How To Apply To Culinary School

Culinary Students Having been raised in Sweden, Marcus didn't go to culinary school in the States. Instead his path to becoming a professional chef started in high school when he applied to a specialized school where students could learn to hone their craft in fashion, dance, singing, and of course, cooking. Instead of the rigors of a program like the French Culinary Institute or the Culinary Institute of America, Marcus chopped and sweated his way through vocational school then through the toughest kitchens in Europe. Read his whole story in "Yes, Chef", his award-winning memoir.

Culinary arts has now become a major career choice for all ages. In a time when chefs and culinary professionals are the new age rock stars, the number of people enrolling in culinary arts schools has risen significantly in the past few years. The food industry is bustling and producing great chefs and food industry professionals alike, and now going to culinary school seems to be a great option. Like any other school you look to apply to, choosing the right culinary school is key to your success and you want to make sure that the school matches who you are and your needs and career goals.

A Look into the Future: 

With the dreams of becoming a celebrity chef, a published food author, or a prized food photographer, comes the harsh reality of actually going, not only to culinary school, but working in a food related industry. Long shifts, cuts, burns, standing on your feet all day, and more all play a deep roll in being in the food industry. It's best to sit down with yourself and think if you can deal with and manage all these aspects and more, prior to applying for culinary school. Your love for all things food and chef could drastically change once you begin culinary school, and you may realize that you  just like to eat in restaurants more than you like to cook in one.

Marcus

Apply Yourself: 

Applying to culinary school is a lot like applying to a regular academic university. Aside from your undying love for food and hospitality, applying for culinary schools also comes with academic needs as well. A high school diploma or GED equivalent, GPA, extra curricular activity and more are all needed to apply to a majority of today's culinary schools. Also a crucial addition to all of these things are food related experiences and/or work experience in a food-related field, that is NOT fast food. Several culinary schools require you to have hands on work experience in a food related business (roughly 6 months) prior to applying for culinary school. This gives you the opportunity to test the waters and see if continuing your culinary education is best fit for you.

cooking, culinary school, chef, how to,

 

Know Yourself:

The culinary industry is very hard work, just ask any chef. This is truly a industry for passionate individuals who believe in their craft and the power of food. It is also a industry for the hard worker, the person willing to not go home until the job is done. That attitude is where people sometimes get mislead. Being a highly praised chef is essentially the ultimate goal, but ask any chef what they had to give up to get there are they will tell you a little bit of everything. Time is of the essence in a kitchen and speed is a necessity. If you are slow on a task, there is always someone in the kitchen that works faster than you. Be sure to be committed to the craft before you apply.

 

Top Five Foods to Avoid

Everyday there are new reports on what you should and should-not eat, new diet trends, and new food buzz-words. Of course if you eat a balanced diet of whole grains, lean protein, fruit, and vegetables, it's okay to indulge every once in a while in your favorite guilty-pleasure food of choice. But there are certain foods that should be avoided as much as possible, and luckily there are plenty of flavorful and healthy substitutions you can make so you don't have to feel like you are making sacrifices. Ice cream1. Trans-fats.

I'm sure you've heard the term before, but do you really know what trans-fats are? They are hydrogenated oils - oil that has been processed to become solid at room temperature. Hydrogenated oils are often used in restaurants and in processed foods in order to increase their shelf life. However, this comes at a price to our health because these oils are not only artery clogging, but they raise blood pressure and HDL (bad) cholesterol, at the same time lowering LDL (good) cholesterol.

How to avoid: Always check your food labels - foods you wouldn't normally expect to have trans fats in them often do, like cookies and frozen pizza. Better yet, instead of buying any packaged or frozen foods, use fresh vegetables and ingredients in place of frozen ready-made meals, like this homemade butternut squash pizza. Read here to see a list of foods that you normally have in your kitchen that are loaded with hydrogenated oils, it may surprise you. The more you eat food that is raw and in its natural state, the less processed and packaged foods you will consume. Try making this easy homemade lentil and barley soup with escarole, it's better than any frozen dinner out there.

sugar2. Refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

This may seem obvious, but if you can cut out refined sugar from your diet, you will lose weight and increase your energy levels. When you eat a piece of cake or drink a soda, your blood-sugar levels skyrocket, and then drop soon thereafter, leaving you feeling tired and empty. Refined sugar does not contain any essential nutrients, and is just plain high in calories. The way your body also processes high fructose corn syrup also leads to weight gain and diabetes - it is made up of more fructose than standard sugar, which converts to fat in your body more easily.

How to avoid: One major way to cut back on sugar intake is to stop drinking soda or other sugary drinks. Have a look here for the cold hard facts on why soda is so terrible for your body - I guarantee you will think twice about going for that can of Pepsi when you need a pick-me-up. Instead try drinking kombucha, a kind of fermented tea that is naturally carbonated, if it's the bubbles you still crave from a soda. You can even learn how to make your own kombucha at home!  Another alternative to sugary drinks would be coconut water. Not only does it taste great, but it contains essential vitamins and minerals, to name a few of the many health benefits of drinking coconut water.

white rice3. Refined Grains

Refined grains include white flour, white rice, white bread etc...most baked goods are made with white flour. During the refining process, the most nutritional part of the grain is removed, the bran and germ, prolonging its shelf-life. Refined grains are quickly digested and absorbed into the blood stream, spiking sugar levels. They are also low in fiber and are easy to over-eat because they aren't as filling as whole grains tend to be. Research has shown that diets such as the Mediterranean Diet, which is rich in whole grains, leads to a healthier, longer life span.

