Working at Shorewood with the Culinary Arts students this year has been fun and eye opening. I have a new respect for high school students and their age group. The quality of work they put forth was impressive. The variety of events they catered were numerous. Often I was sceptical an event would be completed in time, but it always was. I watched them work with Seattle's top chefs without fear. They jumped in, did their best and always left these chefs wanting to come back again.
I learned to trust after a while and I became Shorewood Culinary Arts' biggest cheerleader. My first year at Shorewood has been the best year.
Ms. D, tells the class about the award.
Shorewood Culinary Arts students...Outstanding Business Award!
Shorewood Culinary Arts program received a prestigious award on April 17, 2013. The award was given in recognition for outstanding service to the Shoreline PTA community. The award was accepted by Shorewood Culinary Arts chef instructor Diana Dillard. In attendance to represent the students were Kiera Strong and Kathleen Valiente.
Recently, the Shorewood Culinary Art students were evaluated. This can be a tough situation for a student who is in the process of learning. I was pleased to see their efforts as they prepared their grocery lists and discussed mise en place with those who agreed to help them. When the day arrives, volunteer chefs come from all over Seattle to review and provide feedback; Catering Chef Diana Kallaway, Chef Nate Crave, Chef Chris Hill and Chef Peter Levine all took time from their busy schedules to break down, advise and rebuild. I want to say I was impressed. Thinking back upon my high school years, I don't think I had an opportunity like this. If I had, I am not sure I would have had the guts to put myself out there to be judged. I want to say "great job" to all the students who pushed themselves and thank you to the chefs who gave their time.
We know that the tabletop items we choose to set our table with can help make the meal more memorable. But, since we’ve always used the traditional place setting or maybe we’ve only used round white plates….we’re not quite sure where to begin in making our tabletop more interesting – and, hopefully, the meal more memorable.
When just starting out changing the serving pieces, a good place to start is “around the edges” of the meal…..the beginning and the end. Try, for instance, bringing the bread out on a board. It can be something as simple as a cutting board with homemade bread or several types of rolls on it. If you have a salad course, you can change up the salad plate to an antique, glass, or even metal plate. The dessert course is another place where you can easily begin your tabletop creativity by using a wine glass to serve an ice cream parfait while using a colorful disposable spoon. Changing the texture of the serving pieces you use helps to also to change the tone of the overall experience.
Creative doesn’t necessarily mean complicated. In the beginning, keeping it simple will allow you to experiment. Once you are comfortable serving your guests in something a little “unexpected” you can move on to more adventurous serving pieces. A great meal is all about the dining experience and tabletop helps in elevating that experience.
Be creative with your tabletop….and, most importantly – have fun!
Remember, tabletop matters!
This past week, we discussed a hot topic and a film was shown. "Can the Oceans Keep up with the Hunt?" is a disturbing blend of truth and imagery and if you aren't feeling a little sick afterwards, then you weren't paying attention. It sets forth the issues clearly; we need to think before we blindly purchase and eat seafood. The facts that the film presents, about pollution, over fishing and bycatch, and the powerful GPS technology available today, are what continues to aggravate the situation. The film also explains the pros and cons of farmed fish and the conclusion isn't the answer we all wanted it to be.
This film is offered from the Monterey Bay Aquarium for free so visit their website, www.montereybayaquarium.org. Often, people ask how they can make a difference with such a vast problem. One step you can take is to print off a seafood watch pocket guide and download their seafood watch app on your phone. This way, when you are at the store trying to decide what seafood to buy, you can easily type in the type of fish you want and the guide tells you whether you should or shouldn't make the purchase. It evens offers substitution suggestions. It is one way you can do your part. Although, the fishing industry might not listen to the little guy, if you stop buying the product, this will get their attention and they will stop fishing that item. The best way to vote for change is with the all mighty dollar.
The Culinary Arts program is dedicated to creating opportunities that allow students to focus on teamwork, leadership, initiative, and responsibility. A high value is placed upon remaining committed to one another and the overall program while exceeding the expectations of guests and clients.