2012 Summer Studio: Culinary (Ai) – cont.

Almost immediately after I published my last post, I realized I hadn’t mead any mention of what I cooked and concocted while at The Art Institute of Colorado, so I shall do so now.

The first day in the culinary lab consisted of a lot of knife cuts and food prep work. Everyone made some sort of breakfast food that included eggs, be it a simple omelet or a breakfast burrito like I made. We also made salsas as table groups. That afternoon, everyone made different variations of sushi that contained mostly vegetables, but occasionally crab meat as well.

The chili cook-off was the highlight of day two. It was a bit like the show Chopped on the Food Network. We were given a whole bunch of ingredients, some basic instructions and given free rein to make any type of chili we wanted in a given time period. It was so much fun and we got to taste and vote on everyone’s chili afterwards. I was shocked to learn that I placed second in the contest because I had never made chili before in my life. Here’s what I tossed in the pot: garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, green chili, habañeros, pinto beans, chorizo, chicken stock, water, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. We also made chocolate cupcakes and buttercream frosting in the baking lab. We got to color the frosting and decorate some of the cupcakes to take home. They were delicious!

On the third day, my table made quinoa pilaf and some crepes for the next day. The afternoon was filled wilt tex-mex foods. Again, different tables were responsible for different dishes. I made queso blanco by myself after my table helped me prep for it. I also made dough for corn tortillas and helped prep for tortilla chips.

On the fourth and final day, everyone was extremely busy. We were preparing a buffet for our parents. Everyone seemed to be doing a little bit of everything. I made a ton of crepes that someone else filled with ice cream. I was also in charge of concocting punch, which was very interesting to make, but turned out to be very good. It was so much fun and then we got to sample everything we made (after sharing it first, of course).

2012 Summer Studio: Culinary (Ai)

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There’s a difference between thinking you’re going to like something and knowing that you’ll love it. I am ninety nine percent decided on pursuing a career in culinary arts by going to college for a bachelor’s degree in culinary management. The Art Institute of Colorado’s week-long summer program definitely helped to further cement that decision.

What better way to explore and get a feel for a college than to experience the classes and instructors yourself not to mention the area you’ll possibly be living in? While at Ai, we were given tours of the main campus and The Towers, or the dorms. We didn’t live in the dorms though; we stayed at The Curtis Hotel. We ate breakfast on the second floor of the main campus each morning and then the culinary students took a bus to Ai’s culinary building where we spent most of the day in the kitchen, and one time baking labs.

The chefs who instructed us were very nice and did an excellent job teaching us. They explained and demonstrated the techniques and everything else we needed to know very well. I know I felt comfortable asking questions and I’m pretty sure all of the other students did as well. A couple of the chefs present were actually current students a t Ai and were able to answer any questions we had with a student’s perspective. Our group, according to one of the chefs in charge, was so good that he said that if he had us in training for another six months, he could open a restaurant with us working it.

I had an absolutely amazing time at Ai’s summer program and I am now seriously considering choosing that college. I had an experience I will never forget. I had so much fun learning hands-on every day. I also got to meet some pretty cool people who I plan on keeping in contact with. It was an awesome week!