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Create-a-Cook's 2024 Two-Week Advanced Course Culminates at Central Montco Technical High School

Wrapping Up an Intense and Rewarding Culinary Journey

The past two weeks at Central Montco Technical High School were a whirlwind of advanced culinary training and delicious achievements. Our 2024 Advanced Junior Chef Program, part of Create-a-Cook’s Summer Cooking Camp, brought together four dedicated junior chefs eager to elevate their culinary skills. Under the expert guidance of Chef Jarrett, they delved into sophisticated techniques, from breaking down a whole chicken to perfecting a velouté sauce, culminating in a series of impressive final dishes.

Week 1: Mastering the Basics and Building Foundations

Monday: Breaking Down a Whole Chicken & Homemade Chicken Stock

The course kicked off with fundamental skills, as our junior chefs learned to break down a whole chicken, understanding the importance of precise cuts and knife handling. They then pan-seared chicken tenders and prepared a flavorful homemade chicken stock, setting the foundation for several recipes to come.

Key Skills:

  • Breaking down poultry with precision.

  • Searing chicken to achieve a crispy exterior.

  • Crafting a rich, versatile chicken stock.

pan seared chicken

Tuesday: Cream of Carrot Soup, Seared Chicken Breast, Mashed Potatoes & Haricots Verts

On Tuesday, our chefs used their homemade chicken stock to create a silky Cream of Carrot Soup. They also seared chicken breasts to perfection, made creamy mashed potatoes, and blanched Haricots Verts. A rich pan sauce tied the meal together, demonstrating the importance of balancing flavors and textures.

Key Skills:

  • Utilizing homemade stock in soups.

  • Achieving perfect sear on chicken.

  • Creating smooth mashed potatoes and vibrant green vegetables.

cream of carrot soup

Wednesday: Béchamel Sauce & Shepherd’s Pie with Velouté Sauce

Midweek, the focus shifted to classic French sauces. Our junior chefs made a béchamel sauce that would be used later and a velouté sauce incorporated into a hearty Shepherd’s Pie. They practiced the technique of thickening and seasoning sauces to enhance their dishes.

Key Skills:

  • Preparing classic béchamel and velouté sauces.

  • Incorporating sauces into hearty, comforting dishes.

  • Understanding the role of sauces in enhancing flavor.

shepard's pie

Thursday: Mornay Sauce, Mac and Cheese, Grilled Steak, Chicken Chasseur & Rice Pilaf

The week culminated with a series of complex dishes. Our chefs utilized their béchamel to create a rich Mornay sauce for mac and cheese. They also grilled steaks, prepared chicken Chasseur, and made a perfectly fluffy rice pilaf, all while honing their skills in timing and plating.

Key Skills:

  • Creating a smooth, creamy Mornay sauce.

  • Perfecting the grill marks on steak.

  • Balancing multiple components in a single dish.

grilled steak and mac and cheese

Week 2: Elevating Skills and Showcasing Talent

Monday: Grilled Corn Nachos & Crispy Skin Salmon with Mushroom and Pea Risotto

The second week began with a focus on advanced preparation and presentation. Our junior chefs crafted Grilled Corn Nachos with crema and crispy skin salmon paired with a delicate mushroom and pea risotto, showcasing their ability to balance flavors and textures in a sophisticated manner.

Key Skills:

  • Achieving crispy skin on salmon.

  • Preparing a creamy, well-seasoned risotto.

  • Presenting dishes with visual appeal.

grilled corn nachos with crema

Tuesday: Homemade Pasta, Tomato Sauce, Sautéed Scallops, Blanched Asparagus & Hollandaise

Tuesday’s focus was on Italian cuisine and classic French techniques. The junior chefs made pasta from scratch using Marc Vetri's Pasta Dough recipe, paired with a homemade tomato sauce. They also prepared sautéed scallops, blanched asparagus, and made a velvety Hollandaise sauce.

Key Skills:

  • Making and shaping pasta dough.

  • Sautéing scallops to golden perfection.

  • Creating a stable and smooth Hollandaise sauce.

homemade pasta

Wednesday: Final Dish Preparation & Execution

The final day was the culmination of all their hard work. The junior chefs spent the morning prepping for their final dish, which they executed in the afternoon. They showcased their mastery of advanced techniques, creativity in presentation, and ability to balance complex flavors.

Key Skills:

  • Planning and executing a complete dish from start to finish.

  • Combining multiple techniques and components in one plate.

  • Presenting dishes with professional-level finesse.

Beyond Techniques: Confidence and Passion

Our Advanced Junior Chef Program wasn’t just about learning recipes; it was an intense two-week journey that:

  • Enhanced advanced culinary techniques, from sauce-making to precise plating.

  • Cultivated a deeper understanding of how to balance flavors and textures.

  • Encouraged individual creativity, allowing chefs to express their culinary vision.

  • Fostered a sense of confidence and independence, preparing them for more demanding culinary challenges.

  • Built camaraderie and teamwork, as they supported each other through the rigorous course.

Celebrating Culinary Achievement

As we wrap up this two-week intensive course, we are incredibly proud of our four advanced junior chefs. They’ve gained invaluable skills, crafted impressive dishes, and, most importantly, fueled their passion for cooking. This experience has prepared them to tackle any culinary challenge with finesse and creativity.

Stay tuned as we continue to inspire and educate the next generation of chefs at Create-a-Cook, where every course brings new opportunities for learning, creativity, and delicious culinary adventures!

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