Seriously Fresh

After wishing my Le Cordon Bleu culinary students a fond farewell on Thursday night after their exam, I dashed home to pack my bags and prepare for a brutally early morning flight to Acapulco. One of my best friends was getting married there over the weekend, and my wife and I had been looking forward to this trip for months.

I've been to other parts of Mexico a couple of times in the past, but never as far south as sunny Acapulco, and we were blown away by the amazing heat and humidity as soon as we stepped off the plane. It was a wonderful change of atmosphere after having left the cold, gray, dirty snow-laden Chicago area only hours before.

Mexican food is one of my most passionate loves, and even though our main purpose for being in Acapulco was my friend's wedding, my wife and I were determined to exploit any opportunity that presented itself to eat some delicious local specialties.

Acapulco is obviously an ocean hugging city, so it seemed safe to expect some pretty good seafood, but what we ended up eating was so much better than anything we were hoping for. The life changing experience occurred on our last night there.

We met up with a couple of friends on the beach, and took a little stroll into a small market area that included a cluster of seafood stalls and cevicherias all facing out onto a small concrete plaza set with a dozen or so plastic tables and chairs. We picked the stall whose owner gave us the warmest reception, and sat down in the fading sunlight and soft Pacific breeze of an Acapulco Sunday evening.

We first ordered some very good mahi-mahi ceviche tostadas, and made quick work of them while tipping back a few cold cervezas. Our main course was one of the most dramatic specialties of the area; a whole red snapper, pulled out of the water offshore only hours earlier, butterflied open and cooked "a la plancha", then splashed with a spicy sauce that gives the fish its designation "a la diabla". It was presented in the middle of the table family style, and was simply adorned with rice, thinly sliced onions, and lots of lime wedges. We were also given a basket of piping hot, freshly pressed and griddled, hand-made corn tortillas wrapped in thick cloth to keep them warm and pliable. There were also no fewer than half a dozen different hot sauces on the table, but the hands down winner was the super hot green chilli salsa that was served in a lava stone bowl called a molcajete. It was the perfect topping to the perfect fish preparation. Thinking about loading one of those amazing tortillas with moist, fragrant, spicy hunks of super fresh snapper makes me determined to get back to Acapulco as soon as I possibly can.

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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.
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            • 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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            • 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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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • 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.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            The Chef's Academy , Morrisville
            • Listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
            • Offers intern and externship placement assistance for real-world experience.
            • Offers programs in culinary arts, pastry arts, and hospitality & restaurant management.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF).
            • 2 campus locations in Indianapolis, Indiana and Morrisville, North Carolina.
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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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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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