Tag Archives: Pulaski Technical College

Diamond Chef Prelim 2015 Live Results

31 Mar
Chef Justin Patterson (right) and sous chef Daniel Rogers plating during the competition. The team won the preliminaries and will compete against Marc Guizol in the final on June 2.

Chef Justin Patterson (right) and sous chef Daniel Rogers plating during the competition. The team won the preliminaries and will compete against Marc Guizol in the final on June 2.

Heat 1: Billy Ginocchio of Pulaski Tech vs. Payne Harding of Cache
Basket: Creekstone Farms ribeye, whole redfish, Cervasi peppered, McCormick Mediterranean sea salt, blood orange, rum, chocolate caramel Chex mix

Winner: Harding

Heat 2: Justin Patterson of Southern Gourmasian vs. Angela Nardi of Superior Bath House
Basket: Creekstone Farms brisket, whole Bronzini, Cervasi balsamic glaze, McCormick rubbed sage, heirloom cherry tomato, Boulevard Pale Ale, Butterscotch oatmeal bar

Winner: Patterson

Heat 3: Elliot Jones of YaYa’s vs. Jason Knapp of The Green Leaf Grill
Basket: Creekstone Farms beef tenderloin, grouper sides, Cervasi Spicy procuitto spread, McCormick smoked paprika, dragon fruit, sherry, chocolate chip oatmeal bar

Winner: Jones

Heat 4: Harding vs. Jones
Basket: Creekstone Farms Flank Steak, whole flounder, Cervasi tapenade, McCormick whole caraway seeds, passionfruit, marsala, Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Peanut Bar

Winner: Jones

Heat 5: Patterson vs. Jones
Basket: Creekstone Farms bone-in short loin, cobia sides, Cervasi aged cheddar, McCormick cream of tartar, kumquat, peppermint Schnapps, Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Almond Bar

FINAL WINNER: Justin Patterson of Southern Gourmasian. He will compete against Marc Guizol of Capital Bar & Grill in the June 2 final at Statehouse Convention Center. Patterson won against Jones by just half a point (162 to 162.5).

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Diamond Chef growing right along with Arkansas’ food scene

23 Mar

The kind folks at the Arkansas Times (hat tip to fellow foodie and new full-time food editor Michael Roberts) allowed me to do a writeup in the venerable Eat Arkansas blog today, talking a bit about Pulaski Technical College’s Diamond Chef competition.

Diamond Chef is important to our local food scene for lots of reasons, including some you may not know. ::Cough community college funding cough:: I hope you’ll read all about it.

Check it out!

Competitors Announced for 2015 Diamond Chef Arkansas

28 Jan

Diamond ChefArkansas’ biggest culinary competition is gearing up for its 2015 season: Diamond Chef Arkansas.

This annual event is a fundraiser for the Pulaski Technical College Foundation and is tied closely with the college’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute, which will host the preliminary competition on Tuesday, March 31, 2 – 8 p.m.

The preliminary event whittles down a large field of contenders in double-elimination style, with a full docket of the state’s best culinary talent (see below). That day’s winner will compete one-on-one against 2014 Diamond Chef winner Marc Guizol of the Capital Hotel in the finale, held Tuesday, June 2 at the Statehouse Convention Center.

Competitors in this year’s preliminaries include:

  • Billy Ginocchio, Faculty, PTC Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute
  • Payne Harding, Executive Chef, Cache
  • Elliot Jones, Executive Chef, YaYa’s Euro Bistro
  • Angela Nardi, Executive Chef, Superior Bath House Brewery & Distillery
  • Justin Patterson, Executive Chef, Southern Gourmasian
  • Jason Knapp, Executive Chef, The Green Leaf Grill

The preliminary event is casual, open to anyone, and free to attend, which I highly recommend if you have even the slightest love for fine food and friendly (albeit heated) competition. Just drop in anytime from 2 to 8 p.m. at the culinary school on March 31.

