Culinary Insitute of America’s Grilling and BBQ Boot Camp
by Betsy Miller
Ladies and gentlemen, start your charcoal. Or propane. Or gas. The grilling season has arrived.
Across the country, summer hails the beginning of the outdoor cooking season. Legend has it that food cooked al fresco tastes better. At the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, they are doing their best to preserve this myth. As a way to promote their best-selling cookbook, The Culinary Institute of America’s Grilling, they have introduced a series of classes—both one and two-day—called BBQ Boot Camp.
“The best thing about this learning experience,” says Jay Blotcher, Media Specialist in CIA’s Continuing Education Department, “is cooking your class work, then eating your class work.” And it’s not just protein on the plate. Students learn how to grill breakfast, lunch and dinner; animal, vegetable and pound cake. Grilling, broiling and barbecuing are covered, as is the use of marinades, brines, rubs, and sauces. And, of course, that age old question is examined anew: what is the true relationship between barbecue and beer?
Award-winning Chef James Heywood, a CIA instructor for over 30 years, will be wielding the tongs for these classes of never more than 16 students at a time. His curriculum includes not only the ‘how-tos” but the “whys”, too. The pros and cons of gas vs. charcoal, cherry vs. hickory, tongs vs. spatulas and a few safety tips thrown in for good measure.
“We talk about regional presentation,” says Blotcher. “North Carolina to Kansas City, Baltimore to Texas, each has established themselves with a particular taste and texture. There’s quick barbecue, slow barbecue. Some want the flavor of the meat to come out. Others like things so spicy the roof of your mouth comes off. It’s all here.”
The two-day course begins at 6 a.m. with a full breakfast. At 7, the class gets a lecture on barbecuing methods, regional styles, equipment identification, fuel sources, and smoking techniques. By 8:30 everyone has adjourned to the terrace where recipes are distributed and the grills are fired up. Fragrant wood and/or charcoal compete with searing gas heat as mouth-watering aromas fill the air. By noon, students chow down on the meal they’ve cooked themselves, then listen to a critique on how to make it even better.
Among the recipes that could be part of the curriculum: Grilled French Toast, Grilled Bluefish with Creole Mustard Sauce, Fish Kebabs with Cilantro and Cashew Chutney, Beer Can Chicken, Jerked Pork Chops, Grilled Belgian Endive, Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Molasses Butter, and Grilled Papaya and Mango Skewers with Lime Sorbet.
The classes are geared for any interested cook; anyone who wants to “improve their game”. Students receive a chef’s uniform including jacket, pants and neckerchief, a toque, side towels and a CIA logo apron. Past graduates report that when they appear at the picnic table in the get-up, tray in hand, laden with perfectly grilled barbecue, guests have been known to stand and applaud.
This could be you.
Culinary Institute of America
Saturday, June 18, September 24, October 22
Participants receive logo apron and copy of CIA’s Grilling
Fee: $850.00; optional tool kit $425.00
Thursday & Friday, June 16 & 17
June 20 & 21
August 9 & 10
September 8 & 9
2nd to last paragraph of article.
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(OMIT: who choose to pay for it,)