A Note from The Executive Chef January 2017

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Hello ACI family, and welcome to 2017!  We are back in full-swing here on campus and enjoying every second of it!

We want to welcome all of our new day-program students that started on Monday, January 9th, and say how excited we are to start our new night-program students on Monday, January 30th.  I never get tired of seeing enthusiastic new students on campus.

We have several new instructor faces on campus this year as well.  Some of you that went through the program a few years ago may recognize Baking and Pastry instructor Jennifer Sedig has made a return back to ACI!  We are very happy to have her on campus again.  Also, 2004 ACI alumni James West has joined us part-time to teach Du Jour back-of-the-house for dinner service.  And, in late 2016, we started Samantha Evans training in Management and Du Jour front-of-the-house, primarily as a PM instructor.  All three of our new instructors have brought a lot of experience, knowledge, and enthusiasm to the school and we are very excited to add them to our team.

Du Jour is open for dinner service again, which is always exciting.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best dinner deal around…especially if you’re a student or alumni and enjoy using your 50% off discount.  As always, we serve on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6:30-7:30pm.  Calling ahead for reservations is STRONGLY recommended.  Dinner service will be offered through mid-March, so come on over and give our students someone to cook for!

Lastly, I want to announce our next Open House which will be on Saturday, March 4th.  I will be teaching a class on Modernist Cuisine/Molecular Gastronomy techniques.  Liquid Nitrogen, Sous-vide, Spherification, foams, froths, powders, and more will all be covered.  We will begin sign-ups about 1 month in advance, so secure your spot early.  Chef Allison Newton will be teaching our Veteran Bootcamp class, and student volunteers are always appreciated for those events.  Of course, we will have school tours, food, and Chef Instructors in the house as well.  Stop in and say hi!

Thanks for taking the time to read this and catch up on what’s going on at ACI.  See you next month!

Chef Christopher Wolf, CCC, CCE, CSW, CPI

 

A Note from ACI’s Executive Chef

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Happy Fall everybody! We have survived another summer! It is so nice to finally feel the kitchens cooling down a little bit, and now we get to enjoy 8 months of amazing weather.

The biggest thing on my mind right now is Saturday, October 15th. What’s happening that day you ask? Well, it’s our 2nd Annual Glenn Humphrey Memorial 5k Fun-run/walk. If you are a Chef, cook, or culinary student in Arizona, there is a good chance you know who Chef Humphrey was. Chef was so important to so many cooks around the Valley, and he was a huge part of Arizona Culinary Institute. Since Glenn passed away we have done a lot around the campus to try to honor his memory. One of the things we created last year was a scholarship in his name to help ACI students in financial need. Since Glenn helped so many of us in our careers, we felt a great way to honor him would be to create a scholarship so that he could still continue to help our students. The primary way that we decided to raise money for this scholarship was to host a fundraiser 5k at the school each October. There is no fee to enter, but we would gladly accept a $20 donation toward the scholarship to participate in the 5k. ALL donations will go directly to the scholarship fund.

This year we will have 3 options for the event: an “elite” wave for running enthusiasts, an “intermediate” wave for more casual runners, and a 2-mile walk for people that want to walk, push strollers, or bring their dogs. All waves will start and finish in the same spot. At the event we will have free food for all participants, and guests! Registration is from 7am until 7:45, and the first wave begins at 8am.

In conjunction with this event we are having our first ever ACI friends and family day. We are opening the campus to current students, alumni, prospective students, and employees to bring friends and family to the campus to show off our school. No catch. No fees. No gimmicks. We just want to host a great day with a positive vibe and bring people together. The event begins at 8am with the 5k and will wrap up around noon. We will have breakfast burritos available the first few hours, then hot dogs and burgers closer to lunch time…and the food is free! Come see us. Bring people. Celebrate the school. There will also be popcorn, cotton candy, a bounce house, and a bunch of great people. Please come show your support of the school, even if you don’t want to participate in the 5k.

That’s it folks! I hope to see you at the school on the 15th. Are any of you up to the challenge of beating me in the 5k? Wouldn’t it be nice to wipe that smug little grin off my face? Bring it on!

Chef Christopher Wolf, ccc, cce, cpi, csw.

Here is the link to register:

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A Note From ACI’s Executive Chef

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Hello ACI family.

I feel honored, yet again, to have the opportunity to update you on all-things-Arizona-Culinary in this newsletter. We have plenty of things going on to talk about, but perhaps that can wait.

For this month’s installment, I find myself in a period of reflection. As many of you probably know, ACI recently had the privilege of working with the Roca Brothers from El Cellar de Can Roca, which was voted 2015 best restaurant in the WORLD, and is located in Girona, Spain. Every year for the last 3 years the Roca Brothers have partnered with BBVA Compass Bank to embark on a World Tour and bring their food, through a series of “pop-up dinners”, to a select few cities around the world. This year, one of those select cities happened to be Phoenix, Arizona, and the chosen venue was the Four Seasons Resort in North Scottsdale.

