Culinary Arts Life Information
February 2, 2016
All Right There, Mates?
T'is me again, your obviously shorter-than-most-in-the-culinary-arts-program-and-therefore-attracts-many-a-short-joke, bright-eyed, overly-excited-about-sweets-and-all-things-baking peer mentor. I hope your semester thus far is hunky-dory. By now, we're four weeks into the semester, which is practically half the module, which is as good a time as any to remind you guys to keep your recipe books up to date, lest you be scrambling at module's end to make them all pretty-like.
And if you find yourself completely knackered at this point... well... it's probably best to take something of a breather -- and then get right back into it, of course! Keep it up~ Believe it or not, the module is halfway done. So finish strong and get ready for round two.
February is National Career And Technical Education (CTE) Month®~
CTE Month® is an nationwide, annual celebration and public awareness campaign held in February by the CTE community. Leeward CC will feature various events and workshops in celebration of CTE Month® and to highlight the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs here at Leeward CC. For the full CTE Month calendar of events, please contact me or stop by the CTE Month® information table in the Learning Commons Concourse (Feb 2, 8, 17, 22) or in front of Uluwehi Cafe (Feb 4, 10, 16).
The "Secrets to Success" session will feature two very successful businesses: Tanioka's Seafood & Catering and Eden in Love. Hear from these successful entrepreneurs about their trials and tribulations. Be inspired by stories about how they started their businesses and navigated through challenging issues and situations.
There are over 25 workshops available, and you can attend up to three. (To attend workshops, preregistration is required by February 15, 2016.) To register and view the workshop schedule, please click here. Remember: space is limited!
Hawaii Small Business Fair Organizing Committee: Leeward Community College, Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism, Business Action Center, Small Business Development Center, Internal Revenue Service, Honolulu Community College, State Department of Transportation, and SCORE. For information, please call 945-1430 or 690-8332.
Starting with this newsletter's Career Corner, I will be featuring "Chef Talk" sections, which are exclusive interviews with our Chefs. Let's learn more about our brilliant team of Chef Instructors, hear from them, and be inspired~
And the first victim is --------->
--I meant volunteer, by the way.
For those of you who don't know, Chef Ian Riseley is the mind behind the food that is served at The Pearl. He is the Chef Instructor for CULN 223 or Contemporary Cuisines. Unfortunately, this is Chef's last semester with us, as mentioned at the student assembly. But the Internet has a funny way of keeping people around for a long time, yet.
So instead of me having to write a short biography about this wonderful chef and you having to read said biography... have a video, produced by Leeward CC Educational Media video production unit, courtesy of YouTube and today's newfangled technology~
"Chef Talk" with Ian Riseley
I meet with Chef Ian after class lets out for the day -- it's a Thursday, and even though most lab classes are done for the week, he and his team of students have one more day of service before the weekend. Chef greets me with a smile and asks if it's all right for him to grab a cup of tea before we start. It's unnecessary, of course, because I'm the one who asked Chef for fifteen minutes of his time -- right after class, no less -- but Chef is a very gracious person.
So Chef prepares a mug of tea, comes back, and sits down at the table. He's so prepared, he even has a print out of the questions I'm planning to ask him. He asks about me -- asks about baking -- and it's very, very difficult to not notice the extent of care that he has for his students, even if they're no longer in his kitchen.
Chef smiles, and it's kind of like I'm in Contemporary Cuisines again, except I don't have to worry about having to serve like 40-something people on the morrow.
Q: What made you decide to pursue a career in the culinary industry?
"I was very young," he begins cheerfully. "Seventeen years old and almost ready to drop out of school. But I realized that I had to do something with my life. There were community colleges... I thought about doing architecture -- my father was an architect -- but it was already September -- in England -- and it was cold."
Chef stops for a moment, tells me that I don't need to write down everything that he says -- that I can just pick and use what I want -- but as Chef speaks, I know I can't just summarize his journey. It's his story, after all, and I wouldn't do it any justice by re-writing it in my own voice.
"When I looked through the prospectus, I saw Culinary Arts... and I thought, 'At least I'll get to eat -- and it'll be warm.' So I did that for a year, but I was just goofing around. And then, one day, my Chef Instructor came up to me and said, 'Riseley, if you don't want to be here, there's the door.' And I realized, then, that I did want to be here. And I've been here ever since."
Q: Besides teaching, what other jobs have you explored?