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Diamond Chef Arkansas Preliminary Competition
Pulaski Technical College – Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute
13000 Interstate 30, Little Rock
Tuesday, March 31, 2 – 8 p.m.
FREE admission, drop in anytime
(501) 812-2860

Pulaski Tech hosts Food Day to discuss community, health and economy

22 Oct

Food DayPulaski Technical College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute will host a Food Day panel discussion and food demonstrations with chefs, farmers and doctors on Oct. 23 to discuss how food choices affect the community, environment, economy, and public health.

The discussion begins at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, in the Celebrity Chef Theatre at the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Institute, 13000 Interstate 30.

The panelists are Jack Sundell, chef/owner of The Root Café; Jody Hardin, a farmer for St. Joseph Farm and Farm and Food Innovation Center; Dr. Meenakshi Budhraja, gastroenterologist and nutrition educator; and Chef Suzanne Campbell, a culinary instructor at Pulaski Technical College.

The discussion will focus on food safety, health, seasonal cooking, and food preservation. Questions will be accepted from the audience, and the panelists will provide a cooking demonstration using locally grown products.

The event is being held in conjunction with Food Day, a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. The event is free and open to the public. To reserve a seat, contact Kendal Haycook (501) 812-2860 or email khaycook@pulaskitech.edu

2014 Diamond Chef Prelims Play by Play

6 Mar
Chef Philippe Ducrot of Pulaski Tech (right) looks on as his sous works on a basket ingredient.

Chef Philippe Ducrot of Pulaski Tech (right) looks on as his sous works on a basket ingredient.

Check here for live updates on today’s 2014 Diamond Chef preliminary competition. Today’s results will choose the competitor who will cook against Chef Dan Capello in the Diamond Chef final event on June 3.

You can drop in anytime today between 2 – 8 p.m. to watch the action yourself. Free appetizers and beverages will be available for the final rounds, 5 – 8 p.m.

Heat 1:
Chef Philippe Ducrot of PTC Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute vs. Chef Coby Smith of Arkansas Heart Hospital.

Basket ingredients:
Eye of round, buttermilk, meyer lemons, parsnips, toasted sesame water crackers, tequila, salted caramel Cracker Jacks, sassafras.

Winner: Chef Philippe Ducrot of Pulaski Tech.

Heat 2:
Chef Marc Guizol of the Capital Hotel vs. Chef Elliot Jones of YaYa’s.

Basket ingredients:
Chuck roll, ice cream mix, guava, fava beans, Funyuns, marinated peppers, peppermint Schnapps, lemon verbena powder.

Winner: Chef Marc Guizol of Capital Hotel.

Heat 3:
Chef Jason Morell of Starving Artist vs. Chef Payne Harding of Cache.
Winner will move on to compete against Chef Guizol.

Basket ingredients:
Beef bottom round, cottage cheese, seckel pears, porcini mushrooms, cheddar and jalapeño chips, hearts of palm, Szechuan peppercorns, Gentleman Jack.

Winner: Chef Payne Harding of Cache.

Semifinal:
Chef Philippe Ducrot of Pulaski Tech vs. Chef Payne Harding of Cache.

Basket ingredients:
Tri-tip, sour cream, dragon fruit, Belgian endive, mango chutney, cheddar munchies, Gold Bacardi rum, hibiscus powder

Winner: Chef Philippe Ducrot of Pulaski Tech.

FINAL:
Chef Philippe Ducrot vs. Chef Marc Guizol.

Basket ingredients:
Strip loin, plain lowfat yogurt, passionfruit, sunchoke, saffron, instant oatmeal, vodka, cocoa nibs.

Winning dish by Chef Marc Guizol of the Capital Hotel.

Winning dish by Chef Marc Guizol of the Capital Hotel.

PRELIMINARY COMPETITION WINNER:
Chef Marc Guizol of the Capital Hotel.

Chef Guizol will compete against last year’s winner, Chef Dan Capello, in the ticketed final event at the Statehouse Convention Center on June 3.

