for their families.  

Students listen attentively to industry safety and sanitation standards.

In Tuesday's information packed class Chef Tom explained the safety and sanitation standards of the culinary industry and how to keep food safe.  A demonstration on how to calibrate a food thermometer with ice water showed how the simplest things can help take care of one of food safety's most important tools.  Chef Tom provided booklets brimming with temperature charts and industry standards while students asked questions about the differences between the restaurant and food service industries.  Chef Tom, with over 24 years of experience as a Chef told stories of restaurants he'd worked in the past and how things had changed.
"The standards are always changing.  When I was in Culinary School they were still teaching the old standards, everything just changed this year and now we have to teach ourselves what the new standards are and make sure that we're keeping up with them.  A lot of our job is knowing rules and regulations and making sure that our kitchens adhere to them....I've had a health inspection where we got a 99.5%, we were docked .5% because I didn't have a hat on while I gave the inspector a tour."
 After four hours of heating and cooling standards, cleanser, latex clothes and food borne pathogen discussions the students were overwhelmed with information.  However, at the end of the day a tour of Sugartree Ministries' new Rachael Ray kitchen and the distribution of chef's coat and hat for each left the students breathless and excited to start cooking.

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