November 21, 2013

Spotlight on Farm To Table® Experience

Spotlight_on_Farm_To_Table®_ExperienceLast week, our May 2013 Culinary Arts cohort wrapped up their three-week Farm To Table® Experience on campus with a roundtable, which they hosted themselves and invited the farmers they worked with in the course.

The Farm To Table® (FTT) Experience Roundtable takes place on the last day of the three-week Farm To Table® Experience. After the students have been divided into groups of between three and six and sent on assignments to local farms and ranches, they come back together to discuss their experiences. Some will not have seen their other classmates for the three weeks, and there may be locations only visited by a few of the students.

Their roundtable discussion lets them share these experiences, talk about what they liked, what they did not like, what they learned and how they feel this experience will impact their future food and ingredient decisions in the restaurant industry as well as at home. FTT partners who hosted the group are also invited to join in the discussion, and typically three to four of them make time to stop by. This allows for further in-depth discussion among the students, the farmers and Chef Instructors. All of this takes place over a student-prepared locally sourced (primarily from the farms they visited and worked) meal.

We asked future chef Cesar Herrera how he felt about the experience. Here’s what he had to say!

Escoffier: Cesar, did you enjoy the Farm To Table® Experience?
Herrera: Yes – I loved every moment of the Farm To Table® Experience! It was an eye-opener for sure. I found a new respect for farmers and realized that they have a hard and rewarding lifestyle with many challenges, but also many rewards. It’s humbling to put yourself in a farmer’s shoes.

Escoffier: What was your favorite part?
Herrera: I really enjoyed getting to spend quality time with my fellow students. We are so close to the end of school and the program has progressed so quickly. I’ve loved every moment. All that fresh air really brought us together as a group.

Escoffier: Did you learn anything from the Farm To Table® Experience and from the roundtable with the farmers?
Herrera: I found a deeper respect for what I am choosing to do as a career! I really believe that it’s up to future chefs to give back to the world by always demanding to serve the best and most locally sourced product we can find. The Farm To Table® Experience really opened my eyes and brought my experience with the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts full circle. Farm To Table® is our way of life…