Monthly Archives: August 2010

Mini Chef Program

The Centro de Capacitación de Jóvenes y Adultos located in Aragua, Venezuela is offering a Mini Chef Program. It has the attention of people in the industry for being well developed, organized and for offering not only variety of activities but a solid educational curriculum.

I had the opportunity of interviewing the Center Director, Prof. Msc. Rosa Alba D´Elia and it is so evident in her answers her concern for making children and teenagers aware about good eating habits and nutrition. The team at Centro de Capacitación de Jóvenes y Adultos have a  social responsibility to serving their community and a commitment to their knowledge and experience with people interested in the field of culinary.

MA: What is the main objective of the course?

Prof. R.A.: Our main objective is to teach the importance of good eating habits, nutrition, kitchen safety and hygiene in a fun recreational way.

MA: When does the program take place?

Prof. R.A.: This is the first time we offer the program and it is taking place during complete month of August. We are looking forward to offering it every summer and winter holiday season.

MA: Who may join the program?

Prof. R.A.: Participants between the ages of 5 and 15 years old are welcome to join the program. No previous cooking skills are necessary.

M.A.: What is the cost of the program and what does it include?

Prof. R.A.: The program has a weekly cost of USD $90 and includes: class from 8am to 1pm from Monday through Friday, uniform, one meal per day, ingredients for the preparation of all recipes, folder with printed material, recipe book, class video, photos and certificate of participation.

MA: From your personal perspective, what was your motivation to put together this program?

Prof. R.A.:  A balanced and well founded nutrition is the vase for children to grow healthy both physically and mentally. Good eating habits at an early age guarantee a better life and as professional in the culinary field I feel it is my responsibility to contribute to share the great importance of this subject.

MA: So far, what goals have you achieved?

Prof. R.A.: The participation in different processes involved in the preparation of meals have allowed participants to value the work required in the elaboration of foods; become aware of so many jobs involved in the process; they have actively participated in the selection of recipes to prepare on a  daily basis and have interacted cheerfully in class. They can distinguish the different types of foods and categorize them between healthy or not.

MA: Does culture play a role in the program?

Prof. R.A.: Yes, it is important that participants see the country’s gastronomy as an important factor of their own identity and learn about the typical dishes, fruits and vegetables grown, what differentiates our gastronomy to others of different countries. This has brought them closer to international cuisines as they have enjoyed learning about Italian Cuisine through the process of making pasta; while learning about Middle Eastern they learned how to make Shawarma and Tahine… every culture opens their eyes to a new culinary adventure and the best part is that it is their own creation.

MA: What is the teaching methodology?

Prof. R.A.: During each class participants first learn about the ingredients that will be used, the hygiene to consider when using each of them, nutrition facts, new vocabulary, methods of preparation and how can they be measured or weighed. Following this, they are presented with the complete menu. The third part of the class is about the technique including cooking periods, techniques and necessary equipment.

Lastly depending on the technique to be approached, a recipe is selected and every participant gets to participate.

The time sitting at the table and sharing a meal is very important, so we go through table manners and etiquette.

MA: Besides you, who else teaches the course?

Prof. R.A.: Chef Javier Villavicencio, who also teaches in the adults program and serves as Coordinator of the Gastronomy Area of our Center. Chef Harlynt González, who teaches Light Meals, Gourmet Cuisine and cocktails in the adults’ program is part of the team as well. We have the assistance of first semester culinary students, young boys and years between the ages of 15 and 17 years old.

MA: For people interested in learning more about this program, how can you be contacted?

Prof. R.A.: By email:; our Facebook page is Escuela Arturo Sarcos Villena.

For more information about this program and a larger gallery of photographs, please CLICK HERE.

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The Awaiting Table, Italian Cooking School in Lecce

Recently profiled in Bon Appetit magazine, and named as one of the top cooking schools in Italy by Food and Wine Magazine, The Awaiting Table Cookery School in Lecce, Italy, is a small, intimate Italian cooking school in the most beautiful town in the entire sunny south of Italy.

It’s cooking classes in Italy offer hands-on cookery lessons designed to both improve your cooking and allow you to go deeper into the culture than you ever thought possible. You’ll get to know the locals by their first names, talk first-hand at the market with butchers, winemakers, fishmongers and proud farmers, so local that they still have soil under their fingernails.

Day Classes: Tuition for Day Classes covers coffee, trips to multiple markets, both lunch and dinner and all wines and hand-made liqueurs. What it does not cover is transportation of any kind, or lodging of any kind.

You will meet under the statue of Sant’ Oronzo at 10.a.m. and then start the day with coffee (and/or Granite) at Gracious Antonio’s. You’ll do an overview of the day, answering any questions you may have. You’ll head on to the market to meet our vendors, Simone our green grocer, Sandro our butcher, and on. You’ll head back to the school and make fresh pasta together in the stable kitchen, for both lunch and dinner.Lunch will be prepared together, and depending on the season, either eat in the stable, the wine cellar or the garden. After a break, for a nap back at your room you will meet in the main piazza for a talk about the Duomo, Santa Croce and the city’s main square and head back to the school to prepare dinner, the excellent local wine flowing the entire time.

Week Classes: There are two types of full-week classes, which are available throughout most of the year and are offered according to a pre-set schedule (see Calendar).

The full-week classes are:
Lecce Classes. The most typical and most popular class is a small-group (6 students or less), full-week course held at the school’s charming facility in Lecce.

Castle Classes. A few times a year, there will be special courses held at a wonderful Mediterranean Castle a few kilometers from the Adriatic. These courses will accommodate up to 24 people and tend to be lively affairs, with much hugging, wine, and raucous laughter. These are great for small groups or singles traveling alone as you will get a great opportunity to meet many wonderful people from all around the world. In 2010, there will be two special events at the castle. From September 12 – 18, the annual Birthday Party at the Castle will take place. Then, from November 7 – 13, a very special and unique Olive Oil class at the castle. Pricing.

Wondering which course is best for you, a week at the Castle or ‘La Settimana Tipica’?

To check the course calendar click HERE

To reserve a place click HERE

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