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Last weekend, I had the pleasure of having one of our editors, Breanne Cooley, and her parents, Leslie and Kevin, in town for dinner. We were joined by several friends of mine, and of course my own family. My father had sprung this upon me roughly two weeks ago, without actually asking me if I had wanted to cook. I was more than happy to oblige them, (after some careful prodding) nonetheless. So off I was reading cook book after cook book, scouring for recipes that would provide a simple yet elegant tasting menu. I wanted an earthy theme to the meal, so that my guests would be comfortable with what they were eating and still excited to try new things.

Armed with cookbooks, I gathered my supplies, and my friends and set up the menu. Eight courses, one after the other, beginning with a smoked salmon tartare, which was a strange but quick hit. As I brought food out, the next course would be prepped in the kitchen, so we had something of an assembly line going. The next course was twin salads, one based with bacon, balsamic, and romaine; the other with chicken salad, cranberry relish, pears and pineapple. Compliments came trickling in, as we continued our marathon meal. Every time I set foot on the outdoor deck I was assaulted by compliments and questions. While my friend Alex continued to work the main course in the smoker, I began the secondary courses.

My sous, Bryant, and I began to prep what was an early hit, our herb-nut butter stuffed mushrooms. A tremendous hit with the guests, and quite a bit of humor we got out of the name as well. As Bryant finished bringing them out, the next big thing came, our apple goat cheese tarts with candied nut topping. I actually got to eat one (which is rare cause I usually never have time do anything more than taste) and it truly was exquisite. After that, the roasted red pepper leek salad in vinaigrette.With each course that was served, I grew more and more fatigued. My strength was fading, but I knew I had to continue! Finally, it became time for the final dishes.

My Carolina-BBQ rubbed smoked pork loin was a treasure. Just beautifully smoked, juicy, tender. How its supposed to be. We served this sliced, along with potatoes stuffed with rosemary wrapped in prosciutto. The real finale was the figs. Ah, such a beautiful poached figs in port and peppercorns, topped with just a little candied peel zest. I sometimes amaze myself. This was one of those times. I needed perfection, and I needed a drink after it was all over. I’m ecstatic that everyone came and I was able to treat them to such a meal.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
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            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
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            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
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            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
            • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
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            • A contemporary, career-focused institution of higher education dedicated to excellence since 1902.
            • Has academic advising that provides students someone to answer questions and provide guidance.
            • Offers scholarships for qualifying military members, adult learners, as well as program-specific scholarships.
            • Provides tutoring services to help students master any assignments that give them trouble.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
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