Early Exposure

If you've read any of my previous posts on this site, you probably already know that I'm an instructor in the culinary department at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. I love food. I love cooking food. I love eating food. That wasn't always the case, though. As a child, I had what could be called limited exposure to the astounding diversity of cuisines available in this great city. For my family, going out for Chinese was about as daring as it got. For that reason, I try hard to instill a sense of cultural and cuisine related adventure and curiosity in my students; the more they taste and experience, the more knowledgeable and appreciative they'll be, and the better their cooking will become. For that reason, I created and continue to mentor a student club at the school called the LCB Ethnic Lunch Club. Once a month or so, I take a group of students to one of Chicago's authentic ethnic restaurants to expose them to a new cuisine and food culture. It's always a lot of fun, and usually very delicious.

My wife and I try to take a similar approach to how we raise and feed our children. Our five year old daughter, Delilah, is a great eater, already a veteran of such delicacies as caviar, foie gras, gravlax, sushi, curries, and smoky barbecue. Our 18 month old son, Jake, is a work in progress, and tends to drift in and out of various likes and dislikes according to how much pain the teething process is causing him that day. Today was apparently a good, pain free day for Jake; at least I think it was judging from the success of the cuisine exposure adventure I subjected him to.

After dropping his sister off at school, Jake and I saddled up and headed to a Mexican market on the north side of town called Supermercado Morelia. I had some inside info from a past student that I would be able to find fresh blue corn masa there, so the hunt was on. Morelia is pretty much a quaint little Mexican market not unlike the hundreds of others scattered around Chicago, but they did have a few cool things you might not see elsewhere. First of all, they did have blue corn masa, vacuum packed and refrigerated. Grabbed a bag of that. They also had jars of beautifully chunky, inky huitlacoche; a mushroom like fungus that grows from the kernels on an ear of corn and goes by the alternate names of corn truffle or corn smut, depending on who you ask. Took a jar of that. Then Jake and I noticed their hot, prepared food area, and ended up grabbing a pound each of amazingly tender and porky carnitas (big chunks of pork gently deep fried in lard until it's almost ready to fall apart) and chicharones (crispy fried pig skin) simmered in a spicy tomato salsa. A bunch of cilantro, a couple limes, and a wedge of good Mexican melting cheese rounded out our cart, and it was time to get back to the homestead to make lunch.

Needless to say, the blue corn masa quesadillas filled with huitlacoche and topped with carnitas, chicharones en salsa roja, cilantro, and lime were incredibly delicious. Whether or not Jake was able to appreciate the authentic flavors of one of the world's greatest cuisines, who knows. But he did sit relatively still for at least ten minutes, asking for "Mo' pees" (more, please) after each and every bite, and that's pretty good for a kid his age.

Featured Culinary Schools

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
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.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
Le Cordon Bleu Schools of North America , Online (campus option available)
  • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
  • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
  • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
  • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
  • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
  • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Offers more than 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
  • Profiled in many publications such as The Boston Globe, Fox Business, and  Inside Higher Ed.
  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
  • Accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
  • Founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania    
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses