ACF Tips

Alexandre Etienne Choron (1837-1924)

Choron was best known for inventing the Choron sauce. This, of course, is the béarnaise sauce enriched with tomato concentrate before reduction. Recipes will be included at the conclusion of this article. Perhaps his menu selections while chef de cuisine at the famous restaurant Vosin are most intriguing. On September 19, 1879 the Siege of Paris by the Prussians began. During the siege, Parisians were forced to eat animals such as cat, dog, and rat. The bourgeois did not want to dine this low on the food chain so demand at deluxe restaurants remained high. Since food reserves were getting more and more scarce, chefs had to improvise. Choron soon started serving exotic animal from the local zoo, and for the Christmas meal of 1870, served stuffed head of donkey, elephant consommé, roasted camel, kangaroo stew, bear shanks roasted in pepper sauce and several others to include antelope in truffle sauce. The famous wines served included Mouton –Rothchild, Romanee-Conti, and Chateau Palmer.

Choron was famous for his elephant dishes and he used many from various Paris zoos for his cuisine at Voisin purchased at 15 francs per pound. When elephant meat ran out, horse meat was substituted. So the next… Continue reading

The Culinary Institute at Carolina

The Culinary Institute at Carolina

As another class rotation begins this month, let me take a few minutes to explain some of the changes which are coming to the institute, and to reemphasize some of the policies already in place.

With the addition of Blackboard, instructors can now post any handouts, recipes, links, or any other ancillary materials to the web which students can then download and print for themselves. Using Blackboard effectively allows for much easier communication with students, and relieves costly bulk printing at the McCutchen House. Blackboard also allows us to post grades from any tests given throughout the program.

All classes will have a final test given in class, graded, and posted. As of now, there are no steadfast rules as to whether a student can receive a certificate without passing this test (except for ServSafe©), but it will become the rule soon; especially considering that we will eventually apply for accreditation through the ACF. Syllabi are being reworked for cohesiveness, minimum standards, and for CHRIE approval. There will still be some room for instructors to add additional recipes and techniques, but we must maintain a strong foundation.

A houseperson will be on property through the… Continue reading

Don’t panic!

Food & Business Tips

Even though these are tough times economically, don’t fall into the mistake that so many restaurant owners make when there is an downturn: cutting corners. Simple reasoning explains why this would be the biggest mistake anyone could take at this time. Our customers are feeling the pressures of lower income, or income that does not have the buying power it once had, so why would they continue to frequent a restaurant that is charging the same price for a dish which had been done better in the past? There is no easier way to upset regular guests then to keep a price of a menu item, only to cut portion size, use a lower grade of ingredient, or take away previously included side items. Taking away even small amenities such as the after-dinner mints or the complimentary snacks at the lounge bar may not seem like enough of an issue to make a person no longer come to your property, but look at it from their point of view, “Hey, if these guys are hurting so bad they can’t put pretzels on the bar, what the heck else are they slashing back in the kitchen?” Honestly,… Continue reading


Food & Business Tips

Alain Chapel was regarded as one of the finest French chefs. Born in Lyon in December 1937, he received his early training by working in the kitchen of his Father’s bistro and inn. After training in other local shops, Chapel worked with Fernand Point at “La Pyramide” in Vienne. In 1967, he returned to the family bistro, now a restaurant, and gained it a Michelin star. Upon the death of his father in 1970, Chapel opened the inn as a hotel and in 1973 he received his third Michelin star at the restaurant. At this time only 19 restaurants in France had received this highest of honours. Among his most famous dishes were stuffed calf’s ears with parsley and truffled-stuffed chicken in pork bladder .This was cooked in a rich chicken reduction stock. New York Times food writer, Craig Claiborne praised Chapel’s “gateau de foies blonds” as “one of the absolute cooking glories of this generation”. For the unfamiliar, this dish consisted of pureed chicken livers and beef marrow with a mousse-like lobster cream. A seven course meal was not uncommon. While these dishes do not reflect nouvelle cuisine as many chefs now think of it,… Continue reading

Networking, Partnering, Sustainable, Going Green

Food & Business Tips

All buzz words of the decade but how do we really incorporate them into our daily operations. In years past at CIC we have practiced the 80-20 rule, meaning 80% of our products come from one supplier and 20% came from everyone else. In years past this meant Partnering with one main supplier that best suits your service level needs, quality level, HACAAP controls, and cost controls. This also helped your Green Efforts in reducing the number of deliveries, trucks on the road, paper work reduced, along with reduced labor efforts. One of the down falls in the past of this system is Chef’s might have to give up getting a locally grown or produced product or choice of cost over sustainability. This is seemingly becoming less and less of an issue, as I have noticed suppliers carrying organically produced chicken, South Carolina grown produce, South Carolina produced spring water, as well as a host of other local sustainable products. The questions becomes, are the customers ready for such products, and are Chef’s ready to support these programs before they fade away into the past. This is the time for the industry as a whole to… Continue reading

A Background Check for: Butter

Food & Business Tips

Butter has been around for at least the last 4000 years. The word butter comes from the Greek word “bou-tyron” meaning cow’s cheese. In the ancient world, butter may have come from the milk of many different animals including yaks and camels.It is believed the origin of butter may come from someone having filled an animal skin with milk before a journey and agitating the skin so much along the way that by the time the traveler had reached his destination he discovered a skin full of butter. This practice is still in use in some parts of the world; skins are filled with milk and swung on tent poles until the butter is churned.