In each of the cities the Brothers visit, they try to partner with a local culinary school to find student volunteers to help them prepare these amazing meals. Fortunately during their planning stages they found Arizona Culinary Institute. I was honored that from their initial contact with the school, Chef Wilson gave me free reign to pursue this opportunity with all of my enthusiasm. To make a very long story as short as possible, through many months of planning, emails, phone calls, scheming, and dreaming, we were able to provide 10 very capable student volunteers to work with the staff of El Cellar de Can Roca.

The road certainly was not always smooth. Even the student selection process was difficult. 27 students applied for the opportunity and we were limited to only 10 spaces. I wish we could have sent everyone, but unfortunately we could not. All of the students selected were thrilled. Some of the students that we were unable to select were very understanding, and some took it a little more personally. Those were difficult conversations, especially since I hate to disappoint anyone.

There were even a few tense moments within our instructor team. All of us wanted to be a part of it, but we were very limited in how many people we were allowed to send…sometimes there is such a thing as too much help. Because of my involvement from day 1, I was able to join our students every day, but the rest of the instructor team was only able to participate in a limited capacity, which caused a little friction as well. But nothing great is ever achieved easily.

As a “thank-you” for providing the brothers with our 10 student volunteers, they offered to do a master class at the school for our current students and any alumni that wanted to partake. The master class provided the opportunity for any students or instructors that were unable to be involved in the preparation of the pop-up dinners to still have some interaction with the Roca Brothers.

When the dust settled, 100 ACI staff, students, and alumni packed the Du Jour dining room for a 2 hour master class with Joan and Jordi Roca…an experience that still seems surreal to me. 10 ACI student volunteers spent 11 days working long hours beside the Roca Brothers and their staff from El Cellar de Can Roca to put out 3 nights of amazing meals to 100 lucky guests each night. The fact that ACI was able to be a part of this is still something I am struggling to wrap my head around. Of all the cities and all the culinary schools in the world, the chefs of one of the best restaurants in the entire world found their way to us. We were a part of something that so many people around the world would have given anything to be a part of. It was so much bigger than I ever expected. I find myself very grateful for having played a part in it. I am grateful to the Roca Brothers and the staff of El Cellar de Can Roca, to BBVA Compass Bank sponsoring the tour, to all of ACI’s amazing students for volunteering their time and wanting to be a part of this amazing experience, to the staff of ACI for working together to pull this off, and to our school President, Chef Wilson, for letting me pursue this opportunity for the school.

In the end, like so many great moments, despite the long road to planning this experience, it was over in the blink of an eye. I hope it left as big of an impression on everyone who was able to be a part of it as it did on me. I feel very lucky to be the Executive Chef of our wonderful school, and to have the opportunity to help generate experiences like this for the ACI family. In closing I would simply encourage all of you to keep pushing, never give up, and realize that there is no ceiling to what you are capable of. There is a whole other level of culinary arts out there, above and beyond what we see every day, and the greatest restaurants in the world are always on the lookout for that next young cook to mentor. Cheers.

Christopher Wolf, CCC, CSW, CCE, CPI

Executive Chef, Arizona Culinary Institute

Arizona Culinary Institute and Wynn Las Vegas

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June 8, 2016

Arizona Culinary Institute has recently entered an agreement with the Wynn Las Vegas Resort to create an exciting Internship/employment opportunity for ACI students who need to complete their outside training or graduates looking for employment. There are still details being finalized, but ACI is thrilled to be the exclusive culinary school to assist the Wynn Las Vegas in finding qualified candidates to work in their culinary arts and hospitality department. We are very excited at the opportunity to help this world class resort fill their culinary positions. The pay and benefits package is excellent, and for the right candidate, this is an awesome opportunity to relocate to Las Vegas and begin a career with The Wynn.  Anyone interested should speak with Chef Wolf at the school to find out additional information.

c.wolf@azculinary.edu

There will be more details coming

Roca Brothers and Arizona Culinary Institute

Announcement: 

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El Cellar de Can Roca (Voted 2015 Best Restaurant in the WORLD) collaboration with Arizona Culinary Institute!  There are too many exciting details to possibly squeeze into a brief social media announcement, so here is a brief summary:

The Roca Brothers and their staff will be in town in August hosting a series of “Pop-up” dinners for some business clients.  To help pull off these dinners, they have requested ACI student volunteers to assist with the events. Ultimately, interested ACI students will spend 1-2 weeks working side-by-side with the Chefs of the best restaurant in the world to execute these dinners.  Of the 10 student volunteers chosen by ACI, the Roca brothers will be choosing 2 of them to receive a full-scholarship opportunity to train at El Cellar de Can Roca, in Girona, Spain, for 4 months!  Also, as a thank-you to the school, the Roca Brothers will be teaching a Master Class August 16th on the ACI campus open to students and alumni only.  For the volunteer opportunity there is an application process and a few eligibility requirements, all of which can be discussed with Chef Wolf at the school.  This truly is an unprecedented once in a lifetime opportunity and ACI is very proud to be a part of this.

For more information and how to apply please contact Chef Wolf at the School.

About El Cellar de Can Roca

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