Northeast Regional Education Forum.

This is a wonderful recap post from Chef Brian Sterner about his recent experiences. He is right – we can never stop learning.

Here’s a recap of my past weekend.

I should first note the title of this Forum changed this year. In the past, it was referred to as the Northeast Regional Educator Forum. I believe this was a proper title change as it opened the door to Chefs of all walks. We all need continued education and we all must continue to educate our teams. We ended on Sunday while walking away with many new contacts and a few good things to share with our team.

Friday, Sept. 23, 2011

Opening reception was not necessarily the most beneficial. There were about 45 people in attendance, many just stopping by for a few minutes as they were arriving to the forum. There was no real introduction or welcome but rather a mixer type evening. We were left to basically introduce ourselves to one another to strike up casual conversation.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011

Morning started about 5 a.m. with Matt and I stopping by the hotel to finish prep and pack up for the evening “dine-around dinner.” We arrived at the Schenectady County Community College at 7 a.m. to unpack and begin dressing our display table for the dinner. We joined everyone for breakfast and quickly made our way to the General Session. There was a brief keynote welcome by the Regional Vice President (Williams Tillinghast, CEC, AAC, MBA) and an introduction of the National President (Michael Ty, CEC, AAC). From there, we were right into our first lecture/demo on pheasant cookery (MacFarlane Pheasants) by Christopher Tanner, CEC, WCC, CHE, MLA. Mary Jo Bergs talked about the farming of the Pheasant (history, breed, processing, shipping) while Chef Tanner prepared a few dishes to taste. Following this was a seminar on Math Skills for Chefs by Anthony Stianese, CCE. This particular seminar was far more geared to the educator on how to teach math skills to students. After a quick break we sat through a lecture on American Regional BBQ by Chef David Campbell, CCC, CCE. We learned of the differences between Texas, Memphis, Kansas City and North Carolina and what makes each unique to their region. This was a good setup to the lunch that was provided. We had the opportunity to taste the different styles of BBQ. After lunch we had the opportunity to choose a hands-on class. Classes to choose from were: European Pork Butchery (which I chose), Artisan Hearth Breads (Matt attended), a tour of Horizon Bradco, Maine Lobster (by Wlifred Berjau, CEC, CCE, AAC) or SMART Board interactive whiteboards. Matt and I chose what we figured would be most beneficial for us and our operation. Breads are something we haven’t done much with at the hotel and something we are considering doing with our new Combi Therm. As for pork butchery, we continue to do most of our own butchery in house. This class has shed new technique on Hoof to Snouth as CIA’s Chef Thomas Schneller, CHE, showcased the Austrian style of butchery on a local Flying Pigs Farm product. There is quite a bit of difference from the American way to say the least.

Upon completion of this Matt and I were right into preparing our table at the dine-around.  We joined five other local restaurants in serving tasting portions of NY Street Food.  Our Menu: NY State Fair Chicken Spiedies and Vegetable Dosas.  We seemed to be the highlight station of the night (not to toot our own horns).  I think many were surprised to see we would attempt something (Indian Dosa) clearly out of what one would think our comfort zone is.  The vegetarian training last year by Ambarish Lulay paid off (again)!!!!  Dosas are a fast growing trend in NYC it just seemed fitting for us to do it.  By 10pm it was time to end the day…..

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011

Back at it by 7am.  After a quick bite to eat we were right into learning the art of Indonesian cuisine.  Chef Yono Purnomo, CEC took us on a trip from his childhood 50+years ago in Indonesia to present day.  He has been serving this melting pot cuisine for 25 years in Albany, NY.  From there we were into learning some Food Photography and Multimedia techniques from Stefan Ryll, CEC, CCE and J. Desmond Keefe III, CEC, CCE of the Southern New Hampshire University.  It was a short day but full of information.  We were able to share some of what we learned and experienced with our kitchen team in our staff meeting on Monday!  We even walked away with a little charcuterie…..

All in all, it was a great experience.  We have been approached to be the host sight for the 2012 Forum.  I will let everyone know how this unfolds.  Thanks again for allowing us to attend…………………………B

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