April 24, 2014

Florida Life - Dining

Edible Education

Chris Sherman | 9/1/2010
At Cordon Bleu, working at Machon is the final class before graduation — three weeks of cooking and three weeks in the “front of the house” as maitre d’s and waiters, each area under the watchful and grading eyes of supervising chefs.

Cooking covers the traditional stations of garde manger for cold preparations to saucier grilling, searing, frying and pastry making in a typical modern range, from classics with marchand du vin and julienne vegetables bouquetiere to the wide world tastes of falafel, chipotle, risotto and white truffle foam.

Cooking is somewhat collective and under close supervision. I could hear the true chef repeating that a salmon order was to be rare — and when it got to my table, it was, more so than I get in most commercial restaurants. The fresh tomato flatbread was crackling good, and the espresso panna cotta delivered my favorite flavor properly jiggly.

In addition to cooking, students must master social graces and diner psychology, which can be more difficult than carving a rack of lamb tableside. Unlike the crew in the kitchen, servers work solo. You can readily tell the A students from those who are still learning.

For all the goat cheese, mango and Moroccan spices, chefs education retains some traditions from the grand Swiss ecoles: Culinary is not for softies. Classrooms are hazardous, teachers are stern, and grading is strict.

Essential lessons for an industry in tough times and a profession that demands hard work and bad hours even from stars.

Jacobson Culinary Arts Academy at Tarpon Springs High School
Jacobson Culinary Arts Academy at Tarpon Springs High School

Class Participation

Let future chefs cook for you at Florida’s culinary schools.

Since they are classrooms and restaurants, hours and service are limited and determined by school calendars and educational needs, so contact first to make reservations.

Café Culinard, Culinary Institute of Virginia College
5940 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville
904/520-7400, culinard.com

Chef’s Palette, Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
1650 S.E. 17th St., Fort Lauderdale
954/760-7957, artinstitutes.edu

Machon, Le Cordon Bleu
8511 Commodity Circle, Orlando
407/ 313-8792, chefs.edu

Jacobson Culinary Arts Academy (Tuesday lunch)
1411 Gulf Road, Tarpon Springs (Tarpon Springs High School)
727/943-4900, jacobsonculinaryacademy.org

Passport, Art Institute of Jacksonville
8775 Baypine Road, Jacksonville
904/486-3000, artinstitutes.edu

Tropibleu, Le Cordon Bleu Miami
3221 Enterprise Way, Miramar
954/438-8828, chefs.edu

The Tutored Chef, Art Institute of Tampa
4401 N. Himes Ave., Tampa
866/703-3277, artinstitutes.edu

Tags: Dining & Travel

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