A Note from ACI’s Executive Chef October 2016

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October 2016,

From The Executive Chef:

Greetings everyone, and happy October! I hope the season is treating you well. This is about the time of year where business in The Valley is ramping-up again, and all the cooks and chefs out there have plenty to keep them busy!

A quick recap of the Glenn Humphrey Memorial Fun-run and the ACI friends and family day: what a wonderful success! I definitely had a blast, and it seemed like everyone there did as well. There were about 50 total participants running or walking, and about another 50 people that showed up for the fun. It made me smile to see spouses, families, kids, dogs, and friends on the ACI campus enjoying themselves, raising money for a good cause, eating, talking, touring the school, and remembering an amazing Chef. The event had such a great feeling of community and family. I’m already excited for next year. I want to say a big “Thank you” to everyone that came out to support us.

I can’t believe how fast 2016 is cruising by…Halloween, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Holiday break are all closing in quickly. We have one more open house this year on Saturday, December 17th. We will be hosting our annual Bake Sale, and we’ll have another Veteran Culinary Bootcamp as well. If you’d like to volunteer to help with the Bootcamp or the Bake Sale, contact the school for details. The proceeds from our Bake Sale go to support the No Kid Hungry Foundation, so we hope you’ll stop by the stock up on goodies for the holidays AND support a good cause at the same time!

To wrap up I just want to say that I feel like I am seeing a lot of our graduates doing great things out there. I am seeing people all over the place, doing all sorts of neat things both professionally and personally. Also, don’t feel bashful about calling the school and keeping us up to date with what you’ve been up to…we love to hear about you and your accomplishments! Even though I don’t get to teach every student that comes through ACI, I still feel proud to see our students out there succeeding in any aspect of life. Keep it up everybody. We are proud of you.

Chef Christopher Wolf, CCC, CCE, CSW, CPI
Executive Chef, Arizona Culinary Institute

 

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

A Note from ACI’s Executive Chef

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Greetings everyone! I hope you’re all doing your best to stay cool and comfortable during our lovely Arizona summer. I want to begin this newsletter by welcoming a new member to our team: Chef Creighton Schroeder. Chef is joining us as our Director of Education. That means that in addition to teaching when necessary, Chef Schroeder will be another layer of help for our students when it comes to the academic side of their ACI experience. He brings a deep and solid skill set, and is already making positive changes here at the school. We are very happy to have him on board.

We have officially begun planning our Second Annual Glenn Humphrey Memorial 5k Fun-run/walk. This year it will be bigger and better than last year: 2 divisions for the 5k, a 2 mile walk/dog/stroller option, and a 15k bike option! More people. More prizes. More FOOD. And, to make the day even more amazing, we’re hosting an ACI friends and family BBQ where students, alumni, and employees can come, bring their families, and celebrate the school. Food and drinks will be free, we’ll have lots of activities, and for the little ones (no not Chef Rigollet, I mean the kids) we’re planning on having a bounce house as well! Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 15th, and plan on being here even if you have no intention of participating in the 5k. It’s gonna be awesome.

Our next Open House is on Saturday, August 6th. We will be hosting another Culinary Bootcamp for Veterans. The response for these classes has been really great. If that sounds like something you’d like to volunteer your time to help with, please contact Chef Wolf at the school.

ACI’s Modernist Cooking Club is back in action this week, with meetings on Thursday and Saturday. I always get so excited to see what new and interesting things our members come up with. Don’t miss out!

Lastly, our partnership with the Roca Brothers from the world renowned restaurant Cellar de Can Roca is drawing near. We will be hosting them for a “Master Class” here on campus on Tuesday, August 16th. Admission is free for ACI students and alumni. We can accommodate up to 100 guests, so space is limited. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP with Chef Wolf at c.wolf@azculinary.edu. This is going to be such an amazing, unique, and once-in-a-lifetime experience. PLEASE don’t miss out. We are unbelievably excited!

As always, you are the school’s most important asset, and we want to make sure you are aware and informed of all the things happening with the school. Please-please-please don’t hesitate to contact the school if you ever have any questions about activities on campus. You can call us at 480-603-1066, or email Chef Wolf directly at c.wolf@azculinary.edu. Stay informed and don’t miss out. Even if you finished the program years ago, we still want to see you on campus to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can. Take care everyone. Happy cooking.

A Note From ACI’s Executive Chef June-2016

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ACI News Letter:  June 2016

From the Chef Christopher Wolf, ccc, cce, csw, cpi

Hello from Arizona Culinary Institute! I hope you’re having a wonderful June thus far.  We are preparing for our summer shutdown which will happen over the week of the 4th of July. The office will be open during normal business hours during most of the week, but there will be no classes in session.

If you’ve been paying attention you’ve noticed that details have been released concerning our partnership with the Roca Brothers coming up this August. In case you missed it, the Roca Brothers run a restaurant in Girona, Spain called El Cellar de Can Roca. In 2015 it was voted Best Restaurant in the World. They are coming to Arizona for a series of events, and they have asked ACI to help them out with some student volunteers.  In exchange for our help, they will be doing a Master Class at ACI on Tuesday, August 16th.  The class is free to students and alumni of Arizona Culinary, but we do have to cap the class at about 100 people.  So, if you’re interested in attending, please contact Chef Wolf at the school to let us know you’re coming.  It is unlikely that this will happen again, so don’t miss the chance!

We’ve also recently announced that we will be working with the Wynn Las Vegas as a potential internship and employment site for our students.  We are very excited to be in a position to send qualified candidates to this world-class resort.  If you think that an internship or a career in Las Vegas is something you’d like to pursue, again, please contact Chef Wolf at the school for information about the process.

The ACF National Convention is coming to Arizona this year, and they need volunteers to help with this massive event.  The ACF National Convention will have something for everyone, including educational seminars, product information, and endless networking opportunities.  If you’d like to volunteer your time for the event, we can put you in touch with the right people.  It is sure to be an amazing event, and volunteering your time gets you inside to all of the action!  Contact the school for more details.

Last week we had the opportunity to work with 5 other Chefs from around Arizona, and 6 Arizona winemakers, to serve 6 courses to 200 people for a charity dinner at the Tilted Earth Festival up in Cottonwood, Arizona.  It was a blast!  3 ACI instructors along with 11 wonderful student volunteers acted as the glue to hold this enormous event together.  We were involved in a little bit of everything, and it was great.  The feedback from the guests about our students was truly amazing.  I never get tired of hearing people rave about our students, and now we have established several more employment opportunities for our students in Northern Arizona.  Great job everyone!

Lastly, I wanted to announce that the ACI Modernist Cooking Club will be on hiatus for the month of June, but we will return with a vengeance in July.  We will be starting a new set of AM and PM students in Basics when we return from summer break, and that seems like the perfect opportunity to relaunch the club.  Old members, new members, and anyone else interested, are all welcome!

Keep it cool out there in the heat folks.  Those kitchens can get pretty hot in the summer.  Stay hydrated, take care of yourself, and stay in touch!

Chef Wolf