I love the opportunity to learn new things, whether it’s a new skill, new foods, a new town or a chance to see what others are learning, I’m interested. So, when Malika Bowling from the Atlanta Restaurant Blog and the Association of Food Bloggers invited me to a culinary apprenticeship dinner where culinary students host a dinner they prepare, plate and serve, I was all in! I was excited to find out what the KSU Culinary Apprenticeship was all about.
First, I just have to tell you, the people were so nice and welcoming. They let me go back to the kitchen to see what was going on. I’ve spent time in commercial and professional kitchens before and frankly, they always feel like home to me. I met my husband of 23 years in a restaurant! He’s in software now, but he also has a background in restaurant management, running a kitchen and owning his own successful restaurant. Now, he cooks for the five of us…and he’s awesome at it. That’s why I need to exercise more. I digress. I will say, it was super nice of them to invite me back there during food prep.
I could use some knife skills in the worst way. That’s just one of the things that these students learn.
The culinary program at KSU’s College of Continuing and Professional Education is a 9 month program where the students learn a variety of skills and techniques, plus get practical experience by completing 420 hours of apprenticeship work at several prestigious Atlanta venues. You can learn more about that here.
Commercial kitchen’s are one of my happy places. I know that these students feel the same way. Listening to them talk about what this program meant to them was a highlight of the evening. Not only that, but everyone from the chefs to the support staff talked so highly about the students that I was sincerely touched by how much they cared AND how much they knew about each person! This definitely wasn’t the kind of program or experience where you get lost in the shuffle. I was impressed.
Plating skills are so important, because you eat with your eyes first, right? So right. Every time I look at a beautiful plate I think, I should do that. This rice? Pretty sitting here all alone. That’s a fine start to a great meal. Trust me, because I got to eat it later.
Before being served, the staff told us about each student, things they had accomplished and what their goals were, from catering to fine dining and more.
Then the students told us about their dishes and the menu for the evening. They were proud of what they had learned and what they had made for us.
Taste of the Islands Menu
Black bean soup topped with farmer’s cheese, red onions, cilantro and crispy pork
House made coconut bread with melted butter and cane sugar
Island style shrimp and scallop ceviche
Jamaican Roti Braised pork belly with house pickled vegetables
Jerk chicken with red beans and rice
Plantain turnover filled with mango, pineapple and farmer’s cheese
Island champagne punch of ginger ale, orange soda, Sprite and mango nectar with scoops of pineapple, coconut and mango sherbet
We were first served an island style shrimp and scallop ceviche.
The black bean soup was topped with farmer’s cheese, red onions, cilantro and crispy pork. Delicious!
Next we had, a Jamaican roti braised pork belly with pickled okra.
Hey, there’s that rice! One of my favorites, jerk chicken with red beans and rice.
The meal was finished with a beautiful plantain turnover filled with mango, pineapple and farmer’s cheese.
Also delicious, was the coconut bread with melted butter and cane sugar. Sadly, I ate several and took a picture of none. They were awesome! I’d gladly stop by daily for that treat!
It was so great to be able to experience what these students are learning and be a guest of this awesome program for the evening! I hope this post inspires you to follow any culinary dreams that you have! It’s never too late to learn!