Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CIC in Post & Courier Story on Educated Eating for College Students

Educated Choices: Local Schools Trying to See Students Gain Knowledge, Not Weight
By Elizabeth Laseter, July 29

"Because students at Trident Technical College are typically older and do not live on campus, there are fewer dining facilities[than at The College of Charleston]. However, "The Spot" on Trident Tech's Main Campus offers a wide variety of breakfast and lunch items to students. For example, lunch offers grill items, sandwiches, salads and fresh sushi rolled daily by the cafe's own sushi chef.

"Trident Tech's culinary students learn the essentials of healthy eating through their curriculum. Freshmen are required to take a nutrition class that covers basic nutritional needs of human beings, including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Students also learn how they can include nutritional value in the food they prepare. "

For the complete story, including tips on healty eating, see:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Post & Courier Profiles CIC Grad Micah Garrison

On July 2nd, the Post & Courier newspaper published a "Who's Cooking" profile by Angel Powell titled "Micah Garrison of Middleton Place Respects Deep Origins, History of Lowcountry."

Originally from Columbia, Micah Garrison worked in the restaurant business in college as a part-time job and fell in love with it. After attending the Culinary Institute of Charleston, he went to work for Cypress. A little more than a year ago, Garrison became the head chef at Middleton Place Restaurant.
Q: What's your first food memory?
A: My mother (God bless her) made me a coconut cake for my fourth birthday in the form of a football field. It looked amazing, but I realized that I couldn't and still don't like the texture of raw coconut. Even at a young age, I apparently had a selective palate.
Q: What's been the best thing about being involved in the Charleston food scene?
A: I really enjoy having so many colleagues and friends that all aspire towards the progression of Charleston's national reputation. I truly feel that with its intimate size and rich history, we belong in the conversation of one of the finest culinary destinations in the country.
Q: How do you think that the Lowcountry influences you as a chef?
A: I feel that the Lowcountry has made me have a deeper respect towards the origins and history of many of our everyday ingredients that came from the European and Caribbean trade routes.
Q: What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a chef?
A: I am very pleased to have won the 2008 Sustainable Seafood Initiative Partner of the Year award. When I was sous chef under Brandon Buck here, we won the award in 2006, so I feel a great deal of accomplishment to have been a part of winning that honor twice here at Middleton Place.
For the rest of the profile, see:

Middleton Place 4300 Ashley River Road Charleston. 266-7477.

Monday, July 20, 2009

CIC Friend Megan Westmeyer Profiled in The Post and Courier

Congratulations to CIC friend and partner in sustainable seafood, Megan Westmeyer, for a great profile in the Post & Courier:

"S.C. Aquarium's Sustainable Seafood Initiative coordinator makes a difference for environment"
By Elizabeth Laseter The Post and Courier Saturday, July 18, 2009
"In Westmeyer's words, sustainable seafood means "fish for the future. The SSI raises awareness concerning the amount of fish taken from the ocean and how fishing affects oceanic habitats. Founded in 2002, SSI sponsors programs that teach chefs in Charleston restaurants about sustainable seafood, and the best choices to make for their menus. The Initiative now has more than 80 partners, including The Boathouse, Carolina's and Fish restaurants. In the future, Westmeyer hopes to expand SSI's services to places outside Charleston.
"It's Westmeyer's job to encourage chefs to buy their seafood locally. One of her favorite parts about her job is assessing a chef's menu and rating its sustainability. But what she loves most is seeing the results of her assessments. Because of Westmeyer's efforts, many restaurants have removed endangered fish such as Chilean sea bass and orange roughy from their menus.
"'I get so excited when I see a change that a chef has made to his menu,' she says."
Education: Bachelor's in marine science, University of South Carolina; master's in oceanography, Louisiana State University.
For the full story, see: Megan Westmeyer - The Post and Courier

