We would like to wish all our Mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day this May!
Welcome to our May 2020 edition of What’s Cooking in your Kitchen!
How Instagram can be used to grow your business
By : Cheryl Nesbitt
I am sure like most of you, we have spent the last month in a lockdown or some form of restrictive stay at home situation. What has been great to see is how many people have rekindled their love of cooking and especially how many have been cooking with their children. This is an incredible life skill and I have many fond memories of cooking and baking with my mother and grandmother in their kitchens as a young girl
This forced stay at home time has given me lots of time to spend with my children, partner and as well as doing lots of home cooking and baking. It has given me an opportunity to go over my notes I made at last year’s IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Conference which was held in New Mexico USA. Realizing how many of us have spent endless hours on social media during this time, I thought it may be a good chance to share some of the tips we received from a successful Instagrammer during a presentation titled Instagram 101. These tips are aimed at those of you who have an Instagram page and use it for business purposes or to showcase what you do.
Instagram is primarily used to grow and attract business.
- If this is your main aim, you should spend some time checking out your analytics. This will give you great insight into your page’s success.
- It’s a good idea to Highlight your story and then post it to your home page.
- Send people to your business website from Instagram
- How often to post? As often as you can as it soon goes down low into someone’s feed.
- Use #’s on every post. Save the most often used #’s in your notes on your phone and then you only need to copy and paste them each time you post. You can use a maximum of 20. Often people use these in the comments section as well. The use of #’s gets you a higher ranking in the algorithm which in turn means more people will see your post.
- Ask questions in your content, this increases engagement.
- Respond to everyone’s comment if possible.
- Ask new users who engage with you to follow you.
- Type to the person who liked your posts and invite them to follow you.
- Like, Comment on similar accounts and #’s.
- Use Geotags to get people close to you to know about you.
- Plan to spend at least an hour per day if you want to see excellent results.
- As Instagram is a very visual social media tool, use your photos well. You can add filters, learn how to photograph for best results using your phone and then maximize the visual to suit your mood and style.
- Many Instagrammers use a particular style and mood for their photos, and they become known for their particular style. So, play around and look at some successful social media people to help create your identity.
- There are essentially three types of photos that work well. 1 – from directly above, 2 – from a 45-degree angle and 3- horizontal. You can always tilt these afterwards.
Hopefully these tips will inspire you to improve your Instagram skills and please hashtag International Culinary Studio when you do so we can follow and share your culinary creations too.
Should you wish to know more about what we do, please email Cheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org
Take Part In Our Mothers Day Competition
Enter Today, To Stand A Chance Of Winning!
Competition closes at midnight on Mothers Day, and the winner will be announced on Monday, the 11th of May 2020
To stand a chance of WINNING, you simply need to:
- Complete your details on this form: http://eepurl.com/gotZ7T
- Post a picture of your Mother’s Day cake creation on the Competition post, on our Facebook page
Click HERE To View The Facebook Post & Share Your Picture
Andy is our Group Executive Chef at International Culinary Studio. His phenomenal journey as an Executive Chef, Master Chef Judge, Personal International Diplomat Chef, and the Caterer to Nelson Mandela. From humble beginnings as a 15-year-old waiter in a family restaurant, this is the stuff dreams are made of and are a testament to the endless possibilities available to qualified Culinary professionals.
“Do you want to put together a special dinner party after lockdown is over. I am looking forward to spending time with one lucky participant, planning and preparing that unforgettable dinner party menu.”
Student Life at International Culinary Studio
Read about one of our students currently studying NZQA Level 4 with us
Sarah is 20 years old, from Waimate in Timaru and currently working towards her NZQA Certificate in Cookery Level 4. She spoke to us about her experience training online so far, and her advice for other students keen to follow in her footsteps.
What do you enjoy most about training online with International Culinary Studio?
It’s so convenient. I can fit my training in around everything else that I’m doing, and there’s no waiting around either. I had previously done some hospitality study through a job – it was like an apprenticeship – but you often had to wait a long time for an assessor to sign each piece of work off. It held things up and got quite frustrating. It is much faster and easier through International Culinary Studio. I like learning as I go and being able to progress at my own pace.
I’ve enjoyed all of the modules so far, I love that the NZQA Certificate is so comprehensive. We’ve studied a wide range of cooking techniques, from stocks and sauces to egg dishes and puddings. I think it’ll stand me in really good stead, whatever I decide to go on and do within the industry.
How do you stay on track with your training – with the course being online?
I thought studying online would be hard but I’m really enjoying it. At first, I was a bit worried that it would be hard to stay motivated and that I’d let myself down, but it hasn’t been like that at all. I set a goal of completing 1-2 assessments per week. If I get through more, then that’s great but if I can only manage one, that’s ok as well. I complete as much of the theory as I can throughout the week and then do the practicals on my day off, usually organised to fit in around dinners.
