Michel Escoffier, great-grandson of the high priest of French cooking, Auguste Escoffier, arrived in Boulder this week to meet students at the newly renamed Culinary School of the Rockies.
Auguste Escoffier, the former chef at the Savoy and Carlton hotels in London, has been called "the king of chefs and the chef of kings." Things like the kitchen brigade system (sous chef, saucier, fish station, vegetable station, etc.) and the white toque, are all part of his legacy. It was Michel's first visit to Colorado since the Culinary School of the Rockies officially changed its name to Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts -- Boulder on June 1.
"The name means something. It means that we're committed to the quality that [Auguste] Escoffier has always fought for," says his great-grandson, who serves as president of the Auguste Escoffier Foundation and Museum in France and is on the advisory board of the Boulder culinary school. "People invite me because they feel that somehow by seeing me and being near me, they can be near [Auguste] Escoffier even more," he adds.
Chicago-based Triumph Educational Group bought the former Culinary School of the Rockies in 2010, adding two professional kitchens and additional administrative offices -- and eventually changing the name. Triumph bought another school, the Culinary Academy of Austin, in Texas, too, which is now the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts - Austin. There are plans to expand further, though nothing has been solidified just yet. "We wanted to take a really solid regional brand [of CSR] and take it nationally, even internationally," says campus director Ken Hause.
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Approximately 100 students are enrolled in the school's culinary arts and pastry programs. There's also a home cook program, which holds both one-off workshops and five-session classes on cooking or pastry.
The culinary school's Chef Track will be slowly phased out by early 2012. The eighteen-week, part-time program, designed to prepare those who want to work in the culinary field but aren't ready to commit to the longer Culinary Arts or Pastry programs, will eventually become two or three separate home cook classes.
One tip Hause and Escoffier have if you want to make it big in the food-service industry? Don't call your customers "guys" unless those customers are really big, burly men. It's too casual for a formal dining setting, they warn, plus, it's not gender neutral.