Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jobs Times Two

On Wednesday, March 23, the school opened its doors once again to some of the top restaurants, caterers, magazines and other food companies at our semi-annual career fair in New York City.

And as Chef Annette so aptly posted on her twitter account that day, "@ career fair today. 5 years of former students & friends on both sides of the tables. I'm a very proud teacher today!"

It's amazing to walk the halls and see such an impressive network of companies and students coming together for the benefit of both. Friends of the school and former students come back year after year, providing excellent opportunities for those students taking their turn at starting out fresh in the industry.

The fair filled L'Ecole, the 4th floor classroom, and most of the 4th floor kitchens.

There was also an exciting addition to this year's career fair. On Monday, March 28, the school followed up our NYC career fair with one at our new California campus. The inaugural career fair went extremely well. Students and staff were both pleased with the employers who came to the school. The visiting employers were in turn impressed with the professionalism exhibited by the students.

Now, with one fair behind them, the career services team in California is looking forward to their next career fair in the fall (mark those calendars for Wednesday, September 21!)

Foreground: Joey Elentario, executive chef of Mountain Views’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Chez TJ, reviews notes with his colleague. Middle: Deanna Kang, representative from Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, shares info. about the professional organization. Background: Emily Richard, director of Bumble, speaks to interested attendees about the new café and play space in downtown Los Altos.

Participating Employers included:

New York City:
21 Club
Abigail Kirsch/Pier Sixty
B.R. Guest Restaurants
Food Truck Franchise Group
The Hurricane Club
The James Beard Foundation
The Meatball Shop
Patina Restaurant Group
Wellness in the Schools
Blue Hill/Blue Hill at Stone Barns
The Breslin/The John Dory
The Dinex Group
Nobu 57
Park Avenue Spring
Seeds in the Middle
Club Med
Food Arts
Indiana Market & Catering
MARC Restaurants
Shake Shack
Sweet Bliss
Union Square Hospitality Group
Bar Baque
NYY Steak
Pierre NY
Rouge Tomate
The Water Club
Frankie's Spuntino/Prime Meats
The Harrison
La Petite Maison NYC
Maloney & Porcelli
Mercer Kitchen
Sheraton Brooklyn/Aloft
Marlow & Sons
Quality Meats
New York Women's Culinary Alliance
Advanced Studies at The International Culinary Center

Campbell, California:
Acrobat Outsourcing
Bacchus Management Group (Café des Amis, Mayfiled Bakery 7 Café, Pizza Antica, ROASTCO, Spruce, and The Village Pub)
Labor Ready
Left Bank
Chez TJ
LB Steak
Cordevalle, a Rosewood Resort
Embassy Suites
The Party Staff
Specialty Baking Company
Paula Le Duc Catering
Restaurants from Scratch (Scratch, Reposado, Palo Alto Creamery, Gravity Wine Bar)
Rosewood Sand Hill
Volt Workforce Solutions
The Wine Club
Women Chefs and Restauranteurs
Yan Can Asian Bistro
Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club
South Bay Wine Tours
Slow Food, South Bay

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our Very Own Jeeves

In May, The French Culinary Insitute begins its first run of week-long classes in our new Estate Management Studies training, headed up by former footman at Buckingham Palace and butler to Brooke Astor, Chris Ely, whose goal is to elevate the quality of professional service.

In a whirlwind of media attention, Chris was interviewed in the New York Times and on Good Morning America this week. Read and watch, to learn more about Chris, our new EMS classes, and a few tidbits that we know you will want to use around your own "estate."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Coast to Coast

If you haven't heard the news already, The French Culinary Institute now has a campus in Campbell, California—just south of San Francisco. FCI career pastry and culinary programs will begin this April. Jacques Pépin, dean of special programs, cookbook author, and TV cooking show host, will be teaching a class for the inaugural Classic Culinary program, and Jaques Torres, dean of pastry arts and owner of Jacques Torres Chocolates in New York City, will be teaching a class for the inaugural Classic Pastry program. We also have two scholarships available for students attending these first two classes in April.

We are excited to be able to expose our students to both the Bay Area and New York City, with their rich food cultures, and we look forward to becoming a strong participant in the food community in the Bay Area.

