Chef Vic’s Continuing Education in CIA Part 2

The Path Towards Culinary Education Excellence:

Global Academy’s Continuing Education Program (Part 2)

by Chef Vic Sanchez

Culinary education is not limited to the confines of the school’s classroom, laboratory and library. Gaining ample experience in a professional kitchen that is managed by a professional chef is also an excellent approach to learning. In Global Academy, we teach our students the fundamentals of professional cooking. And once the student has completed the necessary requirements for in-house training, they are sent to our partner establishments to expand their learning. Our industry has a term for internship – stage (estaj). And an intern is referred to as stagiaire.

As a beneficiary of Global Academy’s Continuing Education Program, I was not spared from further training in a professional kitchen in the United States. In between the courses I took at the Culinary Institute of America, I searched for a place to stage. Just like a Global student who is exploring for a place for internship, I drove around the picturesque landscape of Napa Valley to hand out my resume’ and request letter for internship to restaurants. I was always mindful of Chef Rob Pengson’s advice not to hand over my resume’ during service time when everyone is busy or else they would just throw your credentials away. Or worse, you would get an earful from the demanding chef. He may have been speaking from experience.

On my own in a foreign land, I sought the help of Karen Versoza, a Filipino who works at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish. She set me up with Matt Spector, chef and owner of Jole’ Restaurant – Farm To Table in Calistoga, California. On the appointed time, I turned up to Jole’ and met with Chef Matt. The meeting was very cordial. Our conversation turned from his restaurant and my classes in CIA to him allowing me to train in Jole’. I was officially a stagiaire in Jole’.

The thrill of training with Chef Matt and the thought of going back to the smoldering heat of the kitchen overcame my anxiety of not living up with the standard of Jole’. I was ready for the challenge.

Jole’s farm to table concept may be simple to comprehend but believe me, it is easier said than done. Chef Matt and Sous Chef Danny depended on whatever fresh products that came from the farm or the sea on that day for the arduous task of their menu’s daily revamp. Every day is an exciting day of educated experimentation – consideration of the balance in taste, texture and color for the combination of each ingredient is significant. The chefs made sure that only premium fresh food is served and that diners’ every visit is different from the other. I was privileged that they let me sample everything that was on the menu, even the wine that a vineyard made exclusively for Jole’.

I was the prep cook before service time and the tournant or swing cook during service at Jole’. Though the work in the kitchen is tough but no one seemed to mind it. In fact, Chef Matt would crack a joke to lighten up the mood.

As a stagiaire at Jole’, my body was challenged, my stomach full and my mind excited – I was fulfilled!

with Chef Dieter DoppelfeldTriple chinSo hard to impress..hahahaMaking Baby sized Kibbeh stuffed with Braised lamb ShankMy plated Kibbeh with yoghurt dip and 3 OlivesJoking around with Chef Dieter DoppelfeldClass and chef critisize each dishWater Borek with Mizuna and Olive SaladShrimp on Lemon Grass Skewers and Beef SataySalad NicoisePollo Pibil Sopes by VicPanzanellaSoutheast Asian BuffetSE Asian BuffetSalad BuffetA World of Salads Buffetat the herb garden just outside Greystone with the whole class

More photos to follow from Chef Vic’s tour and dining experience around America!

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