Pittsburgh Technical Institute (PTI) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially announce the opening of the American Academy of Culinary Arts (AACA) "where great chefs prep." More than 200 chefs, general managers, food-service directors, restaurateurs, and hoteliers attended and tasted hors d'oeuvres prepared by AACA's new students. The first class has 35 chefs in training who are pursuing either a 15-month certificate or a 21-month associate in science degree. Students will study under the direction of internationally acclaimed chef Norman Peter Hart, a member of the American Culinary Federation and the exclusive Honorable Order of the Golden Toque.

According to Chef Hart, AACA will deliver a strong foundation in culinary fundamentals, including precision knife skills, mastery of the five "mother sauces," basic cooking methods, sanitation, and professional development. "Once we've established our foundation, AACA students are immersed in the distinct, diverse world of American cuisine," said Chef Hart. "We will prepare students to think and act like a professional chef, then explore, innovate, and experiment with fresh interpretations until graduates have mastered a revolutionary approach to American culinary arts."

Chef Norman Peter Hart points out the brand new equipment in the a la carte kitchen, one of two in the Culinary Arts Center during the grand opening of the American Academy of Culinary Arts at Pittsburgh Technical Institute.AACA's educational facility, the Culinary Arts Center, is a 5,500 square-foot space located on PTI's campus on McKee Road in North Fayette, Pa. The center houses two teaching kitchens, hot and cold storage areas, and a dining lab and features the latest in culinary technology, including state-of-the-industry combination and convection ovens, specialized stoves, and All Clad professional cookware.

PTI President Greg DeFeo pointed out the need for trained culinary professionals and the warm reception from the local industry.

"Living Social recently reported that the average adult eats 4.8 meals in a restaurant each week. The National Restaurant Association reported that there are 24,628 eating and drinking establishments in Pennsylvania," DeFeo stated. "This aligns with what we are hearing from our AACA advisory board and employers who already have called  our graduates. There is a growing need for culinary professionals throughout Western PA."

BBQ Pulled Pork and Smoked Cheddar Cheese Biscuit Sliders and Lime Hummus with Ginger Pickled Carrot on a Toasted Pita Chip are on the hors d’oeuvres menu prepared by students in the first class at the American Academy of Culinary Arts.

"The AACA student has the distinctive advantage of PTI's long tradition of preparing career-motivated students for the American workforce, our campus housing and student life programs, and the commitment of an experienced team of career services professionals," said DeFeo.

AACA students will benefit from an in-field internship, a cooperative learning experience between the American Academy of Culinary Arts, and the professional culinary community. A network of culinary professionals supports AACA and helps guide the development of curriculum, professional development projects, and internship sites.

AACA students mingle with members of the hospitality industry including chefs, general managers, food service providers, wholesalers, restaurateurs, and hoteliers as they serve mini cakes to guests at the grand opening of the American Academy of Culinary Arts.  
According to Chef Hart, the AACA experience is designed to reflect the formal apprenticeship programs available during his own training years. "Our training is deeply connected to the American dream," said Chef Hart. "From owning and operating the classic American diner to working as an executive chef for a five-star establishment, the American Academy of Culinary Arts will provide graduates the skills they need to become the great American chef."

American Academy of Culinary Arts
For more information on this program, visit www.aaca.pti.edu.


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