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Napa Valley College announces 'Culinary Academy' at Napa, St. Helena campuses

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Napa Valley Cooking School

A food enthusiast takes place in the teaching kitchen at Napa Valley Cooking School at Napa Valley College's St. Helena campus in a 2018 file photo.

The Napa Valley Cooking School is launching an 18-week culinary academy at the Napa Valley College main campus and the Upper Valley Campus in St. Helena.

As college officials have previously said, the Upper Valley Campus will continue its educational mission even as the city of St. Helena prepares to move City Hall there.

The new City Hall is tentatively scheduled to open in March after tenant improvements are complete. Under the terms of the city’s lease, the college will retain control of the separate building where the Napa Valley Cooking School operates.

Hospitality/Culinary/Tourism Management (HCTM) 250 Advanced Culinary is an 11-credit, comprehensive culinary academy, available for the first time in the spring 2023 semester, announced Doug Marriott, senior dean of Career Education & Workforce Development.

The program is aimed at students looking to immerse themselves quickly in the high-demand hospitality industry, with an eye on becoming a fine dining chef or a related position.

The program includes culinary skills, such as knife skills and presentation; development; advanced baking and pastry; restaurant operations, such as costing and catering; global cuisines; and beverages, taught by a diverse panel of culinary professionals.

According to executive chef and instructor Elena F. Sirignano, the program begins Jan. 18 and runs through the end of May. The intensive schedule is three or four 6-hour instructional days a week, with field trips. Three sections of HCTM-250 will be offered at the Napa and St. Helena campuses. Prerequisites include safety and sanitation training or HCTM-100; basic culinary production experience or HCTM -110; exposure to baking and pastry basics or HCTM-111; and experience with hors d’oeuvres, canapes, charcuterie and other cold kitchen basics or HCTM-112. Credit for prior learning and/or industry experience can replace prerequisites by working directly with Professor Sirignano at Elena.Sirignano@napavalley.edu.

“The advanced culinary intensive at NVC is world-centric, geared toward many pathways, including aspiring chefs or baking and pastry cooks, food writers, budding entrepreneurs in food and wine, restaurants or garden-to-table, and more,” Sirignano said.

The Spring 2023 NVC Course Catalog is available at napavalley.edu. The Upper Valley Campus is located at 1088 College Avenue in St. Helena. The main campus is located at 2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway in Napa.

The turkey likes to think it is the main attraction of a Thanksgiving meal, but let’s be honest the sides are the true stars of the show. Here are some popular side dishes that will still taste great even if you cut down on the fat and sugar used to cook them. Buzz60’s Johana Restrepo has more.

12 recipes to add to your Thanksgiving Day feast

This week's recipe roundup is all about Thanksgiving, of course. Whether you're planning your menu from scratch or looking for an interesting side dish, these recipes have you covered.

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If you have your butcher cut up the bird for you, ask for the neck, backbone, wing tips, and giblets, along with a few extra wings for making stock. Also, make sure to have an accurate meat thermometer to test the temperatures of the different pieces. I’ve also included the recipe for my favorite make-ahead turkey gravy.

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The smoky-sweet red chile rub creates a beautiful delicious exterior on roasted or grilled turkey. Make a double batch of the rub; it tastes great on roasted vegetables such sliced delicata squash or cubed butternut or sweet potatoes.

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Sweet and sour in Italian cooking, or agrodolce, has roots that predate the Romans, but credit Sicily— and the North African influence on their cuisine — with keeping it alive.

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When you think about a baked potato, you likely envision a russet or Yukon Gold potato sliced open and piled high with sour cream, chives, bacon, cheese and more. But you can achieve a similar effect with a sweet potato.

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These garlic mashed potatoes are extra creamy, thanks to the addition of both butter and buttermilk. To prevent the potatoes from getting gummy, be sure not to overmix them in Step 2.

Mashed vegetables tend to get cold easily; keep all tools — the ricer and bowl — warm by running under hot water before using.

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The key to a successful Thanksgiving dinner: Plan ahead, then shop and spread the cooking over a couple of days. That way, you’ll have plenty of time and energy to spend at the table with your family and friends.

AP
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 The dates are filled with plant-based bacon to give it that smoky, sweet flavor and stuffed with a rich and savory cashew cheese that you can whip up yourself.

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This last-minute addition to your table is perfect for those of us who don’t have the desire to make anything else from scratch. 

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Enjoy this as a simple dessert with yogurt or ice cream, an add-in to an endive salad, or a side sauce to roast duck or chicken.

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Looks like we are in the season of pumpkin everything. This pumpkin cranberry loaf is a welcoming snack with a hot cup of tea or apple cider.

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You make the graham cracker nut crust and spread it on the bottom and sides of a sheet pan. The rich autumnal-spiced pumpkin custard is poured on top, and it is baked until just done. Best of all, you can make this a few days ahead of Thanksgiving and store it in the refrigerator covered.

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In some areas of the country, especially the South, sweet potatoes make regular appearances at the end of the meal, yet for many of us elsewhere, it’s a surprise to encounter them in dessert form. But they are called sweet potatoes for a reason!

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