Monday, December 28, 2009

CKCA Grad Matt Turchin Takes First Step in Sushi Career

A Pasadena native and current Queens resident, our own Matt Turchin (pictured left), a CKCA Culinary Arts Grad (Summer '09) has finished his internship at Prime Grill, and entered the workforce in the sphere of his chosen field: Sushi!

Matt is thankful that his experience at Prime Grill did great things for his knife skills, since he spent most of his day working in the underground prep kitchen. He said Prime Grill also is responsible for helping him to understand the inner workings of a fast-paced professional kitchen.

You can now visit Matt at the SoHo Dean&Deluca (560 Broadway), but his employer is actually a 'Kaiseki-style' five star Japanese restaurant called Rosanjin Tribeca. "They lend some of their sushi chefs out to a few high end markets to run the sushi department there. I was hired to assist the sushi chefs in their preparation of daily menu items, and to ensure the smooth running of the station, including dealing with customers.

Since Matt's training at CKCA also included preparation for the Servsafe and DOH food safety exams, he found that his certificates in these areas allowed him to take on an additional responsibility in food protection.

"I was also hired to be the food safety manager for the station, as rice and raw fish represent serious potential health hazards if not dealt with properly," Matt said.

Matt works six days in a 40 hour week, from 7am to 3pm.

"Being a sushi chef assistant is the first step in the long process of training as a sushi chef, but I'm up for the task. Working at the store is great, because I am exposed to high quality food products which I would otherwise not have much chance to experience," Matt said.

Matt reported that the store in Soho attracts lots of rich and famous people, and he has had a chance to meet a few, including Jeffrey Steingarten, food critic for Vogue magazine and judge for Iron Chef America. "He is just as grumpy as he seems on TV by the way," Matt said.

Matt occasionally has had to field some amusing questions; "The other day a girl, holding a spider roll at arms length, and with an expression of mixed disgust and curiosity, asked me if it contained real spider. A fair question I suppose, though she might have asked the same about the dragon roll, or wondered why the California roll didn't taste like hippies and movie stars," Matt said.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

CKCA Contest Results

Thanks for everyone's participation in the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts Facebook Group and Newsletter contest!

We are really happy that so many people have chosen to join our Facebook group and our newsletter mailing list, and we look forward to seeing each and every one of you soon at one of our classes! Feel free to check out our winter schedule at You can also visit our Baking&Pastry Arts blog at, and our culinary arts blog at

And now on to our winners!!!

Congrats to our Grand Prize winner Jenny Shidler from Denver, Colorado, and two Runner Up Winners Yael Colman from Far Rockaway, NY and Miryam Heisler, from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Jenny wins the $2000.00 scholarship toward the pro course in Baking&Pastry this winter.

We hadn't planned to offer runner-up prizes but, due to so much popular support, CKCA decided to grant runner-ups Yael and Miryam $1000.00 scholarships. All scholarships are for the January 2010 Baking&Pastry program and are fully transferable!

Again, congrats to all winners and thanks for everyone's awesome participation!

Happy Cooking and best regards from

Jesse, Elka, Liz and all your friends at

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Manhattan Beach Flambe Alert!!!!

CKCA Culinary Arts Alum (Summer '09) Esther Mendelevich performed a demonstration of Bananas Foster at a Manhattan Beach fundraiser for B'nai Raphael, a food pantry. (In the photo above, Esther is on the bottom right, the only one not in chef whites!)

Esther is a personal chef with a company called The Kosher Gourmet. With Esther's services, "staying home never tasted so good."

We are proud of Esther's work and we congratulate her very first filmed demo. Watch it here!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Afternoon and Night Programs in Kosher Culinary Arts Starts 1/4/10

The Center for Kosher Culinary arts is proud to offer a professional level training programs in culinary arts.

This is the only kosher program of its kind in the US.

Classes are open to men and women ages 16 and above and appropriate for anyone who is passionate about food and looking to expand his or her culinary knowledge and skill set in an intensive, professional environment.


We will be offering two sessions this coming Winter

Evening, part-time:
Sun, Wed, Thurs
6:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Jan 4 - April 22

Day, full-time:
Mon - Thurs
2 pm - 6 pm
Jan 4 - March 11

For more information and to request an application, contact Jesse Blonder at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts at 718-758-1339, or visit!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Desserts Ablaze in Kew Garden Hills!

Last night, at a Chanukah party for the sisterhood of the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva in Kew Garden Hills, CKCA student and Minneapolis native Miryam Heisler gave a demonstration of her awesome flambé skills to 250 women. According to all accounts, everyone loved it!

Miryam demo'ed the flambé classic Bananas Foster. "Thanks to Chef Wiseman [Miryam's instructor at CKCA], it was a very successful demo: The flipping technique worked well, and the flames nearly reached the ceiling! Each lady got to taste the flaming bananas with its delicious syrup over a mini cup of vanilla ice cream."

Miryam reported that the energy in the room was great, with lots of audience participation in the demo. "Some ladies even shrieked when the alcohol ignited," Miryam said.

In short, the event was a tremendous success, and the "ICING ON THE CAKE..." was when a CKCA graduate came up to the table to greet Miryam, and there was a great sense of comraderie! (Editor's note: It was Esther Wilansky, also from Queens, who is a chef for severel Ohel Bais Ezra locations. Esther took the Culinary Arts pro course in 2008).

Congrats to Miryam on a terrific first "gig!" Happy Chanukah!

And hey, don't forget to find out about the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts' awesome newsletter contest! You can learn how to win a $2,000 scholarship here!

Learn more about the professional culinary training programs at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts at

Monday, December 7, 2009

Win Big Money for CKCA Classes!

It's that time again! With so many exciting things happening this winter at CKCA, it's time to increase the size of our newsletter! We know everyone has at least one friend who might like to know about us and our programs.

So, we are asking YOU to help us increase our newsletter's size. In return, the person who refers the most friends who join the newsletter, will win their choice of a gift certificate for $500.00 for CKCA recreational courses to be over the course of the next year, or a $2,000.00 scholarship toward the Professional Baking & Pastry program starting in January 2010. The prize is fully transferable to another student but must be used entirely by one person. The Pro Baking prize cannot be used for any other semester other than January 2010. Neither prize is refundable.

Here's what you have to do to win: Ask your friends to sign up for the CKCA/Happy Home newsletter by having them send an email to ( They must write YOUR full name and hometown in the subject line or body of the email. The person with the most valid emails sent with names and hometown will win! (P.S. The contest is running simultaneously on Facebook, so join the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts group to find out how to enter the contest on Facebook).

With three 150-hour courses starting the week of January 4th, there's now a class for every kind of schedule. The Pro Program in Kosher Baking & Pastry is now being offered in the mornings, and you can even take Pro-Culinary by fitting it into your evening schedule. Call us at 718-758-1339 or email for more information! You can also visit us on the web at

The contest will end at 12 noon on December 21,2009.

Happy Cooking!

Jesse, Liz, Elka and all your friends at CKCA