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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Culinary Schools and their offerings

As many of you may know, I am a proud graduate of the Colorado Culinary Program at Colorado Mesa University. Having gone back to college after.. oh, let's just say a ....few years (decades) away from college, I realized that in order to keep evolving my life, I had to do something or things will just not change... Definition of Insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result...

Culinary Schools and other culinary programs are a great Petri 'dish' which allow for aspiring culinarians to work on their craft or in my case, not exactly sure what direction my culinary explorations were going to go, to let them surface... And trust me, the Chef Instructors have the patience of the gods in most cases. Imagine having a student, older than they were... with a Jersey Attitude!

While the students learn the basics, work on their skills and such, I think that one of the side benefits of these programs is, where offered, the on-campus restaurants that these programs offer. Here, students, with the aid and guidance of their chef instructors, not only learn what is is like to actually work in a restaurant, both front of the house and in the kitchen.

From menu planning to executing the menu, from expediting to service and customer service, these restaurants not only give the students much needed experience, but also allows the public to see what these aspiring chefs (or in my case... cook from Jersey) can do and to get what usually is one of the best food values in their area.

Out here in Western Colorado, we do have that luxury.. in the form of Chez Lena, the on-campus restaurant of my culinary school. Here, every semester, the students put out some truly great (and very affordable) food! They serve lunch from 11:30 - 1 pm Tuesdays through Fridays.

So whether it is out here in Western Colorado, at any of the well-known Culinary Programs (Culinary Institute of America, Johnson & Wales) or at your local community college, check these programs out, support your local schools and enjoy!

Here is this semester's menu from Chez Lena in Grand Junction...