Along with our new location, we also have a new website, which is chock-full of interesting tidbits: alumni bios, reports on events at the school, some of the interesting community endeavors we are participating in, and much more. The site is also easier to use and navigate. You can check out one of our many blogs for more in-depth coverage, too. We hope to keep you abreast of all the exciting things going on at both schoosl, as well as make it easy to get all the information you need on our many fantastic programs and areas of study. So, click around the new site. We think you will like it as much as we do!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Let's Move: from the White House to Local Schools

A childhood obesity epidemic has long been on the rise in America, and it’s become a problem we can no longer ignore. What began as a campaign less than a year ago has already reached thousands of schools. With a year in the works, from the White House to local schools nationwide, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Let’s Move campaign last May to team up local chefs with school food programs.

The two-day regional IACP conference organized by The Culinary Trust took place on February 18th and 19th. The first day opened with a plenary session at the Players Theatre in the West Village with guest speaker Sam Kass, private chef to our nation’s First Family and senior policy advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives.

Sam Kass and Corby Kummer

Sam Kass

the organizers

Motivated as a culinary professional and mother of two young children, I attended several sessions to find out what I can do to help the Initiative. With the amount of press in the room, we could have been attending a White House press conference. Childhood obesity statistics continue to rise, and so everyone wanted to know where can we find the solution?

members of the press and notable culinary professionals in the audience

According to Chef Bobo, the problem didn’t originate in schools. However, the solution can certainly begin there. The home-based diet of a child has an enduring impact on their lifestyle. Parents can help by making smarter food choices, spending valuable time cooking meals in lieu of frozen dinners or takeout.

Even Food Network executives believe the notion of home cooking will decrease the obesity rate. According to Mark Dissin, vice president of Production at the Food Network, “There’s conclusive evidence that spending time around the dinner table contributes to healthier adolescent growth, lower obesity rates in children, better performance in school, et cetera. And I’m confident that our programming has played a role in helping people get good food on the table day after day.”

I recently met Dr. M. Baer, a doctor of Nutrigenomics, University of Cambridge, who recommends a diet based on individual metabolic type and that eating the right foods can determine the remedy to genetic disease prevention. He believes the consumption of organic, sustainable foods versus conventional processed foods is better overall for longevity and disease prevention. Conventional foods are loaded with “toxins” that “attack and destroy cells and gene structures. They create an acidic environment in the body that is vulnerable to fungi, bacteria, parasites, worms, viruses, and many other pathogens. Organs and body systems under a toxic load lose their ability to metabolize and process fat effectively,” hence contributing to the obesity factor.

So what is the solution to the childhood obesity epidemic? There is no solid answer. However, it will take more than just buying and cooking local, sustainable foods. It’s easier said than done, and certainly easier when money is not an issue. With the rising cost of produce, how will low-income families provide healthier alternatives at home? Walmart is taking steps toward offering compatible pricing for whole-grain products. Whole Foods Market is organizing on-location cooking demos at stores nationwide. In Washington, D.C., local public schools are receiving a $.05 bonus for each meal prepared, utilizing local sustainable ingredients. That’s good for starters. Of course any long-term solution to the childhood obesity epidemic will take a few years to show tangible results.

We as chefs have the power to enrich the lives of children by educating them how to eat well. Remember the old saying, We are what we eat? After attending the conference, I went home and registered to participate in the Initiative online. If we can get children to cheer for broccoli and try cauliflower, the Let’s Move Initiative looks very promising indeed.

Notable attendees included: Sam Kass, Corby Kummer, Shelly Menaged from the James Beard Foundation, Mark Oshima from Citarella, Judith Weinbrow, Mike Thelin of Bolted Services, Karin Endy, Phil Gutensohn, Tony Garcia, Bill Telepan, Marion Rosenfeld, Chef Bobo.

Shelley Menaged of the James Beard Foundation with Mark Oshima from Citarella

Bill Telepan and Nancy Easton

John Turenne

FCI note: If you are interesting in doing more, the school is offering a 10-hour course, New Directions in School Meal Planning instructed by Chef Bobo on May 7th.

Rina Oh is an evening student in the classic culinary arts program and is a contributing writer on Eat Life FCI, The Hot Plate and Food2. When she's not working as a food writer or stylist, she continues developing content for her gossip blog, dining with outlaws, and illustrating a comic book series called The Gastronomic Chronicles.