I recently returned from taking a professional cooking course at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. It was an intense, week-long course that is part of the institute’s “ProChef” continuing education program.
The course was approximately 6.5 hours long and consisted of both classroom and hands-on cooking in one of the institutes many massive and fully equipped teaching kitchens.
While I have been cooking for a number of years, I have always wanted the knowledge and training that an institution like the CIA provides. They are one of the most prestigious institutions setting the gold standard in culinary excellence. www.ciachef.edu.
The course I took dealt with fundamental cooking methods divided into four major topics – dry-heat cooking with and without fats and oils; combination cooking methods; and moist heat cooking methods. We also studied methods for building and intensifying flavors; made a variety of sauces and sides. It was a wonderful experience and I believe it really helped me “sharpen my skills”.
However, it wasn’t all work and no play for Chef Mary Ann! My husband, Larry, joined me and after I completed my class work, we were off touring the Hudson River Valley area.
If you haven’t visited upper state New York, you must! It is breathtaking – lush, rolling hills, beautiful farms and wineries! Aside from visiting and sampling the wines from the area, we also visited and toured West Point, Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate, The Vanderbilt Mansion and the Roosevelt Estate in Hyde Park. Visit these websites for more details: www.hudsonvalley.org , www.nps.gov/vama and www.nps.gov/hofr