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Something’s cooking at STC

POSTED: December 8, 2011 5:28 p.m.
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Chef Jean Yves Vendeville, STC department head and instructor of culinary arts, will demonstrate how to prepare a traditional French Christmas Eve dinner at 6 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Effingham College and Career Academy.

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Effingham, meet Chef Jean Yves Vendeville.

Dec. 15, Savannah Technical College is presenting an Evening with Chef Jean at the Effingham College and Career Academy, which promises an excellent meal and a lot of fun.

“I think the people, they’re going to have a ball,” said Vendeville. “They’re going to have two hours of fun, and they’re going to learn something, they’re going to have a handout. And most of all, they’re going to have a hell of a dinner for $20.”

His very French accent and radiant personality will make you feel like you’re instant friends, and his manicured instruction-style and accomplished career let you know that, in the kitchen, you’re in good hands.

Vendeville, STC department head and instructor of culinary arts, will demonstrate how to prepare a traditional French Christmas Eve dinner at 6 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Effingham College and Career Academy.

Chef Jean’s French traditional Christmas Eve dinner menu includes: foie gras, boudin blanc, sweet bread, roast turkey with chestnut stuffing, gratin dauphinois, white asparagus, yule log and petit fours. He said that because this is an evening with him, he wanted to serve the type of dinner his family ate for Christmas in northern France when he was growing up.

“I’m going to serve something that people have probably never had before,” Vendeville said. “So at least they’re going to have the opportunity to try new things.”

Vendeville, who has been cooking for 48 years, started as an apprentice at 14.

“The passion. The love,” Vendeville said of why he made his career in cuisine. “That’s all it is. Cooking and baking is a never-ending story; you always can improve, you always can do better. The beauty of it for me is to do things to improve. Even in teaching, I always try to do things to get better with my students.”

He worked in the Caribbean, spent 20 years in cooking in Canada and also taught at the New England Culinary School. But he said Savannah his home.

“And I’m going to finish my life here,” he said. “This is where I belong. I love the city, I love Savannah. I never get tired of it. It’s beautiful.”

An Evening with Chef Jean will introduce Savannah Tech’s Culinary Arts program to the Effingham community. In spring 2012, STC will offer Principles of Baking (CUUL 1220) at its Effingham Campus for the first time.

While this course will be offered to those enrolled in STC, Vendeville said he hopes to eventually bring in courses that would be open to the community.

“Pretty much, we’re opening another kitchen because I’ve got a lot of students over here,” he said. “For me, it’s an opportunity also to open in Effingham as well.”

An accomplished pastry chef, this first Effingham course will teach baking and pastries basics. But he said a community course would teach methods of cooking.

“Baking is fun,” he said, “but it’s also a science. Don’t get me wrong, it’s also a science. If you follow very strict instruction, it’s gonna work. The beauty is the final product. It’s nothing to be afraid of.”

Vendeville has been with STC since December 2008 and has led student teams to two consecutive American Culinary Federation (ACF) Southeast Regional Championships – in 2010 in the Hot Food Team competition and in 2011 in the Knowledge Bowl competition. Vendeville recently achieved his ACF lifetime certification as an executive pastry chef. He also holds a lifetime certification as an executive chef from the Chef Association of America.

An Evening with Chef Jean is open to the public, but will be limited to the first 50 who register. The cost to attend Chef Jean’s presentation, along with a tasting and recipes, is $20 per person.

Register by Dec. 13 with Dr. Barbara Prosser by calling 754-5610 or email bprosser@effingham.k12.ga.us. Payment will be accepted via PayPal. Checks should be payable to “Savannah Technical College Foundation.”

STC offers ACF-accredited diploma and degree programs in culinary arts through the Culinary Institute of Savannah. The college currently enrolls 200 students in culinary arts programs.

For information, visit www.savannahtech.edu.

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