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Diamond Chef Prelims Set for March 6 at PTC

19 Feb
Chef Dan Capello, Executive Chef of Chenal Country Club, competing in last year's Diamond Chef preliminaries.

Chef Dan Capello, Executive Chef of Chenal Country Club, competing in last year’s Diamond Chef preliminaries. Capello won last year’s final and will compete against this year’s preliminary winner. Photo courtesy of Pulaski Tech.

UPDATE 3/5/14: Specific competitor heat times announced here.

What better setting for this year’s Diamond Chef preliminaries than a shiny new culinary school, right?

The annual Diamond Chef competition is a fundraiser for the Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute, taking place in two phases. The preliminary competition, taking place at the school on Thursday, March 6, culls the field of several talented local chefs (see graphic below) down to one competitor, using an elimination-style setup. Each heat features a mystery basket of ingredients that both chefs in that round must use.

Then later in the spring, at a ticketed event at the Statehouse Convention Center, the finalist goes mano-a-mano (or woman-o, if one had entered) on-stage against the previous year’s winner, Chef Dan Capello of Chenal Country Club, while the audience enjoys a multi-course meal. In the final, a single secret ingredient is revealed that must be used in each of at least three courses.

This year marks the preliminary event’s move to the institute’s new building, which opened to students last fall. The preliminary had been held at the former Peabody Hotel in years past.

If you’ve never been to the preliminary competition, it’s a great time to jump in. As opposed to the final, this event is free, and this year it will include some complimentary hors d’oerves and beverages from 5 – 8 p.m. (Thanks, sponsors!) You can drop in anytime between 2 and 8 p.m. to watch the action.

Diamond Chef Arkansas Preliminary Competition
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute
13000 Interstate 30, Little Rock
Drop in 2 – 8 p.m. (hors d’oerves and beverages 5 – 8 p.m.)
FREE

Prelim eblast FINAL

Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie Class at PTC March 22

14 Feb
gluten free chicken pot pie

Amazeballs gluten free chicken pot pie, if I do say so myself. Learn to make your own at my class!

I had a lot to do last night.

Pinterest-y Valentines for the Kindergartener’s friends. A not-so-Pinterest-y Beyblade Valentine mailbox for same Kindergartener. Spray-painting elements for said box outside. Realizing that wasn’t going to work and going out for red plastic plates. Baths. Homework. All that momma stuff.

For some unknown reason, I decided it would be a dandy night to make chicken pot pie from scratch. Well, sorta from scratch; my mom brought a rotisserie chicken over at lunch, and the leftovers pretty much demanded to be pot pie. They told me so.

It’s just as well, since I’m teaching a class next month at Pulaski Technical College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute on this very dish. Why not practice a few times? Yum.

The whole pot pie. In class, we'll probably make individual-sized ones. Equally delicious.

The whole pot pie. In class, we’ll probably make individual-sized ones. Equally delicious.

Last night’s version used (gasp) frozen veggies, just because it’s what I had and I forgot to go to Kroger. Sue me. (In class, we’ll bust out our real knife skills on real-life veggies. Because you need the practice.) Well, I did dice a real onion and some garlic, so there’s that.

Want to make your own? Of course you do. This dish was amazing, even with cheater ingredients. We’ll go over how to mix your own gluten-free all-purpose flour (and save a ton of cash) in our class. I’ll teach you how to make flaky pie crust that nobody will know is gluten-free, even your picky gluten-eating family. And we’ll package them up to freeze and bake whenever the pot pie siren calls. (Or, you can bring it home for dinner that night.)

The class is $75 for four hours of instruction and lots of tomfoolery. But productive tomfoolery. Let’s just say we’ll have fun.

Sign up for this class by calling (501) 907-6670, ext. 3407 or emailing Emily Story, Director of Community Education at PTC. See you there!

Gluten Free Pot Pie Class
Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute
Community Kitchen
Saturday, March 22, 2014
12:30 – 4:30 p.m.
$75 per person

Foodie Event Roundup for the Week

4 Oct

Ooof. Food coma. Lemme see what I can muster.

This is always a busy time for foodies, with all kinds of events and classes going on. Here’s the scoop on just a few of these things, both for those who enjoy cooking good food and those who just want to enjoy eating it.