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Culinary Institute delivers a terrific beer night
Rich flavors, bold pairings, and good times at the Sam Adams Beer Dinner
by T. Ballard Lesemann
- The scene was festive and elegant in the dining room in the Palmer Campus of Trident Tech's Culinary Institute on Tuesday evening (July 14) as the enthusiastic staff at the institute's on-site restaurant and 50-seat dining room teamed up with the Boston Beer Company to present a terrific six-course Samuel Adams beer dinner. They paired some new varieties and classic styles of ale and lager with an exquisite menu.
- In recent years, the Culinary Institute expanded the Trident Technical College's Palmer Campus and offered advanced training to the restaurant and hospitality industry — for both industry professionals and for the community. Culinary Institute Dean Michael Saboe, his assistant Gaynor Mueller, Hospitality department head Patricia Agnew, and most of the institute's chefs, instructors, and students were on hand. They welcomed special guest presenter Bob Cannon, one of the head brewers at the Boston Beer Company's headquarters (he's the guy with the big beard and the shaved head in those dynamic Samuel Adams beer commercials). Funds raised from the $85-per-plate tickets benefited the Culinary Institute.
- Attendees met representatives of the brewery in the foyer where they could sample and vote on two possible new releases (a pilsner and an amber ale). For the past few years, Samuel Adams has sponsored a contest where they ask the public to vote on which they like best. This year's winner included the Samuel Adams Blackberry Wit, which was featured in the menu this evening. (I voted for the "Sample B," the amber ale).
- A casual pre-dinner reception featured delicious soft pretzels baked by the institute' artesian bakery and beer-steamed mussels paired with samples of the award-winning Sam Adams Light, an ale with a light malt flavor and a bright hop aroma. Charleston Beer Exchange co-owner Rich Carley joined me at Table 6, alongside Jan Pearlstine Lipov, Larry Lipov, and Chuck Marquardt — all three of whom run the longtime Charleston company Pearlstine Distributors (the local Anheuser-Busch distributor).
- Cannon explained the use of citrus and grains of paradise in the Samuel Adams Summer Ale during the first course of shrimp and citrus salad (orange and Asian pear), a nicely lemon-accented pairing to start things off.
-The second course was one of the biggest hits of the evening. Chef/instructor Kevin Mitchell's perfectly seared, Cajun-spiced red snapper was served over "Texas caviar" (a light black-eyed pea salsa) and a zesty mango salad, paired with the malty-sweet Samuel Adams Irish Red ale in the brewery's peculiarly tulip-shaped "perfect pint glass."
- Up next was pan-seared duck with a blackberry gastrique and a petite hoe cake. The rich flavor of the duck suited the tart fruitiness of the sauce, which was reduced with a bit of the Samuel Adams Blackberry Wit — the new seasonal ale that accompanied the course. While so many microbrewed fruit-flavored beers cross the line with too much sweetness and overpowering fruit flavor, the Blackberry Wit holds way back and achieves a unique balance of flavors between the graininess of the wheat, the spiciness of the coriander and orange peel, and a subtle, crisp berry flavor.
-The staffers and students in the kitchen and dining room maintained a steady pace from course to course, bussing cutlery and dishes and serving the bottled beer and new dishes with care and courtesy.
-An intensely rich and tender Kobe beef short rib braised in (and served with) Samuel Adams Cream Stout was a favorite at Table 6 — and Cannon admitted that his brewery's Cream Stout was one his personal faves, too. "It always has a place in my fridge," Cannon told the diners in his thick Bostonian accent, "perfect pint" in hand. "I really like this beer, particularly in the winter. It goes well with roasted meats, so this a very inspired pairing. A lot of people are afraid of dark beers; they think that because its black its got a lot of alcohol, but that's not true. These beers are not big in alcohol or difficult to drink ... I think if you can't drink eight or ten pints of stout, you're not really trying hard."
-Other courses included a deeply chocolatey ancho-rubbed lamb rib served with the mahogany-colored (almost black) Samuel Adams Black Lager (a lager based on the Schwarzbier specialty brewed in Thüringen, Germany), and fennel-crusted salmon with a mustard-accented sauce served with the flagship brand Boston Lager (the company's versatile, amber-colored rendition of a dark German lager).
-The dessert course featured two special creations on one plate — a very small slice of an apple-walnut-cream tart made with stout, and a chocolate gelato infused with macerated cherries over a vanilla bean creme fraiche and Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat Foam. Serving any type of beer with such sweet and delicate dessert dishes may normally seem odd, but the brewery's light Cherry Wheat complemented the chocolate and vanilla flavors nicely.
- In an exciting finale, Cannon brought out a brassy, lauter tun-shaped bottle of the brewery's rare Utopias — a barrel-aged "beer" with a hefty 27 percent alcohol (by volume). At over 50-proof, it's officially the strongest beer in the world. Served in a small wine glass, the vibrant, dark-amber concoction — a blend of beers that have been brewed over the last 10 years, and aged in various woods and casks — it looked and smelled more like a brandy and tasted like a sweet port/bockbier hybrid.
-The students and staff at the Culinary Institute plan to continue organizing beer-themed events like these in the coming months. If they're as flavorful and bold as this one, they'll score high with local diners and beer enthusiasts every time.
Photographs by T. Ballard Lesemann

