We are so excited to start blogging about the great new programs, events and food coming to Park City Culinary Institute! Stay tuned…..
I was expecting a restaurant deep up a narrow canyon overlooking Alta. It was actually much easier to find Shallow Shaft, as it was just across the narrow road from Alta Lodge my first stop in town many years ago. I must have arrived in a snowstorm that night because when the shuttle dropped me off I had no idea there was anything else around. That’s how Alta feels, dark, open, a window to wild mountains. What a great surprise to learn there was a restaurant worth a visit just across the road from it. Even better, we were early for our reservation so we had an opportunity to have a drink first at the Alta Lodge.
Some of my favorite places for dinner are the ones with an interesting watering hole across the street. Robataya, in New York, serves Japanese food across from a sake bar called Decibel. Al di la, a well-loved restaurant in Brooklyn serves Italian food across from a French bistro, named Moutarde which is perfect for a glass of wine. Popular restaurants work well with good bars near them, having a place to wait makes it a lot easier to tell a customer they have to wait for an 8:30pm reservation. Knowing that we were going to have time to stop at the Sitzmark for a drink before dinner was a treat.
Sitzmark is a prohibition style bar hidden on the second floor of an inconspicuous hallway at the Alta Lodge. Opening six years after prohibition ended in the 1930’s, most people skiing at Alta wouldn’t even know it was there. Despite the secrecy, USA Today named it one of the “10 great places for apres ski” in North America. The aroma of spicy hot cider welcomes you as soon as you arrive, so we started with that and some whiskey. Their ginger ale tap wasn’t working so they suggested we try Sprite with Angastura bitters instead. A great twist with whiskey, going to try that one at home.
Our table at Shallow Shaft, which we were told was the best in the house, was ready so we climbed many stairs, crossed the street, and climbed many stairs again. High up overlooking the groomers who were shining their lights on Alta, we were seated at Peri’s table. Immediately I knew we were in good hands. It is rare to find a server who knows as much about the food as the Chef. He introduced the specials as if he had cooked them himself, not stumbling over a single ingredient or preparation.
The wine list we were handed was unusual. Neither Sean or I recognized any of the names, except for a few favorites that we knew we liked. From the few we recognized, it was clear the list was carefully selected. From the wines we didn’t recognize, I could tell the wine was being special purchased from outside of the State-controlled liquor supply. Takashi does this to have great sake. And it was impressive to see Shallow Shaft doing this too. Not only were they special ordering, but they arranged the wine menu in a very easy to read fun way. Each page only had about a dozen specially selected wines. There were French wines, then a page simply to include “interesting” wines. Absinthe was on a page by itself, and we watched the ceremony at the next table. It turned out our server was actually the sommelier, and had been working with Chef Kurtis Kraus since Metropolitan.
The menu included a list of local purveyors, that went beyond the usual. Sean ordered a potato soup and the steak and I had trout cakes and fried quail. The best dish was the potato soup, which was hearty with fresh green vegetables and perfectly cut carrots in a small square bowl. There were some other tasty bits on top for flavor and texture. The food I ordered was good, but I think the restaurant was going too far to appease Utah diners. One or two trout cakes would have been perfect, serving four was a bit much for an appetizer. Seeing Quail on the menu was a great surprise, but frying it reduced it from a special treat to an ordinary, if tasty, chicken dinner. The special Sean ordered was a Steak Oscar, which included fresh crab on a steak served with bearnaise sauce. The steak was good, and right away, I was impressed with the preparation of the broccolini, perfectly cooked and probably blanched to enhance its natural color.
Not long from now Shallow Shaft will be renovating. Curious what they do in their terrific location. I know each time I return to Alta, I’ll be hoping to stop at Sitzmark and Shallow Shaft because I can’t imagine a more perfect way to end a perfect day.
March 15, 2014
Scenes from another incredible PUREfourhundred culinary event we were proud to be a part of. Stay tuned for details about their next dinner in August.
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We occasionally offer short classes, but it’s hard to learn how to cook from a three hour program. You might learn how to make a certain dish, but that won’t necessarily give you the tools you need to create your own dishes. Our program is designed to very quickly teach you everything you need to know, so you can make anything you want to make… even things you didn’t think you could make. It takes time to learn how to work with meat without a recipe, what to do to bring out flavors in sauces, to get faster using your knives, build the natural flavors from vegetables and fruit. We meet four days a week, from 9am to 3pm. By the time you’re done, you no longer need recipes except maybe for inspiration. If you just want a few hours, you can sit in on one of our classes for $50. But those visits are just a taste of what a two-month immersion program can give you.