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Strip steak with exotic mushroom demi-glace and War Eagle grits and braised greens. Fourth course of five at last night’s The Next Course dinner for Youth Home.

  • Last night’s The Next Course event at the Clinton Presidential Center for Youth Home was amazing! Their equally-amazing event coordinator, Larry Betz, is working on getting the instructional videos shown at the event ready to share with you here, so we’ll wait a little while for the event wrap-up. But I will then definitely share some of the recipes with you, and maybe I’ll tackle one myself. They are fancy pants, indeed.
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  • Tomorrow is the Main Street Food Truck Festival in Little Rock. The guys over at Eat Arkansas wrote a fine roundup of all the goings-on this year, with one notable difference: NO TICKETS. Hooray! Hopefully that will help with the line situation. (See my snarky post from last year on that whole sitch.) Also hopefully, we will have better weather this year than last. I helped my friend Travis Meyer with his smoked sausage stand last year and we got totally soaked. But it’s a great event, and I hope you’ll come, even if you have to wait a bit or get a little wet.
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  • I just found out that Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts is not doing their Harvest Festival or annual culinary competition this year, but is instead doing an acoustic music event this weekend. So if you were looking for that secret ingredient to be announced (I know I wasn’t the only one…right?), you’ll have to keep on waiting. But do go to the new event, which looks like a lot of fun!

Other notable upcoming events and classes:

  • “Southern Comfort with Chef Mark Abernathy,” community education class at Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute. Spend an evening learning techniques and recipes exploring Chef Abernathy’s Modern Southern cuisine, as served at his restaurants Loca Luna and Red Door. Wednesday, Oct. 9, 6 – 8 p.m., $70. Must pre-register by Oct. 6.
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  • “Pasta Party! For the Love of Pasta — Fresh and Dried Pasta and Assorted Pasta Dishes,” community education class at Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute, with Chef Cynthia Malik. Thursday, Oct. 10, 5:30 – 8 p.m., $45. Must pre-register by Oct. 7.
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    Outstanding in the Field’s vintage red bus travels across the nation with supplies for fine dining in the field of your friendly neighborhood farmer, this time in Proctor, Ark.

  • Outstanding in the Field. The OITF vintage big red bus will be making a stop at Delta Sol Farm in Proctor, Ark. next Thursday, Oct. 10. This farm-to-table event — served literally in a field — is one of many the organization has held across the nation, this time highlighting Little Rock’s Chefs Matt Bell of South on Main and Alexis Jones of Natchez, as well as Memphis Chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Jonathan Magallanes of Las Tortugas, all led by Memphis’ Chef Kelly English of Restaurant Iris. Tickets are $180 and may be purchased at the event website.
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  • “Tasting Like a Pro,” Wine and Spirits community education class at Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute. Learn firsthand, without all the pretentious junk, the common techniques used by winemakers, sommeliers, critics, judges and other professionals, as well as the important wine attributes and essential aromas and tastes of the world’s most recognized wines. Thursday, Oct. 10, 6 – 8 p.m., $75. Must pre-register by Oct. 7.

Knapp, Capello to Battle at Diamond Chef Arkansas on June 4

28 May

Diamond Chef 2013It’s time again for one of the best culinary events of the year, Diamond Chef Arkansas, which will take place on Tuesday, June 4 at the Statehouse Convention Center. The event benefits the Pulaski Technical College Foundation. Tickets are $200 and can be purchased online.

The preliminaries to this event were held in February at the then-Peabody Hotel, with Chef Dan Capello of the Chenal Country Club winning the elimination-style competition. The final event next week will pit Capello against last year’s winner, Chef Jason Knapp of Aramark at the University of Central Arkansas in a live-action dinner throwdown.

While guests dine on an unrelated three-course dinner with wine, the chefs will be presented with a mystery ingredient that must be used in a three-course meal of their choosing. The mayhem that results is quite the stage show, especially for those of us who know just enough to talk a little bit of smack about what we would do. (Last year, I totally called the sabayon sauces and a couple other things they made from the ostrich egg mystery ingredient. Not that I could do theirs justice.)

