The Saratoga Sun -

Encampment 'steps up to the plate'

Colorado chef teaches south county Pro-Start class about presentation and plating


January 24, 2018

Joshua Wood

Michael Anderson, Reid Schroeder and Sean Stewart contemplate their plates.

Celebrity chefs are everywhere today-from Anthony Bourdain traveling internationally for CNN to Guy Fieri checking out his favorite diners. According to Chef Mike Dries (pronounced drees) from the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, the namesake of the school was the celebrity chef of his day.

Escoffier, who was born in 1846 and died in 1935, was often referred to as the "Chef of Kings" by the French press. Chef Auguste Escoffier, however, is most known for his work to elevate chefs to the status of a respected profession. He also made it a mission to simplify and modernize haute cuisine, or high cooking.

Today, the school that bears his name carries on that same mission. The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, based in Denver, sends representatives throughout the state of Colorado to give students a preview of what they can learn.

"We really focus on the farm-to-table aspect of cooking," said Dries, "we want students to know where their food comes from."

At Encampment K-12 school, one half of that lesson has already been taught to the students.

"This makes it a little easier for me because they already know where their food comes from, so it's just a matter of explaining to them how it gets to the table," Dries said.

Joshua Wood

Riley Little was super creative, using a fork to spread her chocolate and caramel.

While this was Dries first visit to Wyoming (he normally travels around Colorado and Nebraska) it is not the first time Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts has sent someone to Encampment. Encampment teacher Cheryl "Mo" Munroe told the Saratoga Sun that the school has sent other chefs in the past to work with and recruit students.

During his visit Jan. 10, Dries worked with Encampment students on food presentation and plating. After explaining the science and math behind plating, Dries showed students the art of food presentation with simple ingredients: strawberries, brownies and chocolate and caramel syrup.

"I've just made something you'd expect to see in a restaurant with 50 cents of product," said Dries when he finished.

Students lined up to grab plates and supplies before spreading out around Munroe's classroom to work on their own plates. Dries encouraged the students to be original in their presentations.

"If food is art, then the plate is your canvas," Dries told the students.

Munroe's students had no problems taking that advice to heart.


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