Monday, August 30, 2010

Chef Instructor John Murphy Joins CKCA as Evening Pro Instructor

This fall, Chef John Murphy joins the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts as an instructor for the evening Professional Program in Culinary Arts. Chef Murphy has a wide range of experience in culinary education and an exciting history of supporting students in competitive culinary competitions.

Chef Murphy has worked in the culinary profession for more than 30 years. For the last 15 years, he has worked as a culinary educator at Barry Tech Center, a part of Nassau Bureau of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), located in Westbury, NY.

While at Barry Tech, Chef Murphy has been very involved with Skills USA. He has guided five of his students to New York State Culinary Arts Competition's First Place Gold Medals. In 2007, his student finished second at the Skills USA National Championship in Kansas City, MO. He has also been the New York State Culinary Championship’s Cluster Chair since 2004. He oversees four competitions: culinary; baking; table service and food preparation assistant.

Chef Murphy has been an active member of the American Culinary Federation Long Island Chapter since its founding in 1992. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors as long as he has been a member of the chapter as well as having served as treasurer, vice president, and newsletter chair. He has been the membership chair for the last five years. John has been the recipient of many chapter awards including Chef of the Year in 2002.

Chef Murphy continues to hone his skills by working in industry during his down time from school as well as visiting his former students when possible to learn what they now have to teach him. As a culinary educator, he draws from his many years of culinary experience to pass along to students not only the skills for success in the kitchen but also for life. He feels those life skills are the most important things they can learn: teamwork, integrity, organization, respect, compassion and a good sense of humor.

The Jewish Star: It's Date Night: Time to Make Dinner

Editor's note: The below article refers to the Culinary Date Night classes taught by Chef Mark D'Allessandro at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts on August 18 and 19, 2010. A new series of Culinary Date Night courses, including a culinary competition for couples, will debut in December 2010.

It’s date night: Time to Make Dinner

by Stephen Wallach

This article originally appeared in The Jewish Star: Individual and Original Reporting from the Orthodox Communities of Long Island, August 28, 2010.

When you think about going out on a date, some type of food and some sort of activity are involved. A picnic can be romantic, but preparing the meal is rarely the event itself. But that’s what six couples experienced on “Culinary Date Night” recently at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts in Flatbush. My wife and I went with another couple and I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the program. Then again, my first date with Miriam ended with my tie being rung out in an elevator by partners of the law firm where I worked at the time, when I walked in drenched from head-to-toe from our walk in the rain. Life with her tends to be full of surprises.

We filed through a doorway and up a set of stairs to a room filled with a commercial oven, kitchen supplies, and two long metal tables with folding bar stools set in front of cutting boards. Each person got their own butcher knife and the evening was shaping up to be a cross between a slasher movie and a good game of Clue. While Professor Plum and Miss Scarlet were not there, we had our own cast of characters. There was the “pretty” couple, the newlyweds, the pregnant couple, and the couple that was so out of their element. When that wife said she had never tasted lox before in her life, the “pretty” husband asked her if she was really Ashkenaz.

Chef Mark D’Alessandro and his team of sous chefs and assistants helped make this a memorable night. He demonstrated the different dishes in the four-course kosher meal that he had designed. The first course was blini with smoked salmon, where he emphasized the need to make small pancakes, fried just so. Next, for the soup course, an easy but tasty white gazpacho, followed by a demonstration of the deboning of a chicken leg that was then stuffed, seared and cooked. Dessert was a poached pear accompanied by French toast strips, soaked in a coconut cream, alongside caramel sauce and sorbet.

Each couple got to make blinis, the appetizing course, as a way for every one to get into the feel of the evening. We then broke into three teams of two couples each to prepare the next three courses. This is where I began to feel like I was in the middle of a taping of either Top Chef or Dinner: Impossible as 12 people ran around a fully stocked kitchen searching for serving utensils or fresh ingredients in the commercial refrigerators.

Meticulous attention was paid to kashrut throughout the entire class. My wife and the couple we were with were assigned the gazpacho. With some predictable goofs by people working in a rush on a dish they have never made before, working from a recipe that was to be tripled, our course ended up tasting very good and looking good, too. But the pit I get in my stomach during slasher films came back as the four other couples, some of whom didn’t seem to know which end of the knife to hold, were now responsible for the rest of dinner.