Food and wine lovers,
Wine Coordinator Peri Ermidis and The Shallow Shaft Restaurant in Alta, Utah are pleased to welcome back wine maker Jon Grant of Couloir and Straight Line Wines. A close friend of the restaurant, Jon returns with several vintages near and dear to his heart and our wine list! Jon specializes in handcrafted, vineyard designated Pinot Noir with a singular sense of place and time. The winemaking is deliberately minimalist; the intention is to support the wines while they convey their unique place of origin, vintage and variety.
A former wine store manager at Snowbird Ski Resort, Jon’s passion for mountaineering and skiing brought him all over the world. Before starting his own labels he worked in the cellars of many of Napa Valley’s top wineries, including Turley Wine Cellars, PlumpJack Winery, Corison Wines and Robert Mondavi Winery.
Chef Kurtis Krause will be offering a five course meal designed to showcase Jon’s variety of Pinot Noirs. In addition to three distinct Pinot Noirs, we’ll be pouring his Straight Line Tempranillo and Sauvignon Blanc. Please see the attached menu for all the details.
Jon will be on hand to introduce each wine and answer any questions. Dinner starts at 6:30pm on Wednesday, February 25th. Cost is $95 per person ($45 for food, $50 for wine pairings), with additional glass pours available.
Winner of Salt Lake Magazine’s “Best Wine List” in 2011, The Shallow Shaft is Alta’s only independent, fine dining restaurant. Overlooking the Town of Alta and Alta Ski Resort, our dining room offers stunning views of the Central Wasatch. Chef Kurtis Krause, formerly of The Metropolitan, offers a regional cuisine celebrating Utah’s abundance of quality products. Influenced by the unique flavors of Asian cuisine, our New American fare is both adventurous and comforting.
Please respond with any questions, we’d love to see you join us for this special event!
The contact is: Andrew Walter, General Manager
The Shallow Shaft Restaurant
Have any of you ever tasted Frody’s foods? Our culinary students were able to go visit his “lab” at Salt and Smoke and learn how to cure meats and make charcuterie. After touring the lab, they were given a tasting of some of his amazing creations!
Enjoyed them all!
Should your kids take a gap year before college? The New York Times reports even Harvard endorses a gap year, because “students who take time off tend to do better academically.” We have two alumni who are starting college now, not only with a great gap year behind them, but the skills to earn money while in school.
If you’re considering culinary school, you likely have aspirations of owning or running a restaurant, possibly as an executive chef.
The question is, will a formal culinary education make it easier for you to realize your dream?
If you’re willing to accept any job in the restaurant industry, you probably don’t need to spend the time and effort to go to culinary school. But if you want a successful, long-term career as an executive chef or chef-owner, a formal culinary education can give you a leg up on the competition.
Culinary School versus On-the-Job Training
If you ask some of the world’s best chefs, they will tell you that getting a restaurant gig and trying to learn on the job is risky at best.
Go to a culinary institute, however, and you will learn many important skills quickly, and you’ll learn them the right way. You will learn from experienced, professional chefs, but without the pressure of an operating commercial kitchen.
On this subject, internationally renowned chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud said, “I think culinary schools are indispensable to a young chef who really wants to make a career in that field.”
Culinary School Ensures You Have the Right Skillset
If you start your journey to becoming a chef with an entry-level restaurant job, you’ll learn much more slowly — if at all — because a professional kitchen is a fast-paced environment, not a teaching environment. It’s not easy to learn critical skills while someone is yelling at you to move faster and not make any mistakes.
Also, anything you learn in the restaurant environment will be through the lens of just one chef.
In culinary school, you will have the time to learn the basics. You will learn knife skills, fundamental cooking techniques, the science of cooking and baking and how to work with fresh ingredients.
And if you choose a culinary institute that has a working commercial kitchen, you will also learn the finer points of how to work in a restaurant.
Choosing the Right Culinary School for You
Not all culinary institutes are alike. Vocational schools will prepare you to work in the school cafeteria kitchen, but probably not in the career you envision.
Consider the high-end but personalized experience offered by an independent culinary institute. Choose an institution that is committed to teaching technique, skill and science, but with a focus on results. Finally, look for a program that is reasonably short and affordable, so you can get out there and get started with your career.