Monday, July 13, 2009

CIC Grad Ellis Grossman Named Director of Operations for K-Bo Inc.'s Charleston market

The Post and Courier
July 2, 2009
"The first of four new Bojangles restaurants over the next two years opens Friday, July 3rd at 740 Folly Road on James Island. The chicken restaurant, owned by Kevin Archer of K-Bo Inc. of Charlotte, will have between 40 and 50 employees and will be the 19th store in Archer's chain. Most of the others are in the Greater Charlotte area.
"Archer plans to open another diner this fall at U.S. Highway 17 and Main Road and is studying two sites in Mount Pleasant, according to Ellis Grossman, director of operations for the Charleston market."

Congratulations to Ellis, a 2009 CIC grad.

Friday, July 10, 2009

City Paper Editor Gives Two Thumbs Up to 181 Palmer

A savory lunch deal at 181 Palmer
It's worth letting Trident students experiment on you

by Stephanie Barna Jul 8, 2009
The best downtown lunch deal used to belong to Tristan, which offered an affordable prix-fixe three-course lunch. The menu was fresh and innovative, and the price was right ($15) — particularly if you were entertaining business clients or looking to impress a new friend. Tristan gave up on lunch a few months back, thanks to recessionary blues, but a new option has popped up downtown, and it's one foodies should take notice of.
Over at Trident's Culinary Institute of Charleston downtown campus,
181 Palmer is providing a refined summertime menu at the same bargain basement prices. For $15, you get three courses and a beverage (iced tea or coffee), plus you get to watch the kitchen in action on a large television screen. 181 Palmer is one of the labs at the downtown culinary campus where students get real-time experience on the line. Chef Scott Stefanelli plans the menu and oversees the students as they grill steaks, plate salads, and make desserts, and diners get to watch and benefit from this hands-on test.
At first, Stefanelli wasn't sure he'd have enough students to man the kitchen this summer, but when a handful planned to stick around, he designed a simplified menu. One that could be executed by a skeleton crew. "During the regular semester," he says, "I can have 15 students back there on the line doing all kinds of stuff with foams and sauces." Stefanelli tries to throw as much at them as possible so they can learn in the heat of the fire. Not only do the students cook the food, but they learn the art of expediting and how to work the front of the house too.
Four of us stopped by for lunch on Wednesday and ate the entire menu plus the special of the day. From the four appetizer choices, we selected one of each: bruschetta, pork belly, grilled shrimp and melon salad, and sweet corn chowder. Plus, they sent out an order of the mussels that were the special of the day, and we were so very glad they did. Made with a Sam Adams cream stout, the fragrant broth the mussels were swimming in was delicious. Stefanelli says he was playing around with this dish for next Tuesday's Sam Adams Beer Dinner. All he needs to know is that it's a winner.
For our main courses, we again ordered one of each: sweet tea-brined chicken, grilled fresh fish of the day (mahi mahi), steak with fried onions, and a spicy jambalaya. The best thing on all four plates had to be the fried onions that came with the steak. For dessert, we got to finish up with strawberry shortcake, mango sorbet, a chocolate mousse, and a final savory cheese course.
The fun part comes at the end of the meal when you get to fill out a comment card. The students are here to learn, they remind us, and all comments are welcome and encouraged. We applauded the service we received from Bryan Voss, and we praised the skills of the steak griller. In the spirit of being constructively critical, we questioned the texture of the chicken and pointed out the misplaced iced tea spoon. It was hard to find much to quibble about, though, since our experience was rather enjoyable.
181 Palmer will be serving lunch for a couple more weeks. It's only open on certain days (July 13, 14, 16, 20-23, 28-30), and reservations are required so you need to plan ahead. Call (843) 820-5087.
181 Palmer
66 Columbus St. Downtown
(843) 820-5087 )

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

CIC Featured in Sandlapper Magazine Article on TTC

In an article titled "Tuning in to Technical Education," featuring TTC, Evelyn Beck described CIC's facilities and programs, including the Study Abroad trip to Italy. Sandlapper printed a great picture of CIC student Dwayne Carl Williams in full culinary uniform in one of the CIC kitchens on Main Campus. In the picture below, Carl is in more relaxed dress - with the group in Italy.