Friday, April 30, 2010

Chef Ritter's Evening Pro Program Posts Highest Class Scores in CKCA History

The winter semester of Chef David Ritter's evening Professional Program in Culinary Arts amassed high test scores and an impressive level of commitment to the gastronomic arts. The class met three evening a week for a total of 150 hours, and ran from January to April 2010.

"They really were a sharp bunch, perhaps the best group we've ever had in terms of work ethic, intelligence and career motivation," said Jesse Blonder, CKCA's director.

Out of the eight students in the class, six of them received scores above the 90th percentile, and while one student withdrew due to professional culinary commitments, the lowest recorded grade was actually a high B+, Blonder said.

"This class was incredibly serious, working hard all the time," said the course instructor, Chef David Ritter, who has taught the Professional evening program four times since he joined CKCA in 2009. "Some students had side jobs and would push themselves to learn the material and get to class, even while Passover preparation had them working excessive hours."

"The student/class 'personality' seemed to mesh better than other classes I've had, and they all communicated with each other outside of class. Additionally, I received many e-mails throughout the semester with requests for recipes and help with catering events. These students were very serious, and were a pleasure to teach. At least half of them already work or are planning to work in the food industry in some capacity.

The students' exams for the semester included five quizzes relating to the material learned in each segment, and Servsafe, the food-service sanitation certificate program which awards a diploma from the National Restaurant Association, was taught throughout the semester as an ongoing lesson, with additional segments of classes dedicated to specific food safety chapters.

"My culinary final exam consisted of a 50-question test and a cooking practical, which were general overviews of the whole semester," said Ritter. The practical exam tests knife skills and a demonstration of the basic cooking technique of how to make an omelette. "My students did very well on these," said Ritter.

Additionally, "The Servsafe exam is a 90-question nationwide exam which the students felt they did very well on. I expect six to seven of the seven students who sat for it to pass this exam," Ritter said.

Four of the students are being placed in culinary apprenticeships through the CKCA Apprenticeship program.

Ritter mentioned that he continues to be contacted by former students through e-mail and cell phone, as they continue to have questions and request advice long after the class ends. As is the case with many chef instructors and student chefs, this relationship is often very important and influential for the student. "It is my pleasure to continue these relationships," said Ritter.

The excellence demonstrated by the class this semester is one of the reasons why CKCA is initiating a merit based scholarship competition this summer, called "The Next Kosher Chef." Visit for the details, which will be released within the next month.

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