"My absolute passion is fishing. I've always loved fishing since I was four." Chef tells me, again, that I needn't write down everything that he says, but again, I can't not do it. "I always wanted to be a commercial fisherman, but it didn't work out. I lived about 30 miles too far inland.
"To this day, my favorite thing to do is cook and eat the fish that I've caught. I actually worked part-time for a semi-commercial fishing company."
Q: How is the job market right now in the culinary industry? Can you say anything about Hawaii's market?
"Honestly," Chef says, "I think students have never been more in demand as they are now. All chefs are looking -- the biggest problem that chefs have is finding good employees. There's never been a better time to be in this industry."
He pauses for a bit, thinking. "Be smart about the jobs that you take. Have an idea of where you want to go. It's not about money, it's where you want to end up. I think you need to have responsibility when you take a job. You should never give less than two week's notice. If you accept a job, plan to work for at least a year. Be honest and upfront."
Chef continues to talk about how Hawaii is a small island, so the reputation that you build isn't exactly hush-hush. "You should never burn bridges," he says.
Q: What do you think other chefs look for when considering someone for hire?
"The number one thing is past experience. Past experience is a given -- having an education from an accredited school." He stops and then talks about "soft skills." Those are important, too, as they aren't things that can be taught. "Are you excited to be working for them? Do you have a great attitude?"
"Always ask good questions at the interview. Let him or her know that if you're hired, they won't be disappointed. You will do the best job that you possibly can."
Q: What's your 'last supper" meal -- or your "death row" meal, as Anthony Bourdain puts it?
When we come to this question, Chef laughs.
"If I was on death row, any fish I caught would be in the freezer," he says thoughtfully. "So I guess it would have to be..." A wistful pause. "...eggs over easy, bacon, and whole-wheat toast."
Q: If you could be a mother sauce, which one would you be...?
"Oh, this is a good question!" Chef seems pretty amused by my last-minute addition.
I laugh and tell him that I mentioned this interview to another student (who shall remain nameless), and that student said that Chef would probably pick Béchamel. Chef seems bemused ("He said that, did he?"); I can't tell him the reasoning behind it. But it's kind of obvious when you remember that Chef is from England.
"I would say..." He pauses for a moment. "Well, not Hollandaise because it's too airy."
I laugh again. That was my first choice for Chef, if only because we made so many things utilizing wire whips, stainless steel bowls, and water baths last semester.
"Not a Béchamel... because it's a little insipid. Not a Velouté because it's too rich."
I keep a mental count of all the sauces that he's named. There aren't very many left. I tell Chef as much, and he agrees.
"Not a Tomato because there's not enough body," he says next, and then he smiles a little more. As we learn in Fundamentals, there is only one option left. "So I guess I'd end up as a well-aged, beefy Espagnole."
...it occurred to me, after the fact, that I should've asked Chef about his plans for after Leeward CC. But it's still early, yet, and Chef has to teach the second module before he can even think about leaving us. I'll catch up with him later, perhaps, when everyone still won't be ready to say goodbye.
On that note... Check out Leeward CC's fine-dining restaurant: The Pearl
Let everyone knows, your friends and family, your friends' friends and family's friends - go and support our culinary program as students bring The Pearl to life again for yet another semester. (Also, please enjoy the delicious lavosh and soft rolls made by our totally awesome baking class. Shout-out, guys and gals!) Lunch service is on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The menus can be viewed here or on The Pearl's Facebook page~
Student menu week: February 24 - 26 and April 20 - 22.
Keep in mind that The Pearl will be closed for lunch service on March 2 – March 16 (finals week + start of next module), March 23 – 25 (spring break), and April 8 (Special Event's dinner), so make your reservations ASAP~
Call #455-0475 to make your reservations or to get more information.
Culinary Arts Program Scholarship Brunch
Sunday, February 14, 7:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Leeward CC Uluwehi Café & Lion Courtyard
The Pearl Buffet
February 17, 18, 19
"So You Want to be a Top Chef?"
Tuesday, February 23, 12:00 - 12:50p.m.
Special Events Dinner
Friday, April 8
Guest Chef: Ron DeGuzman of “Stage Restaurant"
$70 ($85 with wine pairings)
The Pearl Spring Buffet
April 13, 14, 15
L’ulu, Leeward Culinary Arts Gala
Saturday, May 7, 2016, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Celebrating CTE Month® at Leeward CC
Proud to highlight Leeward CC's CTE programs