Graduating culinary class finishes program with six-course showoff

Carly Jacobson and Carly Jacobson

Before the 16 Graduating culinary students take a bow, they will have the chance to showcase their skills at “Tour De Cuisine” on May 1 in the Campus Center.

With the theme “roots,” students will prepare a six course-tasting menu of dishes that have influenced them in their life, while using local Santa Barbara produce.

Chef Charlie Fredericks, culinary professional and professor for the first and fourth semester culinary students, expects this event to be “the biggest out of all the years running.”

What makes this showcase even more special is that the culinary program is bringing this event back after a 10-year hiatus, Fredericks said.

They also get the pleasure to serve French culinary exchange students, who happen to still be in Santa Barbara during the event.

With a degree from Culinary Institute of America in New York City, Fredericks enjoys teaching the first semester culinary students how to excel in cutting, sautéing, boiling and broiling in lecture and lab classes.

He also teaches the last fourth-semester students how to butcher and how to become a professional in the Gourmet Dining Room. Fredricks has watched these students develop their culinary skills for two years.

“In 10 years, 60 percent of the students will be succeeding somewhere in the field,” he said. “These classes only teach you the bare minimum of being a professional in the culinary business.”

Jessie Beninger is one of the 16 graduating students partaking in the Tour.

“I definitely learned a lot from this program,” she said. “But even after graduation I would like to further my education because the skills attained are endless.”

Students learn most through experience in the restaurant after school, but these “are the most ambitious bunch this year,” Fredericks said.

According to Fredericks, the program started out with about 75 students, and now only 16 remain.

This six course-tasting showcase is the start of the students careers in the business. It will be held in the Campus Center’s cafeteria with 200 people expected. The biggest showcase the students have ever put on, said Fredericks.

“We are looking forward to cooking foods that have inspired us,” said Jessica Kearney, another one of the graduating students.

Kearney further explains how they will incorporate “SLO produce, also known as ‘substantial local organic’ from Santa Barbara.”

Most of the tickets are being sold to the students’ families and friends, but there will be some available to whoever reserves them first for $40.

For those interested in coming, reserve tickets, come at 5 p.m for cocktail hour, and be prepared at 6 p.m. for an event that gets down to the “roots” of taste buds.

– Carly Jacobson is a Journalism 101 student