The mentors have been very useful, and I’d recommend making full use of them while you’re studying. They’re always happy to answer questions and to provide guidance. It provides valuable support, especially with the courses being online.
Have you always wanted to work in hospitality?
I did a lot of Home Ec classes when I was at school and then went on to take some polytechnic classes. That’s how I got into my first job. Apart from that, I’ve always cooked at home and with my family, and enjoyed it. I’m working in a pub while I’m studying – mostly behind the bar but I would like to spend some more time in the kitchen.
What would you like to do with your qualifications? What is your dream career?
For the time being, I’m going to go with it and see where it takes me – I don’t have a particular place in mind. As long as I’m working in hospitality, especially on the cooking side, I’ll be happy! I will probably look at spending some time overseas in the future, maybe working on cruise ships. The great thing about hospitality training is that you’re not restricted. The qualifications can take you anywhere. I’m excited to see the path that they take me on.
For more information on the NZQA qualification that Sarah is working towards, click this link.
Let’s find out about the founder and the start-up of International Culinary Studio.
Article by Cheryl Nesbitt:
A little bit about the background of ICS.
Myself and Chef Andy started the business in 2016, it has taken us 4 years to get to the point today where I believe we have a world class online Culinary Arts learning system. We were the first online Culinary provider with City & Guilds(UK) registration, the first in New Zealand with programme approval to offer level 4 and 5 Certificate and Diploma in Cookery as a fully online offering. We are also the first Private Provider in New Zealand to have the World Chefs Association Approval. (WACS)
My background to set the history: after growing up on a farm in South Africa , I started cooking and baking on my own by the age of 5, then went to school and decided to become a teacher, I later qualified in hotel management through Protea Hotel Group and part of my apprenticeship programme was working in the kitchen for the first year.
Like many other people in the hospitality industry, I started working in the industry when I was 15. My mother reminded me, it’s a man’s world you are entering so you have to study and work harder than the men in order to be accepted in your field. So I did – coming first as a trainee in the largest hotel chain in Africa and later became a deputy GM of a hotel at age 20. My fellow students on my apprenticeship remain my best friends to this day and one of them subsequently worked for me for many years. Having been a child and teenager serial entrepreneur, I went on to start a Catering company at the age of 22 and sold it at the age of 28.
Then again after working in education for the next 7 years, I started Capsicum Culinary Studio from my home kitchen with 4 students. I sold this business 14 years later to a listed Education provider, and at that stage, I owned the largest private culinary college in Africa with 6 campuses, 13 training kitchens, 85 permanent employees, training well over 1000 students as professional chefs each year. We also had more than 1-3rd of the South African Chefs Association members as students and we had committee representatives in each region from a large team of lecturers. This is how I met chef Andy who was Chairman of the WC Committee. At one stage Capsicum also had the most City & Guilds Culinary Qualifications awarded annually across the globe.
Apart from winning numerous business awards a highlight of my career being invited to Harvard Business School for a High Impact Entrepreneur Programme… I made it to Harvard University but my passion has remained in education and specifically culinary education. I have met with over 100 chef colleges globally in about 16 different countries and drawn from all of their expertise.
Our website which I invite you all to take a look at – www.internationalculinarystudio.com – shows our range of course offerings along with our associations globally and our accreditation’s. Our student learning system which is world class is constantly evolving and has incredible functionality. Teaching is student led as opposed to instructor led and our students never miss a lecture as they can watch the training videos over and over. We really bring our classroom to your kitchen.
I am sure Julia Child’s actually invented the concept of home study for chefs by following her Le Cordon Bleu textbook, I think ICS has added the chef instructor in your home or work kitchen as an improvement. Our LMS can be accessed via a smart phone, Ipad or Computer and checkpoints completed anywhere, anytime. It can be voice activated to read to you as well as translated into 104 languages using Google Translate. This includes Maori.
Although I have been researching online as a future in education for Culinary since 2007, when there was no one in the world doing it, more and more people join the online education world daily, we average around 6-10 inquiries globally daily and this keeps on increasing. It’s estimated that in the next 3 years online education will be worth over $150 billion. We have signed our first deal with a training provider who has rights to the whole of Africa and their first intake started on the 15th July 2019. We can enrol student 24-7 365 days a year and they can study when it suits them.
We are currently talking to colleges in Australia, Korea, Nepal, Malaysia, United States, UK and India to launch our system with their branding.
Why do we keep doing this you may ask:
For the 62 year old grandmother who has been a cook her whole life working in commercial kitchens, who dreams of having the title chef, for the 28 year old who suffers extreme anxiety in a classroom but comes into her own in the kitchen, for the 36 year old engineering salesman who together with his father dreamed of opening an Italian Restaurant and whose father passed away unexpectedly recently and now he wants to honour this dream. For the young woman from Wanaka who spent her life savings on a food truck only to realise she did not know how to work out the food costs. For the working mother from Christchurch who worked night shift packing shelves at the Warehouse to be present for her young children during the day, who now is a qualified Pastry Chef and runs her own cake baking and decorating business from home. This is how we make people’s Culinary dreams of a Qualification a reality.
Meet Chef Ken
Ken Thompson has been a Chef for the past 43 years. He brings a wealth of experience that our students will most certainly benefit from.
A few highlights of Ken’s career:
- Worked in a Michelin Star Restaurant in London, UK.
- Has worked as a chef globally across Europe, The Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
- A Level 6 Competition Judge.
- Taught for over 17 years in colleges across the countries.
- Coached many winning student competition teams.
- Won Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals at a number of competitions globally himself.
- Catered in a team of chefs for a function for Princess Anne.
- Life Member of the New Zealand Chefs Association.
Ken has a passion for the youth entering into the culinary world and has made an impact on so many culinary professionals’ lives. We are excited for him on our team and to share the amazing culinary knowledge he has.
The Food Expiration Dates You Should Actually Follow
(This is an excerpt taken from an article published recently)
The first thing you should know? The dates, as we know them, have nothing to do with safety. J. Kenji López-Alt explains.
With most of us quarantined in our homes, chances are you’ve been reacquainting yourself with the forgotten spices and fusty beans from the depths of your pantry. But how fusty is too fusty? When is the right time to throw something out? And what about fresh ingredients? If I’m trying to keep supermarket trips to a minimum, how long can my eggs, dairy and produce keep?
Here’s the first thing you should know: Expiration dates are not expiration dates.
Food product dating, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls it, is completely voluntary for all products (with the exception of baby food, more on that later). Not only that, but it has nothing to do with safety. It acts solely as the manufacturer’s best guess as to when its product will no longer be at peak quality, whatever that means. Food manufacturers also tend to be rather conservative with those dates, knowing that not all of us keep our pantries dark and open our refrigerators as minimally as necessary. (I, for one, would never leave the fridge door open for minutes at a time as I contemplate what to snack on.)
Let’s start with the things you definitely don’t have to worry about. Vinegars, honey, vanilla or other extracts, sugar, salt, corn syrup and molasses will last virtually forever with little change in quality. Regular steel-cut or rolled oats will last for a year or so before they start to go rancid, but parcooked oats (or instant oats) can last nearly forever. (Same with grits versus instant grits.)
To read the full article click on this link HERE.
Ready in: 55min
1 package frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
2 teaspoons white sugar, or as needed for dust
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with a silicone sheet.
- Separate dough at the seams into 4 squares and place on prepared baking sheet. Score the dough all over with the tines of a fork to prevent it from rising too much when baking. Lightly sprinkle dough sheets with white granulated sugar.
- Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and 3 sheets of aluminium foil. Nest another baking sheet on top to apply some pressure to the dough while it bakes.
- Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes; remove top pan and foil and gently peel off the parchment paper. Return pan to oven and bake until pastry is beautifully browned, 10 to 15 minutes. (Optionally, you can bake about 7 minutes after uncovering, then flip sheets over and bake until brown on the other side, another 7 minutes.)
- Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely before cutting.
- Square the sheets by trimming uneven edges off sheets using a sharp serrated knife with light sawing motion to keep the pastry from breaking. Cut each rectangle crosswise into 3 equal smaller rectangles. Use 3 small rectangles per pastry.
(Vanilla Pastry cream)
Ready in: 2h 30min
1 large whole egg
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean
4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
- Place whole egg and 2 egg yolks into a mixing bowl. Add sugar, corn starch, and salt. Whisk together completely until mixture turns from yellow to a very page creamy colour and is slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Place milk in a saucepan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape the cut side with a paring knife to extract the seeds (paste). Add the seeds to the milk. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until milk just barely starts to simmer and a few small bubbles appear on the surface. Remove from heat. Whisk hot milk into egg mixture, starting with a small splash then incorporating the rest. Pour mixture back into saucepan.
- Place pan over medium-low heat and continue to whisk until mixture begin to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool 5 minutes. Add chunks of butter and whisk until butter melts into the warm mixture. Pass mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Cover surface with plastic to keep it from discolouring; refrigerate until thoroughly chilled 2 to 3 hours.