Moraine Park students and instructors give a behind the scenes look at Fondue Fest 2010

by speitz22. September 2010 11:07

A little more than a week after the excitement of Fondue Fest 2010, Moraine Park Technical College Culinary Arts students and instructors took a moment to reflect on the event and offer a behind the scenes look at preparations involved with the festival. According to Tom Endejan, Moraine Park Culinary Arts instructor, a student committee was formed last year for the planning — creating a schedule for the week of the festival to produce all the cookies, cake, bread and fruit needed for dipping.

Loaves of bread were cut into cubes for the cheese fondue. Checkerboard cookies, chiffon and sour cream pound cakes were prepared and cut for the chocolate fondue. Endejan planned the actual production of the bakery items but the students volunteered their time to do the work. The 1,700 cookies took eight hours to prepare while the 16 full sheet pans of cake took four hours. The 150 loaves of bread, made the day before Fondue Fest by the Artisan Breads class, took a little more time than usual as it was the students first time learning to use the industrial mixers.

The Culinary Arts team ended up serving approximately 2,300 portions of fondue – a total of 70 gallons. Cheese was the most popular, outselling chocolate about two to one, according to James Simmers, Moraine Park Culinary Arts Instructor.

Simmers explained the process of making the fondue. “The cheese fondue starts off as a cream base and we add paprika, garlic, onion and let it boil. We then remove it from the heat and add cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Removing the cream from the heat ensures that the cheese does not curdle,” Simmers described.

Making chocolate fondue is a similar process but the only ingredients involved are butter, chocolate, cream and vanilla. Simmers added that chocolate is mixed in only after they boil and cool the butter, cream and vanilla to avoid curdling, similar to the cheese fondue process.

The cheese used by Moraine Park students was donated by Grande Cheese Company.  Nancy Witkowski, executive assistant to the president and manager of community relations at Grande Cheese is very pleased with the partnership between Grande and Moraine Park. “We appreciate how well Moraine Park culinary students and faculty handle our products,” said Witkowski. “Fondue Fest allowed both Moraine Park and Grande Cheese to display their efforts to the community through a combination of quality products and production.”

“The students had a lot of practice and there was a lot of teaching going on,” said Endejan about preparing for and serving customers at Fondue Fest. “The one-on-one contact with people at the festival had a profound impact on the culinary students. Overall, the feedback was very positive and this really is a great experience for new students. It is good for them to see the rubber meet the road in terms of preparing and serving food in such a public venue.”

The Culinary Arts Club will use the money raised from the fondue to help pay for a trip to either the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago or to Germany, both experiences prepare students to go out into a world that is increasingly global, especially with food.

Endejan and Simmers are already planning for next year’s Fondue Fest. “We’re looking for options to use the 2,000 pound record breaking fondue pot next year,” said Simmers.

For more information on Moraine Park’s Culinary Arts program visit www.morainepark.edu/programs.

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