We find references to butter throughout history including ancient Egyptian artifacts and throughout the Bible. While we may associate garlic butter with the cuisine of Italy, one of the most common archeological finds throughout Ireland are barrels of ancient garlic butter buried in peat bogs. Some of these ancient barrels go back over ten centuries and could weigh as much as a hundred pounds.

Even in this country the standards were set for butter by congress in 1886 and have not… Continue reading

Business Sense II

Food & Business Tips

As mobile marketing becomes more and more like a science fiction movie where you are addressed by name as you walk into a store, we must begin looking at the technological side of attracting customers and stop relying on marketing strategies from the 1920’s. I am sure all of you have seen television ads asking you to text to a number and receive deals or promos. The companies doing that kind of advertising get your cell number when you text, and use that to target you for future promos and store you in their immense data banks of consumer profiles.

Until recently, nobody in the food service industry was thinking about applying some of these new technologies to the end game of improving sales and customer retention. All of that is now changing, and one of the agents of change is Fishbowl Inc, a technologybased marketing company for the food service industry. This company has built e-mail and internet marketing campaigns for over 30,000 restaurants and has the endorsement of the National Restaurant Association. Currently, they are getting into the mobile marketing side of advertising, which is proving a boon for many of their clients. Some… Continue reading

A Brief History of…. Marie-Antoine Careme

A Brief History…by Jules Pernell

Careme was born in Paris in 1784 of destitute parents. He was abandoned at age ten and forced to make his own way in the world. It is thought that he had as many as twenty or more brothers and sisters, perhaps explaining his cruel fate.

Careme found a job at a Parisian chophouse, working there for room and board. He was recognized by the patisserie Bailly for his talent and drive and was given employment. While working with Bailly, Careme became known for his elaborate centerpieces and the invention of gros nougats and other confections. He opened his own bake shop until 1813 at which time he began to expand on his many culinary endeavors.

The famous French diplomat and gourmand Talleyrand-Perigord hired Careme as his chef de cuisine when Careme was just twenty one years old. He soon extended his skills to main courses which led to his inventions of new types of cuisines and many culinary advances. Among his many exploits was the invention of the five “mother sauces” as well as the chef’s toque and many more too numerous to mention in a brief article.

Careme was indeed the most famous… Continue reading

The Culinary Institute

Food & Business Tips

May marked the graduation of another culinary class, and this was the largest class to graduate in our history! Having that number of graduates is encouraging from the standpoint of realizing that the incoming students are committed to our program and feel they are getting a thorough and useful certificate. The program is still dedicated to earning accreditation through ACF or another institute, and to that end we remain optimistic that the cold kitchen will have a full makeover before the end of the year, resulting in a facility more geared for teaching and training.

The new rotation will be the first with internet access by using the University’s Blackboard system. For those of you not familiar with Blackboard, the basic principle is that we can now post any information we need to share with the students, which they can then access with their account. During the course of a subject, their syllabus can be made available, handouts or worksheets can be posted, along with homework, even testing can be done online. Blackboard is a wonderful way to get information out to all the students without having to print numerous copies to handout. We can also… Continue reading

A Background Check for: Worcestershire Sauce

Food & Business Tips

Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce is probably the most well-known product produced in Worcester and was first produced by two chemists, John Wheeley Lea and William Perrins. If you look at the bottle today, there is still the message of “…from the recipe of a nobleman of the country”; but who exactly was this nobleman, and where did he get the recipe?

According to historians, Lord Sandy was a local aristocrat who had been the Governor of Bengal at one point in his life. In 1835, he went to the two chemists and asked if they could replicate a recipe he had discovered in India. Taking on the challenge, they eventually duplicated the taste to the nobleman’s content, and actually kept a few extra jars for themselves. However, they tasted the concoction and could not find a way for themselves to actually enjoy the new dish, so they took their jars and stored them in the cellar in case they had to replicate the sauce again for Lord Sandys. They forgot about the jars until some time later and decided to retaste the vinegar, just to see if it had become more palatable. To their surprise,… Continue reading

October 3rd meeting Conquest Brewery

November 7th meeting TBD

November 20 Saluda Shoals Chairman's lighting

December 4th Sunday Holiday Party

January 29 President's Award Dinner