Guest Speakers

Oct 19, 2017, 23:45

Guest Speaker: Attending the NRA Show? Where to Go for the Best Deep-Dish Pizza

For those visiting Chicago for this year’s National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, mouths water and palates yearn for one of the City of Big Shoulders’ culinary claims to fame. And among pies, four take the cake.

By Marriott International, Inc.

While our restaurants at Chicago hotels offer excellent options, visitors who have the time to venture out should indulge in the original Chicago deep-dish pizza.

Like the foundation of a fine building, the crust is essential to creating a pizza that is usually 2 to 3 inches in depth. The dough contains cornmeal, an ingredient unique to Chicago-style pizza. When the crust is baked, it’s as flaky and buttery as pie crust, yet thick enough to support mounds of cheese and toppings.

With the crust firmly in place, next comes the cheese, and lots of it. Over 1 pound of mozzarella is common. Unlike other pizzas, Chicago calls for sliced cheese, not grated. Amazingly, the crust is so deep there is still room for heaps of toppings.

Perhaps puzzling to the uninitiated, the sauce is on the top of Chicago-style pizza, not on the bottom. Covering the top with a simple, chunky Italian tomato sauce prevents the cheese and toppings from burning while the pizza bakes for about 45 minutes. Rest assured it’s worth every minute of the wait!

Guest Speaker: Heirloom Memories

A veteran culinary educator recalls mingling among “the beautiful people” at the last annual TomatoFest.

By Jim Gallivan, MAT, CCA, CCP, CFBE

Several years ago, I agreed to write a column every two weeks for the Dover Post News. The idea was to bring up some new and intriguing food topics for the community, and to stimulate interest in Atlantic Culinary Academy in Dover, N.H., as a viable academic entity.

The first article, “Foods in the Attic,” was about heirloom produce, specifically tomatoes, and was written prior to my 16th-annual pilgrimage to TomatoFest in Carmel, Calif.—the premier heirloom-tomato event in the world.

Constant readers know that I now work for The Art Institute of Atlanta. (Say “Atlanna.”) And heirloom tomatoes continue the mystery. Wherever they are grown—with variants of soil, weather, water—they all implicate and intrigue. So, another journey westward for TomatoFest No. 17.

TomatoFest is an invitational event. While I reveled in being one of the 65 chosen ones (mostly chefs from the Monterey Peninsula and the Bay Area),I did enjoy being one of“Inner Circle.”  What that meant is that I saw colleagues from the very beginnings of the event, and enjoyed a few fringe benefits, as well.

Guest Speaker: Building Futures through Career Technical Education

Career technical education (CTE) programs such as the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s ProStart give students the skills and experience they need to achieve rewarding, long-term careers in the high-growth restaurant sector.

By Rob Gifford

For nearly 20 years, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) ProStart program has been supporting the restaurant sector by providing a steady pipeline of talent to support the industry’s growth. ProStart exposes high-school students to rewarding career opportunities and the skills needed to succeed in the foodservice field, and is considered one of the pre-eminent CTE programs in the United States

ProStart has achieved phenomenal, sustained growth based on its ability to interest young people in an industry that is creating career opportunities like few others. ProStart is stronger than ever through unique engagement between industry and educators and extends into more than 2,200 high schools across 48 states to reach nearly 100,000 students.

ProStart’s rigorous teaching materials, assessment tools and partnerships with restaurant-sector employers prepare students for careers or additional studies in hospitality programs offered at postsecondary institutions. Students also compete annually in the National ProStart Invitational, the country’s premier high-school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts. Furthermore, ProStart students are eligible each year for millions of scholarship dollars to help continue their studies.

Guest Speaker: Ask Gale Gand about Being a Chef

A star of such televised cook-offs as “Top Chef” and “Food Network Challenge” alerts educators that Women Chefs & Restaurateurs will hold its annual conference in Chicago during National Women’s History Month.

By Elizabeth Falkner

I want to share my enthusiasm for the upcoming Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR) Annual Conference in Chicago, March 9-11. The conferences have continually been a highlight to my years as a chef. Being surrounded by like-minded professional women for a few days leaves me inspired and grateful for being in this field. I’ve met some incredible women and have maintained long-lasting relationships.

The highlight of the conference, The Women Who Inspire Gala, is being held at the Chicago Art Institute this year, and will be emceed by Rick Bayless. We gather some of the best chefs in the community to cook for you, as well as a celebrity-chef-studded 2nd Annual WCR Culinary Challenge. This year we have Stephanie Izard, Christina Tosi and Hedy Goldsmith, to name a few.

The conference offers you a great opportunity to mingle with some of the best in the business. Have cocktails with Deanna Bayless. Ask Barbara Lynch or Gale Gand about being a chef. Talk to Nell Newman or Ina Pinkney about the business of restaurants or production. The opportunities for networking are endless.

The theme this year is the Art of Keeping It Green, Environmentally and Financially. Renowned restaurateur Rohini Dey will provide the opening remarks about women seeking financial success in the culinary world. We will be exploring green topics relevant to women and their businesses.

WCR is a great organization and becoming stronger every day. Come join us. Take a peek at the registration and you will see the wide variety of events, classes and tours that are calling for your participation. Go to www.womenchefs.org and register.

Cheers.


Elizabeth Falkner, executive chef of Corvo Bianco in New York City, frequently appears as a competitor and judge on TV cooking competitions, including “The Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs,” “The Next Iron Chef, Redemption,” “Chopped All Stars,” “Top Chef Masters,” “Top Chef: Just Desserts” and “Food Network Challenge.” She is the incoming president of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs.

 

Guest Speaker: Lessons Learned in 2013

Among many professional-development events held last year, the sum of different voices, perspectives and expertise areas was the most valuable take-away.

By Mary Petersen

I was privileged to attend several professional events in 2013 including annual conferences for the American Culinary Federation, the Research Chefs Association, Chefs Collaborative, the American Council for Technical Education the International Foodservice Editorial Council; and the National Restaurant Association, in addition to three CAFÉ events: the first postsecondary Deans and Directors Retreat, the 9th-annual CAFÉ Leadership Conference and The Science of Baking Workshop.

These events focused on present challenges and offered numerous ideas for coping with the future. I thought I would share (in no particular order) some relevant (to me and perhaps to you) highlights: