Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Culinary School Helps Food Pros Keep Up-to-Date

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Culinary School Helps Food Pros Keep Up-to-Date

Article excerpt

Chefs need not travel all the way to France to brush up on techniques and skills. The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone offers chefs, food professionals and even interested connoisseurs a chance to learn about the latest trends and preparation techniques.

The school, in St. Helena, Calif., is in beautiful Napa Valley wine country. Once the home of the Christian Brothers Winery, the large stone building is a national historic landmark. It features an open, 15,000-square-foot teaching kitchen, a 125-seat teaching auditorium, a public restaurant and organic herb and vegetable gardens.

Classes vary from a single day to weeklong courses on Soups, Stocks, Sauces and Salsa; Charcuterie, Smokehouse and Condiment Workshop; Food and Wine Dynamics, as well as foundation courses such as Cooking Principles and Wine 101.

There also are academic classes for writers. Visiting chefs or culinary teams often give demonstrations. Greystone is an adjunct to the Culinary Institute's main campus in Hyde Park, N.Y. While its primary purpose is to teach short courses, Greystone offers a two-semester, 30-week Baking and Pastry Arts program.

Sara Martynuska completed culinary school at Western Culinary School in Portland, Ore., and immediately enrolled in the Culinary Institute baking program. She decided to attend Greystone when she realized Chef Bo Friberg, who had written the textbook, The Professional Pastry Chef, she used at Western Culinary School, taught the baking course at Greystone.

"That was the deciding factor for me," she said.

It was a big decision. Tuition and other costs are about $15,000 and that does not include housing.

Martynuska's classes usually start with a 45- to 90-minute lecture and then three hours of work in the kitchen. Practical exams are given nearly every day, with the students graded on their competence in preparing that day's pastry item.

"The more you do them [the practical exams] the more you get used to them. But in the real world, every day is a practical exam. You're scared at first, but it prepares you for what is coming ahead," she said.

Once Martynuska completes the course, the Culinary Institute certificate will catch an employer's eye -- as long as she travels out of the northern California region. There, so many restaurant chefs and cooks have attended the Culinary Institute, either Greystone or Hyde Park, that it's just part of the average resume, she said.

Leonard Gulino traveled from Milford, Conn., to take the weeklong Wine 101 course recently. He works with computers in real life, but wine is a passion. He teaches a wine appreciation course on the side. He expects to take all five sessions of the wine appreciation curriculum within the next few years. With a tuition cost of more than $700 per five-day course, Gulino said it's a wonderful and affordable vacation. …

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