While I am on an everlasting diet, I also work hardly on excuses why to interrupt it. This time my excuse is DACA, the Dumaguete Academy for Culinary Arts. While I was sitting in Casablanca teaching German, Culinary Instructor saw me and asked, if I would be willing to be one of the judges. I asked when, and she said in an hour. That would be 11.00 in the morning, and perfect, as by accident I started the German lesson earlier as usual and therefore was perfectly in time to judge some food. It must be a sign by the great Flying Spaghetti Monster, that we started early, so I can eat some culinary delights.
The DACA 4-Day Marathon
I was judging at DACA before, however, this time it was all a bit different. On my previous appearances, each student cooked alone to the level of their ability, education and semester. This time they had to create a 3-course menu, go shopping within a budget and run the whole kitchen, like a sous chef would do. One of the difficulties was, that the other students were the brigade, so the levels were very different. Some were at DACA a year, others a few weeks and days. All that had to be considered by the young chefs in their planning and execution. They were not only judged on the food presentation, flavor and texture, but also on their leadership, cleanliness, teamwork and timely manner. Of course, I can not judge their work completely, as I went there 15 minutes before serving time only, but I could see if the kitchen is clean, who is in command, is all coordinated and do I get served at the time I was told.
DACA Exam – A Week of Culinary Delights
While I was asked to judge the exam, I was thinking about some good bite to eat for lunch this day, just to find out, that for the next 4 days are eight individual cooking sessions, two a day and I am forced to eat daily a stunning 3-course meal at 11.00 am and 3.30 pm… and that for 4 consecutive days. Making a long story short, I rescheduled all my other tasks and sacrificed my waistline, skipped all diet-plans and put a triple-layer of masking tape on the display of my scale.
I need to admit, that I highly enjoyed the creations of the DACA students. Many of them were just extreme delicious and well balanced. While there is almost always space for improvement, the skills and techniques shown and presented to me were just superb. It is very obvious that there are passionate and international culinary instructors and real experienced chefs teaching and not some weirdos like in some other cooking schools I visited around here, where the teaching staff thinks sprinkling sesame is the high level of culinary arts.
DACA might be more expensive, but at least students, who are willing to learn have the options to do so on an international level, to satisfy picky eater. For cooks of many other facilities here in Dumaguete will still be a open spot at Mooon Café Silliman and other high praised places, where many times stuff is served, that would not even qualify as dog food or would bring you a nice article here… I just hope some of the DACA students have the chance to follow their dream and I can eat one day in their restaurant. Dumaguete needs some quality Restaurants, not another of those “Good enough” Rip-Off places.
Bottomline, if you look at the pictures, the mighty Flying Spaghetti Monster sent a sign and I heard the call. The wisdom of his Noodlness shined on me and put me at the right time into the right spot, to DACA to judge the delights and creations of the students of the Dumaguete Academy for Culinary Arts.