If you’re also a sucker for silent auctions like me, there will be plenty. Items range from glassware and kitchen gadgets to fine dining and wine pairing experiences. The fairly-infamous live auction also brings in the heavies, bidding on elaborate in-home dinners and even food-related travel. Someday, when I’m rich and famous, I’ll bid on the trip to The French Laundry that sometimes comes up.

Should you go? Um, yes. If $200 is too rich for your blood (and you’re not a culinary student who can schlep in for free), ask your employer to sponsor a table, or get all friendly-like with one who already has.

And now, my confession…I’ve live-blogged this event for years, and this time I will be on family vacation. It just turned out that way. I expect the good PR folks at Pulaski Tech will tweet and such, so give them a follow if you can’t get yourself to this outstanding event.

BLOGtober [Old Post]: I’m Certifiable (Pulaski Tech Achieves Significant Culinary and Hospitality Accreditation)

18 Oct

Note: Today’s challenge with the BLOGtober Fest from Arkansas Women Bloggers was to repost an old post. When I went through my archives, however, I found a few that were never finished or posted, mostly due to lack of time to do so. 

I found this very important post in that pile of unfinished projects, and I’ve decided to share it today. In fact, it’s timely in that Pulaski Tech is now working on their new facility and toward reaccreditation, adding certifications in Baking & Pastry as well as Wine Studies (the latter of which is through a different accrediting body). 

Pulaski Tech continues to have the only accredited culinary or hospitality program in Arkansas

Originally written on March 15, 2010

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Yes, it’s official. I’m certifiable.

OK, yes, that way, too. But what I mean is, as a Certified Culinarian. As a student of Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School, upon graduation (and completion of a little paperwork) I may now use that title.

Reason being, the school announced on Friday that the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation’s Accrediting Commission (ACFEF) and the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) has granted it their accreditation status. That gives us students some status in the marketplace, too.

Don’t just take it from me; here’s the official flack from the school itself.

PTC Arkansas Culinary School receives dual accreditation

LITTLE ROCK  –  The Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School today announced that it has received accreditation from the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation’s Accrediting Commission (ACFEF) and the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA).

Dr. Dan F. Bakke, college president, and Todd Gold, director of the PTC Arkansas Culinary School, made the announcement Friday during a news conference at Little Rock-South. Guest speaker Montine McNulty, executive director of the Arkansas Hospitality Association, commended the culinary school for the accomplishment.

With this accreditation, the PTC Arkansas Culinary School joins the ranks of other nationally recognized culinary and hospitality schools, and thus offers students the opportunity to graduate with the title Certified Culinarian or Certified Hospitality Graduate. These certifications will allow graduates to enter the workforce with the most widely recognized culinary and hospitality credentials in the nation.

“These accreditations position Pulaski Technical College as a center of excellence for the culinary and hospitality industries,” Dr. Bakke said. “Tourism and hospitality are leading industries in Arkansas, and we are committed to developing a skilled workforce to meet the needs of those industries.”

The Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School is the only college in Arkansas to offer ACFEF accreditation for an Associate of Applied Science in culinary arts and is the only two-year college in the state to offer ACPHA accreditation for the Associate of Applied Science in hospitality management. ACPHA/ACFEF dual accreditation is offered at only 15 colleges and universities in the United States.

Additionally, the PTC Arkansas Culinary School apprenticeship program has received American Culinary Federation recognition as the only culinary apprenticeship program in the state.

Most importantly, these accreditations are widely recognized objective benchmarks in the culinary and hospitality professions. Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School graduates can expect to gain greatly enhanced employability based on their levels of skill and expertise as measured by these rigorous accrediting bodies.

Pulaski Technical College is a comprehensive, two-year college that serves the educational needs of central Arkansas through more than 90 occupational/technical degree and certificate programs, a university-transfer curriculum and specialized programs for business and industry.

The college’s mission is to provide access to high quality education that promotes student learning, to enable individuals to develop to their fullest potential and to support the economic development of the state.

Images from the announcement ceremony:

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