When prep time was over, the tables were cleared, cleaned and covered in white linens. Flowers were put on the table and the dishes were set. Each team was now responsible to plate and serve its own course. All of these strangers were able to assume their roles in this choreographed dance, weaving in and out, setting twelve places and serving three different courses. When all was set, we were able to eat.

A night with the potential to be another where I would be rung out in an elevator, or found in a freezer a few scenes ahead in my slasher flick, turned into a pleasant surprise. The food was actually very good. Each course was pretty and tasted good enough to want to have again. At the end of the evening we were able to call this a success. One, the food was good. Two, the experience was one I would probably do again and our friends had fun as well. And three, my date had a good time. I guess I’ll call her again.
If he hasn’t already experienced them firsthand, Stephen Wallach hears most of the stories in “That’s Life” before you do. E-mail for more information about The Center For Kosher Culinary Arts or for future programming.

The original article appears here:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fire Up Your Ovens! New Evening Culinary Arts Course Starts October 3rd!

CKCA's fall evening course in classic Culinary Arts is set to begin October 6th, immediately following the chagim.

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 cooking and committed to expanding his or her knowledge and skill set in an intensive, professional environment.


The dates for the Fall program are as follows;
150 hours
October 3 - February 7th
Sunday and Monday Evenings

Please contact Jesse Blonder at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts for more information and an application at 718-758-1339, or visit The application is also available for download at this link.

Monday, August 16, 2010

CKCA Summer Open House

Thinking about taking a professional or recreational class at CKCA?

Come try a delicious selection of hot and cold hors d'oeurves and canapes (free of charge!) and meet Chef Avram Wiseman as well as CKCA staff and current students of the Summer 2010 Pro-Program in Culinary Arts at our next CKCA Open House!

You can feel free to ask questions to Chef Wiseman, CKCA director Jesse Blonder, or any of the students. They will also be happy to share with you some of the special hors d'oeuvres recipes created for the event, which you will be able to taste for yourself.

The event is on Friday, August 27th, at 12:00pm to 1:00pm. RSVP is required.

To RSVP, please call Jesse Blonder at 718-758-1339.

CKCA is located in Flatbush, Brooklyn, at 1407 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11230. Visit us on the web for more information:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Middle Eastern Mezze: Moroccan Cigars

Moroccan Cigars are a delicious appetizer and a great addition to any Middle Eastern Mezze (sampler or small plates). In honor of our upcoming course, Middle Eastern Mezze, which will occur on Monday, August 23, at 7:30pm (a few spots are still available! Call 718-758-1339 to sign up!), we are sharing the following delectable recipe for Moroccan Cigars.

About this class: "The lightness and emphasis on fresh ingredients makes the cuisine of the Mediterranean and middle east the perfect summer fare. Join CKCA and one of our top chef instructors for an exploration of "mezze" or small plates and tasty nibbles from a variety of countries throughout this region."

Moroccan Cigars

1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pound ground Lamb, Beef, Veal or Chicken
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
freshly ground pepper
kosher salt
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
5 eggs, beaten
1 lb filo pastry (or large wonton wrappers)
6oz margarine, melted

Saute the onions in the olive oil until softened. Add the ground meat and cook until there is no more pink. While cooking, separate the meat with a spatula to avoid clumps from forming. Add spices, and salt and pepper to taste. When mixture is seasoned to your liking, add the beaten eggs and remove from the flame. Mix until the eggs become creamy. It will be slightly wet. Add the chopped parsley to the mixture, reserving a bit for a garnish.

Cut filo pastry lengthwise into a stack of rectangles. Brush the corners of three sides of the first rectangle with melted margarine. Place a small amount (approximately 2 tsp) of the filling along one of the shorter edges (the one without margarine), and roll into a tight cigar, folding in the corners as you go. Brush the end of the cigar with more melted margarine if necessary to secure it and to keep it from opening.

Place unbaked cigars on a non-stick pan or over non-stick foil. Brush tops with melted margarine. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until golden brown. Cigars can also be finished by frying in olive oil until golden brown on all sides. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Yields 20-30 cigars, depending on how much filling you use for each cigar.