Friday, January 22, 2010
University of Richmond Cooks Up a Winning Formula
For the past 12 years, the University of Richmond has offered culinary classes through their School for Continuing Studies. UR's Center for Culinary Arts offers a wide range of programs from the comprehensive CAP Certificate, a 42 hour program that includes 4 core courses ranging from Tools of the Trade to Chef's Skills and Bakeshop Basics etc, 4 electives, and a Certified Executive Chef Review. They largely cater to a home-chef audience (about 90% of students) with industry folks making up the rest. Martin Gravely,local chef and food writer, runs the program with the assistance of Pastry Chef Tom Parfitt
Corporations also use the space for team-building events during business hours (one client was interestingly using the cooking theory "mise en place" to help their team understand the importance of being prepared in the office for a major project) and they also run a popular wine & dine program that is more demo than hands-on.
About 2000 people a year come through the center’s programs, with most classes in the evenings between 6-9 pm and some on the weekend.
I had the pleasure of visiting their newish working classroom kitchen off Gayton Road in the west end and saw firsthand their beautiful facility and shared a wonderful meal.
These are the highlights from lunch:
Homemade Panko-crusted Queso Blanco with charred cherry tomatoes, basil chiffonade, and a roasted tomato coulis (They use non-homogenized milk from Homestead Creamery for their cheese)
Seared scallops with beurre blanc and pancetta with a pretty beet garnish
Pepper crusted filet mignon with a Madeira jus, roasted brussel sprouts with a Dijon caraway vinaigrette and roasted shallots topped with a nest of fried potato strings
Lemon Meringue tart with ginger blueberry compote (they talked about this dish as being a great learning tool- allows students to learn several techniques- a sucre crust; tempering- adding eggs to lemon without curdling; meringue .....)
If you are a home chef looking to sharpen some of your kitchen skills, or with an organization looking for a great teambuilding activity, UR’s Center for Culinary Arts is a great option.
For more information visit them online at