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A ‘Meaty’ Lesson with Chef Rachel

As Promise Culinary School students progress through the program, they tackle new units each week on various food types and preparation techniques involving both classroom instruction and kitchen work. Last week, Chef Rachel Weston, adjunct instructor and PCS graduate, led the students through an intensive meat class.

She took a few minutes away from the bustling kitchen to describe how the students incorporate the classroom and hands-on practice into their expanding repertoire of culinary skills.

Jennifer works on her beef stew dish during ‘meat week’ at Promise Culinary School.

“The students are learning the differences between beef and veal, pork and lamb,” Chef Rachel said. “During the first part of the week in the classroom, they learned about the different butchering techniques and cuts for those animals.”

In the kitchen, the students put their classroom lessons into practice by learning proper techniques like frenching racks of lamb, cutting lamb into chops and stuffing pork chops.

The lessons help prepare them for the kinds of tasks they’ll encounter in a restaurant, such as trimming and removing fat, grilling, searing and stewing meats, said Chef Rachel. “They’ll understand what cuts of meat should be cooked in which ways.”

PCS student Jennifer was making a beef stew as her assignment for the meat class. Her fragrant dish was simmering on the stove, enhanced with garlic, bay leaves, onions and spices, as she happily described all the things she’s been learning in the program.

“I didn’t even know what a leek was or a bay leaf,” she laughed.

She said she’s extremely happy with her progress and had some good news to report. She was accepted for a student externship at a rehabilitation facility near her home. The externship is part of the PCS program, but Jennifer said she hopes to work there parttime as well.

“I’m really excited,” she said.