How to avoid: Substitute refined grains with whole grains such as brown rice, whole-wheat flower, quinoa, or buckwheat. The higher fiber in these grains will keep you full for longer, and give you more sustained energy. Read here for great healthy alternatives to white rice, or try this kale and quinoa salad with roasted beets. There are so many healthy grains out there to try, and so many ways to use them, like in these lemon and herb stuffed peppers recipe.

sugar-packets4. Artificial Sweeteners

Even zero-calorie foods can be harmful to your health. Sugar substitutes like aspartame and saccharin are made with chemicals to mimic the sweetness of natural sugar. Artificial sweeteners have not been around long enough to determine any long-term side effects, so it's best to just eliminate the chances by not using them. They also tend to "trick" your body into thinking that you are about to ingest a lot of calories, so when that doesn't happen you actually crave more sweets.

How to avoid: There are many natural alternatives to sugar that are much better for your body than artificial sweeteners. Honey, maple syrup, and agave are great choices that aren't made from chemicals. When it comes to baking, read here on how to use these alternatives in your recipes. Try these lemon poppy seed muffins, which are made using all-natural sugar alternatives such as brown rice and malt syrup.

Buttermilk Baked Chicken

5. Fried Foods

Fried foods are often high in saturated fat, and are definitely high in calories. Frying food in oil adds no nutritional value, and only increases your chances of heart problems and weight gain. Also, generally foods that are fried are high in calories to begin with, so you are just packing on the calories to go from bad to worse.

How to avoid: Use low-fat cooking methods such as baking, broiling, or grilling. There are many ways to bake your favorite fried foods, and you would never know the difference. This buttermilk battered chicken recipe is baked in the oven, saving you hundreds of calories without sacrificing texture or flavor - I promise. Instead of regular potato chips, opt for baked. Try making these baked curry-cayenne zucchini chips, or the ever-so-popular kale chips.

Back to Basics: Strawberries

The first of the locally grown fruits to appear in spring is the strawberry. One thing that is so great about these sweet little red gems is their versatility. Strawberries are an obvious winner for desserts, but are also great in salads, cocktails, and sandwiches. To preserve the freshness of their short peak season, try making homemade strawberry jam.

strawberries, strawberry recipes

Here we've rounded up some of our favorite recipes using strawberries:

Name: Fragaria ananassa is the scientific name for the commercially grown strawberry.

Origins: The wild strawberry has been around for decades, however the more common, larger garden strawberry was first discovered in Chile and Peru by a French engineer who began cultivating the fruit in France in the 18th century.

Peak Season: Strawberry peak season varies from region to region, and is the first of the early spring fruits to appear at farmers markets. Peak season for California and Florida harvests are in April and May.

Nutritional Values: High in vitamin C, fiber, and anti-oxidants. Strawberries are also a good source of the mineral manganese, which is important to help maintain healthy bone structure. When possible, it's important to buy organic strawberries.

Prep: Use strawberries within one or two days of purchase, and wash only immediately before use. Read here for tips on how to store your fresh fruit.

 

 

Back to Basics: Asparagus

The beginning of spring is the perfect time to start incorporating seasonal vegetables into our diet. Early spring harvests some of the best-tasting and best-for you vegetables.

Name: Asparagus officinalis

Origins: Native to Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia.

Peak Season: March-June.

Nutritional Value: Asparagus is high in vitamin C, E, protein, manganese, selenium, fiber, and is known for it's anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties.

Prep: There are many ways to prepare asparagus: roasted, grilled, steamed, sauteed, blanched...it's even great pureed into a soup. Pick spears that are bright green with firm stalks and heads, and are not dried out or woody at the bottom. Store with a damp paper towel around the bottom, wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator, and use within 2 days of purchase.

Recipe: Penne with Roasted Asparagus, Broccolini, and Goat Cheese

Here are a few more of our favorite asparagus recipes:

 

 

THE EYE: Oak Wood Salad Servers

With warmer weather, brings unexpected dinner guests. I know that when the seasons change and the sun is shining, I enjoy hanging out with friends at home, laughing and eating, of course. And being fashionable shouldn't only involve clothing; it should flow over into your entertaining. Who wants to serve and entertain with boring utensils? No one. The George Jensen Oak Wood salad servers do not fit into the category of boring. The wood design and stainless steel finishing will perfectly contrast with your bright crisp salad or perfectly roasted vegetables. Don't just stop at serving great food. Be the hostess with the mostest, not only with delicious recipes, but with stylish serving utensils as well.

Order the Georg Jensen Oak Wood Salad Servers HERE

Bring spring into your home with the new decor of this tea pot