Whether pursuing a life as a professional cook or a behind-the-scenes mover in culinary arts and restaurant management, the students at JNA Institute of Culinary Arts have honed their craft with professionalism and skill for more than 20 years. Students learn real-world lessons in a demanding professional setting, from running a kitchen to pleasing food critics with menus sung in four-part harmony. JNA shows off the fruits of these labors at its onsite restaurant, where the food is both prepared and served by students. The restaurant boasts a seasonal menu, gracing plates with items that have ranged from housemade gelato to cornmeal-dusted scallops.
The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College provides culinary instructions to students who wish to work in fine dining establishments and the hospitality industry. As part of its program the school offers trips each year to regions of the world that are known for their food and wine. Past trips have included the Tour of France, the Hospitality Tour of England and the Hospitality Florida Resort and Cruise Tour. The school teaches students everything from the most practical aspects of the job to secrets of the industry. Students can receive an Associates Degree and Bachelor of Science degree in Pastry Arts, Culinary Arts, and Restaurant Management. The Associates Degree program is 18 months long and must be successfully completed before a student can sign up for the BS degree program. Requirements for admission include a high school diploma or GED, a goal statement, SAT scores, your high school transcript, letters of recommendation and a personal interview. The school is located at 4207 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, PA.
The food at Drop Squad Kitchen has soul, despite its complete lack of meat. From black bean-and-wild rice burgers to mac and cheese, the dishes at Drop Squad Kitchen feature healthy, tasty ingredients designed to appease both stomach and conscience alike. The mother-daughter duo behind the restaurant have a grand vision to overhaul the typical American diet dependent on meat products and accidentally swallowed gum. To share their culinary vision with others, the Drop Squad Kitchen staff holds regular cooking demonstrations, each of which tackles a different cooking style or topics ranging from southern style comfort food to raw vegan.
Star Career Academy is staffed by many instructors who work at the academy's eight campuses. Students can also learn from professional chefs, such as Francesco Martorella, who specializes in incorporating unique ingredients in ethnic dishes, and earned a nod as one of the city's best new chefs. Star Career's offers training under a variety of umbrellas, from the culinary arts to medical services, including training for medical assistants, paramedics, and dialysis technicians. Founded in 1979, the academy has evolved to offer other programs, too, such as cosmetology and hospitality management.
Little Hands Art Studio's owner and teacher, Jessica Heisen, equips budding artisans with the supplies and know-how to explore their own creativity with delectable results. Heisen’s classes for adults, children, and intergenerational duos guide students as they bake cupcakes and top them with decorations such as fondant, mini marshmallows, frostings in piped pastry bags, and cookies hit by a shrink ray. Beyond the regular classes, Little Hands hosts private birthday parties for youngsters and, on Thursday and Sunday nights, grownups-only workshops, which encourage participants to bring their own wine and mingle as they create pastry art that reflects their inner muses’ 401(k)s. The studio also teaches children how to whip up afternoon snacks such as pastas and muffins, and conducts occasional beading and other art classes.
Philadelphia calls Madame Saito the Queen of Sushi, and it's easy to see why. Armed with formal culinary training from Le Cordon Bleu and the Ritz Escoffier in Paris and experience from apprenticeships under premier Tokyo sushi chefs, she has committed the last 26 years to spreading her love for Japanese culture and contemporary fusion cuisine. Although she leaves time in her schedule to manage Tokio Sushi Bar—her sushi restaurant with French culinary influences—, The HeadHouse Cafe, and to conduct an annual sushi-making competition, Madame Saito counts education as one of her highest priorities. She regularly commits her quadrilingual tongue to demystifying the art of sushi during classes for aspiring chefs and casual students alike, teaching them how to hand roll maki and slice fish into perfectly uniform dodecahedrons.