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DVC Culinary Summer Camp

The Food Service Technology Center (FSTC) hosted an all-day culinary summer camp for high school students as a part of Diablo Valley College’s (DVC) summer culinary program. The students learned about all aspects of running a successful and efficient restaurant operation from proper food preparation methods to energy-saving kitchen habits.
The day began with professional barbequer Tom Sharp from Big Pig BBQ out of Oakley, CA. Sharp gave a cooking demonstration on producing competition-quality ribs using his mobile smoker. Students learned about different smoking techniques and how to produce the perfectly smoked rib.

Back in the FSTC kitchen, students worked with Chef instructors to properly cut and prep chicken. Students then prepared cole slaw and baked beans as sides for their self-made traditional BBQ feast.

After sitting down to enjoy the fruits (or rather meats) of their labors for lunch, students were treated to an FSTC demonstration on fryers dubbed “The Fryer Challenge”. The demo pits two fryers against one another in a battle of performance and throughput: a standard-efficient baseline fryer vs. an ENERGY STAR®-qualified efficient fryer.

French fries were dropped in both fryers simultaneously. After the fries were pulled from both fryers, the students learned that the efficient fryer recovered to frying temperature much quicker than the baseline fryer. Thus, the efficient fryer was ready for the next batch of fries, while the baseline fryer kept struggling to keep up. And, of course, the French fries were enjoyed by all.

Students were then given extensive lab tours from the FSTC’s Richard Young and Chef Dashiell Kiefrieder, which included energy-saving information on everything from walk-in refrigerator door maintenance to lighting upgrades to comparative utility costs of baseline- and energy-efficient appliances.

Kiefrieder gave an in-depth presentation on “Sustainable Food Costing”. He dispelled some myths about sustainable foods and helped to put into perspective the constituent costs of running a sustainably minded restaurant.

Young presented on Energy Efficiency 101 and “Sustainability Beyond the Plate”. He gave an overview of some energy basics like defining and contextualizing killowatts and Btus and how they relate to foodservice operational costs. The students also learned about energy-efficiency’s importance to foodservice operators, their pocketbooks, and the environment.

The DVC summer camp at the FSTC was a fun and enlightening success for all involved. The FSTC looks forward to further work with local culinary school programs to promote energy efficiency and sustainability for the future chefs of the world.