Pennsylvania Culinary Institute Chef-Instructor Travels to China to Train Local Chefs in the Cooking Ways of America

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Cooking Instructor Travels across the Ocean to Help Beijing Chefs Become Skilled in Western-Style Cuisine Techniques

In 2008, over a million people will pour into Beijing for a few weeks of rivalry and contest, and will have American meals close-by, should this be their choosing, thanks to a few of our locals. Bill Hunt, The Dean of Culinary Arts at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, (http://www.pci.edu/index.asp), and Byron Bardy, a retired chef for H.J. Heinz are back from China, where they trained chefs on Western-style cooking techniques. They helped to create the year-old Heinz Western Restaurant which is located at the Chinese government’s Olympic sports training center in Beijing and offers American cuisine.

Several years ago, while in that country, Freddie Fu, head of UPMC’s Center for Sports Medicine, was told that officials were interested in creating a Western-style cafeteria for their athletes, in advance of the 2008 summer Olympic games in Beijing. They wanted the world-class athletes be exposed to different tastes, and also for the sports center to have a sophisticated operation to show off during the 2008 games.

When Fu informed H.J. Heinz of the plans, Heinz representatives called Byron Bardy, a certified master chef retired from the company and now working as a consultant, he then recruited Bill Hunt, the Dean of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts at Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in Pittsburgh. Heinz, which has not disclosed how much it will invest in the project, agreed to pay for costs such as those involved in hiring two high-powered chefs.

The two men designed a kitchen and an 80-seat cafeteria and created a two week menu, that would be taught to the chefs in China. On the menu they included gumbo and clam chowder, as well as California cuisine and even spaghetti and paninis. After nine months the restaurant was built and the recipes translated. The American chefs led two five-week training sessions with the local chefs at the center.

Hunt and Bardy, are planning to return again this fall to teach new recipes to the now-seasoned chefs. They are interested to see what the Olympic hopefuls have found to eat since they were last in Beijing. When last there, they found that the gymnasts loved the salads, the wrestlers favored steaks. Like athletes in the US, they tried to stay away from the cream-based dishes but the spicy foods were a favorite.

For over two decades, the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute (PCI) has been a provider of culinary education preparing tomorrows chefs. PCI strives to ensure that the chef instructors and programs are current with the today’s progressive styles, foremost skills and industry current technology used in the culinary world. It has a partnership with the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu and has their internationally renowned programs as the basis for the curriculum at this cooking school, offering prestigious curriculums in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts http://www.pci.edu/programs/culinary-arts.asp and Le Cordon Bleu Pâtisserie & Baking http://www.pci.edu/programs/patisserie.asp and Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality & Restaurant Management http://www.pci.edu/programs/hrm.asp.

Pennsylvania Culinary Institute is located in the center of Pittsburgh's cultural district at 717 Liberty Avenue -- surrounded by many fine restaurants, theaters and art galleries. Pittsburgh’s diverse and creative environment helps to make PCI the easy choice to receive a fabulous and nationally-recognized culinary education.

The details of the programs offered by the cooking school can be found at http://www.pci.edu/index.asp or call 800-432-2433.

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Jamie Connolly
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