Eating with James

If a James Beard award is the food world's equivalent of an Oscar, then cooking at the James Beard house must be a pressure-packed night for a chef. For many chefs, it's a step in gaining respect and recognition amongst their peers.

Since I enrolled at the French Culinary Institute last year, I've cooked alongside chefs from all over the country and world who come to the Beard house to cook dinner. I've rolled fresh spring rolls stuffed with lobster, deep fried delicate soft shell crabs, helped plate towering desserts of strawberry tuiles and anything else a chef and his assistants needed help with to pull off a successful dinner. I quickly learned some chefs handle the pressure cool and calmly while others sweat through the three-hour, multi-course meals.

Recently, I had a chance to be on the other side as a guest. Chef Evan Percoco of BOKX 109 American Prime was up for the challenge this time.

As usual, the evening started off with hors d'oeuvres (Nantucket Bay scallops, maitake fritters, prawns with a gremolata and saffron aioli) and flowing bottles of brut rose. But what I couldn't wait for was dinner.

Of the five courses, I still daydream about the bacon and egg dish. It's not as simple as it sounds. First the pork belly is seared on all sides for crispness before it's finished in the oven. Then the egg is delicately poached and cooled before it's rolled in some itty bitty bread crumbs and then quickly deep fried. With a glass of crisp Chardonnay, it couldn't get much better.

The fun you have as a diner is different from one you get in the kitchen. But when food prepared with care, it's something that everyone enjoys in the end.

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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
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            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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            2 Program(s) Found
            • 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).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • 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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            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            4 Program(s) Found
            Auguste Escoffier Schools of Culinary Arts , Online (campus option available)
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
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            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.