Summer Barbeque Tips, Techniques and Gourmet Food Ideas From Chefs at the California School of Culinary Arts

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Cooking school offers career education for aspiring chefs.

When one thinks of a barbeque dinner it usually consists of burgers and hot dogs, and perhaps, steaks. California School of Culinary Arts (CSCA), wants to “push the envelope” and help make outdoor grilling an unforgettable experience. A career education class offered at the CSCA, “Summer BBQ: Sava the Flava,” on June 18, from 9 am to 1 pm, will explore many of CSCA chef instructor’s favorite recipes and menus for a scrumptious feast.

“The great thing about cooking and eating outside is that you don’t do it everyday. There is a novelty to it. Put together gourmet food, romance and moonlight, and you have an incredible memory,” says CSCA Chef Darrel Folck. Folck says that anyone, regardless of their culinary experience, can create a gourmet meal on a grill, from delectable hors d'oeuvres, such as bacon-wrapped blue cheese filled dates, to delicious desserts such as grilled watermelon with citrus honey glaze and cobbler.

Folck says that you can make a barbeque special by giving it a theme. Favorites of his are a Mediterranean barbeque, with marinated lamb chops, grilled pita bread, grilled veggies, all complemented with a tatziki sauce; a Mexican barbeque with grilled tequila lime shrimp tacos, grilled corn on the cob, and rice made and reheated in a pan with foil and some water; or a California cuisine meal of grilled salmon, grilled veggies and a salad made with dressing prepared in advance.

In addition to gourmet foods prepared on a grill, CSCA Chef Brian Nelson, an Arkansas native, enjoys authentic southern barbeque sauce recipes for meats. “Whether you like it flaming hot or mild, you can customize spices in your sauces according to you taste,” says Nelson. Both Chefs prefer mesquite and wood chips for a heat source and recommend wrapping food in grape, cabbage or lettuce leaves, or “teaming” and baking in the coals or ashes, which keeps the product from charring and allows it to steam and cook more evenly.

Chefs Folck and Nelson offer these additional grilling tips:

Use rubs to enhance flavors and preserve meats. Rubs can consist of brown or white sugar, spices, such as cumin and chili powder, and salt to extend the life of meats. Apply over meats and allow it to stand overnight to absorb the flavors. Apply your favorite sauce during the last five minutes of cooking. Prepare marinades, sauces and dressings ahead of time and freeze them so they stay chilled longer.

Thousands of new restaurants, bistros, grills, high profile caterers, and hotels open every year. In fact, the culinary industry is the second largest employer in the United States. It has experienced robust and continued growth for more than 20 years. Job openings are expected to be strong, reaching a projected total of 13 million people, through 2010. This makes career education in the restaurant business a smart objective.

California School of Culinary Arts Le Cordon Bleu Program in Pasadena offers students a hands-on educational experience with a superior faculty dedicated to providing cooking school students with the necessary skills, knowledge, support and guidance for the successful development of a career in the culinary arts. Classes are held at CSCA, 521 East Green Street in Pasadena. Class costs $85 and is open to all experience levels. To register, call or visit the CSCA Campus Cookstore, 626-683-1354. For more information about their outstanding career education, go to


Megan Manion



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