Guest Speakers

Mar 25, 2017, 18:40

Guest Speaker: The 800-Mile Cheeseburger

A veteran educator takes a road trip in search of the perfect bite.

By Bruce Konowalow, CCE

Finding good food in out-of-the-way places has been second nature to my wife, Carolle, and me. We have traveled 300-plus miles for a smoked-beef sandwich at Ben’s in Montreal, midnight trips to Chinatown in New York City, early-morning sojourns to the backdoor of Bridgeport, Conn.’s Zeislers bakery for fresh pastries still hot out of the oven, and have taken trips to eastern Long Island, Cape Cod and Connecticut for a good lobster roll.

Part of this quest has always been to find the holy grail of burgers, beefy nirvana. I do not know if there really is a best burger, but the experience is the thing. Those trips have taken us to quaint seaside clam shacks, rustic barbecue venues and hole-in-the-wall joints in big cities.

That being said, it came as no surprise to my wife when I asked her if she wanted to go to Amarillo to have a great burger at a little joint called the Coyote Bluff Café, a burger restaurant we had just seen on the Travel Channel. We were living in Dallas, so Amarillo was a good six-hour drive with few pit stops. The trip required a couple of tanks of gas and an overnight stay, so we knew these $8 burgers were going to cost about $75 each.  We scurried to the library for a couple of tour books and hit the road.

Guest Speaker: Is It Time to Reinvent Culinary Education?

As high-school seniors yearn to become star chefs, more colleges consider the leap to culinary education. The result is a glut of programs all vying to meet enrollment goals. Meanwhile, the cost of a quality culinary education far exceeds earning potential.

By Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC

Although it seems impossible to find an accurate number, it appears there might be as many as 2,000 programs in the United States that offer some form of “professional” culinary degree or certificate.

The cost of providing quality educational programs has skyrocketed as colleges strive to remain competitive with student-to-faculty ratios, state-of-the-art facilities and sufficient equipment to meet the needs of the curriculum and provide the right amount of “sizzle” to attract students.

As high-school seniors and career changers become more enthralled with the marketed glamour of working in kitchens and a vision of becoming a star chef, more and more colleges consider the leap to culinary education.

Guest Speaker: My Path to My Passion

As the American Culinary Federation’s 2013 National Chef Educator of the Year learned from her fourth-grade teacher, to achieve success in the classroom, a good instructor must be able to recognize the learning styles of his or her students and adjust his or her teaching style accordingly. Because every student deserves a Miss Farber.

By Leslie Eckert, CCE, CWPC, MBA

“It takes time to discover what works for you.”

As a child in elementary school I learned differently from all the other kids around me. It took me longer to absorb and retain information, and I had to work twice as hard to achieve accuracy with regards to technique. I was labeled a slow learner in second grade and attended summer school just to keep up with my third-grade class. Fourth grade came like all the other grades, but I soon realized on the first day of class this year was going to be different.

Miss Farberwas an incredible teacher who made learning fun, easy and exciting, and thinking back now, her style of teaching was so different from my previous teachers. Miss Farber incorporated games, pictures, role-playing, colors and sounds in our daily learning and promoted a learner-centered classroom. It was an incredible year, and I missed Miss Farber as I entered into fifth grade, where I found myself confronted with the old style of teaching and learning. Was the magic of learning gone for good?

Guest Speaker: Building Your Professional Brand Helps Every Student

Simply preparing for your classes and delivering material is never sufficient. You have an obligation to yourself, your students and your institution to stay in touch with the industry you represent by building your personal, professional brand.

By Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC

As a culinary-arts faculty member, program director or dean, you are a lifelong portal for every student you come in contact with. The value of their education extends beyond the quality of the material that you offer or even the important degree that they might eventually receive. The real value of their education lies in the ongoing significance of their connections to you and to the reputation of your institution

Students’ value expectations today are, as they should be, far greater than in the past. The stakes are more significant as a result of the escalating cost of a degree and the tangible outcomes that will be apparent throughout their careers. Students should expect that you and your institution will remain a resource for them and that the perceptions that peers and employers have of your institution remain positive as they move through various stages of their careers.

To this end, it is imperative that you invest in building your brand. By this I am referring to how you continue to enhance your knowledge and skills, the industry connections that you make, and your visible prominence in the fields of culinary arts and education.

Throughout your time in culinary education and even beyond, investment in your brand development is also an investment in every student’s brand development. I like to refer to this as your “network of influence.” LinkedIn is really an attempt to help individuals build on the concept of “network of influence” by encouraging professionals to catalogue those persons who have or could have an impact on their careers—directly or indirectly. Every time you invest in building professional relationships with others, you open a potential door for yourself and those with whom you have a “portal relationship.”

Guest Speaker: Taking the Time to Appreciate What We Do

As cooks, we exist to express ourselves, learn and work together as a team and produce some amazing art that people in the dining room will eat, smell and enjoy.

By Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC

To some it may be a job, a means to an end. Yes, there are those who work in kitchens simply to pay the bills. This is not true of the people with whom I strove to work and hired for the kitchens in which I was privileged to work.

When you stop to think about it, there is something truly magical about working in a professional kitchen. I have often said that most serious cooks are frustrated artists—individuals who have this innate artistic ability that is simply looking for a vehicle of expression. Some are writers, painters, sculptors, bloggers, musicians or even poets. Few are outgoing enough to have an interest in the live performing arts, so their goal is to find a place where they can be expressive behind closed doors. Ah … the kitchen, what a perfect place.

Once they find their way into that cross between the cleanliness of a surgical room and intensity and heat of Dante’s Inferno, they are hooked. Just think of the advantages for the artist: an environment where every day you get to paint on your canvas (the plate), use a plethora of exciting raw materials, appeal to every human sense simultaneously, earn a paycheck, work with other driven artists, learn from a teacher (the chef), and receive instant feedback for your work (although many cooks could care less as long as they feel that the work is an expression of who they are).