A look at the new culinary programs at Pulaski Tech | Rock Candy

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A look at the new culinary programs at Pulaski Tech

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 6:52 AM

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It’s interesting that many of Little Rock’s most acclaimed chefs are not from Arkansas. For example, many of the top names in the foodscape of Arkansas were procured during the days of Lee Richardson at the Capital Hotel from locations outside the state. The man had some sort of mystique that enticed bright, young minds to make their way in The Natural State. But today, there are opportunities to train great chefs, bakers, and mixologists locally through the programs offered by Pulaski Tech Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute.

Recently I was joined by fellow foodies and local writers, Kevin Shalin and Greg Henderson, for a peek into the work going on at this culinary school and we were able to get a nice tour of the shiny new facilities in which students are able to train.

The new facilities (located along I-30 at the border of Little Rock and Bryant) were completed only recently, in the summer of 2013. Truly, this is one impressive institute of learning. Top-notch equipment, spacious classrooms with top-of-the-line audio/visual equipment for demonstrations, large kitchens with new appliances and tools to train on—nearly anything an aspiring cook can hope for.

Graduates attain an “Associate’s of Applied Science in Culinary Arts” through a one-year program that takes learners through a full array of necessary skills and techniques needed to succeed in the restaurant world. Students study the basics of stocks, sauces, and soups, garde manger, French regional cuisine, candies and chocolates, and meats and seafood. Courses also cover basics in menu design, dining room operations, sanitary techniques, and hospitality in order to give learners a comprehensive look at how to manage a restaurant or any other food production service. Those looking for additional training in wine and spirits or baking and pastry can opt to take additional courses and acquire additional certification beyond the one-year program. More information on enrollment here.

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Additionally, the college offers community education courses throughout the year for anyone interested in sharpening their cooking skills. To date, participants have taken part in courses in yeast breads and pizza making, cheese education and tasting, pasta making, soufflés, and French sauces. A list of future courses can be found at this link.

As part of one of the upper level courses, students are asked to cook, manage, and serve in a fully functional restaurant at the school. For the time being, this dinner program is offered by invitation only. We were treated to some nice dishes during our meal including a veal scaloppini with sweet potato gnocchi and a pear tart with caramel and cayenne pepper sauce.

It’s reassuring that Arkansas is investing in its own culinary future with a facility such as Pulaski Tech. I’m confident that these programs will help boost the confidence and capabilities of those involved and I’m eager to see the cooks produced through these courses of study.

Special thanks to Tim Jones—Associate Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing at Pulaski Tech—for inviting us to visit and for his hospitality throughout the night.

***More pictures after the jump***

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