Chefs bring art of fine cooking to Eastside High
Published: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 4:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 11:15 p.m.
Chef Arnym Solomon of the Culinary Institute of America grabbed a pinch of salt and told students at Eastside High School they need to learn to measure by feel.
"If you come into my kitchen with measuring spoons in your pocket, I chase you home," he said.
Eastside High School students and others from schools around the state learned culinary techniques on Thursday from a trio of chefs from the CIA.
Chefs Solomon, Frederic Sonnenschmidt and Jacqui Pressinger staged 90-minute demonstrations for more than 100 students from local schools Buchholz, Gainesville and Eastside, as well as students from Bradford, Calhoun, Columbia and Hamilton counties.
Chef Billie DeNunzio, director of Eastside's culinary arts magnet program, said the event is more than just garnishes and selecting ingredients.
"For them to come to a school and see where they can go in this field is amazing," she said.
DeNunzio hopes her students learn they don't just have to work in a kitchen.
"You can, but they've also worked with big companies as far as research and development," she said. "There's so much, and they need to know that."
Many of the students were at school before sunrise to prepare for the day's demonstrations, DeNunzio said.
"If you can find what they're interested in, they'll go the extra mile, two miles," she said.
The chefs each showcased unique recipes, from Sonnenschmidt's cutlet a la Milanese to Solomon's Caribbean stew.
"It demonstrates a method of browning meat with sugar," Solomon said.
Sterling Walker, a 17-year-old Gainesville High senior, said he hopes to go to the CIA and become a master chef.
"I thought it was really cool that he made two stews in an hour when it usually takes at least four hours," he said.
Lucas Todd, a senior from Bradford High School, shook his head approvingly as he tasted Sonnenschmidt's mushroom risotto.
"It was exciting," Lucas said. "He's really passionate about food."
Pressinger showed how to make ricotta cheese and made baked Alaska.
Lianna Chahin, a sophomore at Eastside, wiped away whipped cream from her lips.
"It was so good," she said.
The experience was humbling, Lianna said. She thought she knew all that there is to know about cooking and making your way around a kitchen.
"I came here and realize I know nothing," she said.
Watching the chefs cook was a telling moment for Brandon Loveless, a 17-year-old junior at Matanzas High School in Palm Coast.
"I didn't think I'd ever get a chance to meet Culinary Institute of America executives and staff," he said. "It feels really good. It's a passion."
It's that passion that Solomon said he hopes to stoke.
"We have to keep these kids inspired," he said. "This is the future of the industry so we have to keep them energized."
Contact Jackie Alexander at email@example.com or 338-3166.