In Salt Lake City, Park City Culinary Institute offers the type of program you need to prepare for owning your own restaurant or food truck, or working in the hospitality industry as an executive chef. We invite you to schedule an appointment for a complimentary culinary career consultation with our expert team. Contact us today to schedule your tour of our facility and to learn more about how culinary school can launch your chef career.
The answer depends on what you hope to achieve. If you want to develop the foundational knowledge and skills required to work as a chef or own your own business — restaurant, food truck, catering, etc. — culinary school is a wise place to start.
If you want to expand your palette and learn about new types of cuisine, you may want to take one or more cooking courses or classes. Of course, you could do both!
What Do Cooking Classes Offer?
Cooking classes are designed to be fun! They are a great way to enjoy a night out, have a new and unique experience, or taste an ethnic cuisine you haven’t tried before.
These courses are scheduled as single sessions. Expect to be exposed to new recipes, ingredients and flavor profiles.
Cooking courses or classes provide a balance of learning and social interaction that can be both fun and educational.
What Does Culinary School Offer You?
While a one-off cooking class might teach you how to make a specific dish, culinary school teaches you why the recipe works. One-off cooking classes can only scratch the surface. Culinary school opens up the world of food science and technique.
You begin to understand why recipes are written the way they’re written. And soon, you can throw out the recipes and develop your own dishes.
Certain basic techniques drive professional chefs. No matter how many recreational classes you take, you will only be working with part of that craft. It takes longer than a 3-hour class to dig into the art and science of cooking. In fact, many of the techniques taught at culinary school go beyond what you will see in most restaurants.
If you want to build your repertoire of flavors, ingredients, sauces and methods, attending a culinary institute like Park City Culinary Institute will prepare you with a robust range of skills you can put to use in virtually any commercial kitchen setting.
Choosing a Culinary School or Cooking Classes
Many potential students are new to cooking and don’t have any experience. Other students have worked in a kitchen for several years, or even own their restaurant. Small classes make it possible to work with a variety of different skill levels.
Maybe you want to learn only the savory side of the culinary arts, or the skills necessary to be a pastry chef.
In northern Utah, the Park City Culinary Institute has something for everyone. We offer both day and evening programs in the culinary arts, including a full professional certification program.
We also offer cooking classes in a variety of subject areas, from sushi to cake and candy-making. Whatever you want to learn, our state-of-the-art institute can help. Contact us today to learn more, or to request a schedule of our upcoming cooking classes and certificate programs.
Going to culinary school has become the dream of many Americans who are ready for a career change. But because few of us could leave our jobs to go to school, you may worry that you can’t do both.
Fortunately, you can keep working your regular job while you learn the skills necessary to make your dreams a reality. Whether your goal is to get a job in the restaurant industry, to open your own restaurant or food truck or polish your existing skills, Park City Culinary Institute can help.
Can I Attend Culinary School in the Evening?
You can attend classes either during the day or in the evening, depending on the program you choose.
Although it may sound like an arduous schedule working during the day and attending culinary school in the evening students find themselves so engaged in the learning process that the time flies by.
And as you only have classes three evenings per week, you will have plenty of time to handle your other obligations at home, with family and friends, etc.
How Long Does Culinary School Take?
Prospective students are delighted by how quickly they can get a professional culinary certification.
If you attend classes during the day, you can get a pastry certificate in four weeks. If you go in the evening, you will finish in six weeks.
For a cuisine certificate, a day course takes six weeks while an evening course lasts nine weeks.
If you want a full professional certificate in the culinary arts, you can complete the program in 10 weeks of daytime classes or 15 weeks of evening classes.
Are Evening Classes as Good as Day Classes?
Courses taught by well-qualified executive chefs give students the advantage of learning from seasoned professionals with current, real-world knowledge and experience. This means that students attending courses in the evening receive the same level of expertise as those who go during the day.
The curriculum includes a wide range of topics ranging from knife skills, meat, seafood and sauces to the basics of food science. Students learn both classic and innovative techniques to ensure their skills will be relevant in any facet of the industry.
Park City Culinary Institute understands the passion that moves you to make a career change. Whether you dream of becoming an executive chef, a chef/owner, pastry chef, food truck owner or caterer, our hands-on certificate programs will give you what you need to succeed. Located in Salt Lake City, our facilities offer a world-class experience for students from around the world. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary career consultation or to enroll in one of our culinary school programs.
Director of Admissions, Donna Miller, can be reached at (801) 413-2800.