Guest Speakers

Jul 11, 2020, 12:07

Guest Speaker: The Coach in All of Us

Thursday, 01 September 2011 00:00

guest1_sept11The American Culinary Federation’s 2011 Chef Educator of the Year says success and failure through solo and team competitions helps prepare students for the real-life rigors of the workplace.

By Dina Altieri, CEC, CCE

Maybe I have always been competitive. I can remember wanting to hit a home run every time I got up to bat on the tee-ball field. I can remember my first softball coach encouraging me to be the best I could be at 7 years old.

Coaching is something we do every day as chef educators. We push our students to excel in ways they never thought possible. We have conversations with them about mise en place, professional etiquette and, of course, cooking ability. I vote we take it a step further and encourage them to compete in extracurricular competitions to whet their appetites for what lies ahead in the foodservice industry.

Guest Speaker: A Technological Tool by Any Name

Thursday, 28 July 2011 14:19

By Margaret Checchi, M.Ed.

guest_july11Successful transitioning from hands-on learning to hybridized classes depends on faculty who can create dynamic and engaging course content delivered with students’ best interests in mind.

A decade ago, it was unheard of to serve foams and essences; it was unrealistic to manipulate food at the very heart of its molecular structure. What seemed unrealistic and impossible then is becoming almost mainstream now. So it is with education.

At New England Culinary Institute, our students slurp coffee desperately in the cold, black dark of the pre-dawn chill, hunching over pocket notebooks filled with ratios, temperatures, cook times and formulas as they create the day’s menus and generate mise en place lists. They are like the students before them and the ones before them, since Socrates held lessons in the olive grove. With luck, Chef will come into the kitchen having had a good night’s sleep and the students will get through the day without feeling completely inadequate.

Guest Speaker: The Great Thing about Weddings

Wednesday, 01 June 2011 13:33

By Mike Roman

guest_june11Despite the challenges, we take joy in producing them.

It’s very easy to be a great wedding caterer. All you really need is a talented catering team, empathy, patience and a genie’s magic lamp. You need access to this lantern simply because most caterers get hit with some very challenging “wishes” from the bride, mother of the bride and every vendor associated with the wedding before, during and even after the wedding day.

Sadly, caterers don’t have access to a magic lamp; they must face a constant level of pressure on them while catering this emotion-filled event. Weddings can bring out the worst in customers. They really can’t help themselves because there are no do-overs in weddings. When the chocolate wedding cake promised turns out to be a carrot wedding cake upon cutting, there is no pause button to hit to create the time you need to  make things right.

Guest Speaker: The Biggest Challenge in 10,000 Years

Friday, 29 April 2011 12:26

By Christopher Koetke, CEC, CCE

guest_may11Are we heading for a worldwide famine by mid-century? Is our very civilization unsustainable? Is it too late to stop the train and turn it around? The answers are yes, yes and no.

Julian Cribb, Australian author of The Coming Famine (University of California Press, 2010), paints the picture of a perfect storm in which a number of sustainability issues will reach criticality and come together over the next few decades to portend a worldwide famine that will change the face of our world.

The concept of “peak oil” is something that we’ve all become familiar with over the last decade. Put simply, it’s a situation where demand outpaces the discovery of new reserves of a finite resource, so supply gets scarce and expensive. In Cribb’s estimation, water and agricultural outputs will also reach their peak in the near-term horizon.

In fact, we’re already seeing some evidence. While the United States, Australia and Europe are awash in food, literally throwing half of it away, the rest of the world is not. For the last half century a billion people in the developing world have been going to bed hungry every night. The resulting “food insecurity” has devastating effects.

Guest Speaker: Twenty-five Years of Culinary-Arts Education

Thursday, 31 March 2011 00:43

By Mary Petersen

guest_april11CAFÉ’s founder and executive director says combining the worlds of food and education has been the best ride of her life.

Being a guest speaker for “The Gold Medal Classroom” is an opportunity to reflect on, evaluate and possibly predict a particular topic of interest to foodservice instructors. I have had the privilege of this form of dialogue for many years with chefs who have become involved with education as well as educators who jumped (or were pushed) into the culinary-arts arena.

My reflection will be brief: Twenty-five years ago the majority of culinary-arts programs were certificate programs; there were no national standards as to the guidelines for a well-rounded curriculum; and the majority of our education was apprenticeship style (worthy of skills, though not as comprehensive as some liked). The American Culinary Federation stepped up to the plate and committed resources to recognize postsecondary programs that were willing to evaluate what they did against standards, host an on-site team of chefs and educators, and then make changes per the team’s suggestions so as to raise the bar for industry expectations of graduates.