Archives for posts with tag: ProStart

Top Chef Santa. See the cleaver in his hand?

Edible centerpieces are 3-D works of artistic skill that can showcase an event’s theme, decorate a simply clad table, or in the case of the Orange County (FL) public high school and vocational tech students, it can be the recognition that their creativity, knife cuts, and timed artworks merited their focused concentration.

I’ve lost track of how many years I have had the privilege to judge Orange County (FL) Public School’s Annual Hospitality and Culinary Competition, hosted each December at the Orlando World Center Marriott, but I haven’t lost my enthusiasm for what each Read the rest of this entry »

Ducks swimming in a pond of blueberries

 “Add a pinch of this. A dash of that. Smell it. Taste it.” That’s how Mom taught me to cook the family’s dinners when I was 12. Baking lessons began earlier. I made my first totally-from-scratch apple pie when I was five. Standing elbow-to-elbow on my stool, clad in the frilly apron my aunt had hand-stitched (and which I still occasionally wear), I replicated her every step in my own tart tin. We worked the dough to the right elastic consistency, rolled it out, and filled our pie pans with sliced apples moist from lemon, sugar, cinnamon and raisins. By 12 my mother returned to the daily workforce and I became responsible for the evening meal. I planned the menu around favorite dishes at which my mom excelled. Her phone call directions stipulated boiled, baked or roasted, at what temperature and for roughly how long.  The pinches and dashes were up to me.

None of the passion, curiosity or creativity learned from my family of former restaurateurs prepared me for the business side of being Read the rest of this entry »

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