The Science Behind Taste

Taste is basis of the culinary arts and is one of the senses we use to identify the food we eat. Taste benefitted early humans by indicating which foods were safe for consumption. Sweetness signaled foods with calories for energy, while sourness could indicate the presence of vitamin C; bitter foods were potentially poisonous, whereas salty foods contain important minerals and other nutrients.  For a long time, it was believed that there were only these four classifications of taste – until the recent discovery of a fifth, entirely different “taste” [Read more...]

Benefits of Hydroponic Gardening

10440790_10152524017947328_280393695102622722_n“Farm-to-Table” is far from just a catch phrase these days; in many great restaurants, it’s a way of life.  Students that are exploring a career in the Culinary Arts are  putting themselves ahead of the competition by learning just how farm-to-table really works, and our new greenhouse is the perfect place to plant this foundation of learning.

If you’re considering a career in the Culinary Arts, please allow us to introduce to you the benefits of hydroponic gardening, which we are proud to say will start with our very own on-site greenhouse!

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Culinary Institute of Virginia – Best Summer Recipe Competition

How does it work?

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Culinary Institute of Virginia students are invited to see who can create the most popular summer recipe.  In order to enter, simply send a private message to CIV’s Facebook page with the name of your dish, recipe, a picture of the dish, and any comments you would like made about the dish.  The dish must be original, and the photo must be of your dish. Those dishes that have the most “likes” by July 30th will win a $100 bookstore credit!

New Greenhouse Ready for Planting

Advisory Board Member and Executive Chef Edward Storey plants the first seed.

Advisory Board Member and Executive Chef Edward Storey plants the first seed.First Seeds 1LR

The construction is complete, the heating and cooling system is ready to go, and the pipes are flowing with nutrient-rich water. Now it’s time to start planting. In just a few short weeks, the Culinary Institute of Virginia’s new hydroponic greenhouse will be bursting with fresh produce, including five types of lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, eggplant, and peppers.

ECPI University’s College of Culinary Arts is among the first to build its own hydroponic garden to be used in conjunction with culinary instruction. Today, members of the school’s academic advisory board toured the facility and helped plant the first seeds.

Restaurateurs across the country are embracing the “Farm to Table” movement which advocates the use of locally-sourced food to reduce transit time, thereby reducing the use of fossil fuels and improving freshness. The plants at the Culinary Institute of Virginia will grow in nutrient-rich water. It’s called hydroculture and it allows faculty and student to grow produce in a near-perfect environment.

There are also no pesticides and no worries about too much or too little rain, or whether it’s too hot or too cold. The result: plants grow much faster and much larger. Lettuce, for example, takes up to eight weeks to grow. In a hydroculture greenhouse, it can take as little as four weeks. As for tomatoes, it’s expected that those plants should produce about two and a half tons per year!

“The Hydroculture Garden and Learning Center will enhance the education of CIV students in so many ways,” says Campus Provost Andy Gladstein. “Students will not just read about the benefits of sourcing local ingredients, they will get hands-on experience growing vegetables and herbs that will then be used in class. In any restaurant, the quality of ingredients used is as important as the chef preparing them, and we hope to instill this in our students by making the best possible produce available to them on a daily basis.”

 

Culinary Students Cook Up Dinner for 850 Children

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Students at ECPI University’s School of Culinary Arts, Culinary Institute of Virginia, were busy this morning preparing Shepherd’s pie for about 850 children. It’s all part of the school’s monthly participating in the Kids Cafe program through the Food Bank to feed children in need. Everyone at ECPI University is proud of these dedicated volunteers!