Spring updates

First of all, I want to wish everyone a happy Memorial Day! And a sincere thank you to any followers of this blog  who have served our Country! 

I know it has been a long time since you’ve gotten an email from me about a new update on here, six months to be exact. Let me tell you, it’s been quite a busy, yet eventful few months for me, maybe some of you can relate. Having a lot on my plate, I found it very easy to put off writing and blogging, even though I truly do enjoy it when I can find the time. So what have I been up to? Starting the new year, back in January, I attended a conference for university chefs, put on by NACUFS, up in gorgeous Santa Barbara. Learning tricks of the trade from local chefs, and industry professionals throughout the west coast. Instantly I fell in love with SB, having never been there before.  To my surprise, that town is full of great local breweries, my favorites were Figueroa Mountain, and Telegraph Breweries. Along with great food pretty much everywhere, as well as amazing farmers markets nearly everyday of the week, it was hard saying goodbye. Also since it was my birthday, I decided to take a road trip up the central coast, and make a few great stops along the way, I highly recommend Firestone Walker brewery up in Paso Robles, as well as the hidden gem Bacon and Brine in Solvang, if you get a chance! 

Delicious finger limes from a Santa Barbara farmers market    Ramen! 

Breaking down cuts of pork.

Not a bad view from UCSB campus


Chocolate, caramel, citrus, and bacon bread pudding! From Bacon and Brine, in Solvang.

This semester, aside from my day job of lead chef for production in the cafeteria, and our ever growing catering and events, I picked up a couple of classes as chef instructor for our culinary program. For the first time one of these included being responsible for the lecture, which in turn meant being responsible for all of the grading, assignments, and homework, all of which has been a great, yet humbling task, to say the least! I still felt the desire to make time for teaching several community education classes as well. This semester we offered several classes, including the popular knife skills class, as well as old favorites like cooking with herbs and spices, and cooking with craft beer! I also included a new addition to the lineup, ” we can quick pickle that” which yes it is a play from an episode of Portlandia. As far as I can tell, it was a success, and the students had a great time, my assistant even mad hats!  

A few end- products from the knife skills class! Not bad for beginners…

  Below: Dukka, an Egyptian blend of toasted nuts, seeds, and spices great for grilled meats. Pistachios, hazelnuts, coriander, and sesame make for a great combination.


Flank steak with chimmichuri and Caprese salad   

  Spiced nuts, balsamic strawberries, savory caramel, over ice cream
The cooking with craft beer class featured several local breweries, including two of my favorites, Barley Forge in Costa Mesa, and Four Sons, located in Huntington Beach.


  Making stout chocolate peanut butter cups!

  Hand pressing fresh tortillas made with beer


Beer battered avocado tacos!

Recipes courtesy of The Beeroness, check out her amazing blog and website!

The Beeroness


Being offered for the first time, we can quick pickle that, showcased several recipes utilizing basic methods of quick pickling using vinegar based brines, and short cooking times.


Pickled asparagus, like a boss!

Mexican style escabeche  bread and butter pickles     Homemade Sriracha! (Recipe in link below!)

Just a heads up, I will be offering several classes this summer, for anyone who wants to learn more about the basics of cooking, as well as a fun day out! 

Also I had to make a couple of changes to the schedule, which are NOT mentioned in the community education booklet that was mailed out, so here are the changes followed by a link to the online brochure.

June 20: Cooking with herbs and spices 

June 27: Basic knife skills

July 25: We can quick pickle that

August 8: Re-discovering Ancient Grains

OCC community education Culinary Classes
Here are some other links you may enjoy! Until next time!

Barley Forge Brewing Co.
Four Sons Brewing
Homemade Sriracha
Bacon and Brine


6 thoughts on “Spring updates

  1. Oh Santa Barbara! I lived there the first 25 years, and my folks still reside there. It is a pretty neat place, huh? Now, on to the Solvang goodie… oh MY that looks like I need some! I’ll have to check it out next time I’m up there.
    I’ve bookmarked your class schedule, since I’m nearby!
    PS: happy belated birthday =0)


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