college of culinary arts

college of culinary arts

From fondant to food labels, alumni promote quality ingredients and good nutrition
Magazine 0509 Culinary 260x186


Baking Bread Together
Since meeting in a culinary class in 2000, Michael Gates Rickard ’02 and Kate (Link) Rickard ’03 got married, had two sons and opened their own business — Rickard’s Wholesale Bakery. Gates already had a degree in philosophy and psychology and Kate was studying pre-veterinary medicine and English. Both ended up in JWU’s baking and pastry arts program after working in the field and realizing their love for the art.

After interning in Europe and living in Boston, Mass., plying their trade, the couple moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 2004. With the birth of their second son, money became tight. Kate baked wedding cakes and made chocolates for extra income. When a local grocery chain showed an interest in selling their homebaked breads, Gates switched his shift as a pastry chef at Slice of Life restaurant to dinner, and after hours, churned out baguettes and specialty loaves.

Before long their breads were selling out regularly at the market and local restaurants were calling with orders. By May 2008, the couple moved the business into its own space. In high seasons they now average more than 2,500 loaves a day along with pies, cookies and desserts, and sell to 35 outlets on the island.

The Rickards are also busy holding baking classes. “We’ve done two bread classes, a cookie class and gingerbread houses,” says Gates. “Anything we can do to get more knowledge out there about good breads and quality products helps our business.”
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Magazine 0509 Culinary 170x150A Dose of Healthy Advice

As a registered dietitian at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Aventura, Fla., Tracy Wilczek ’04, R.D., L.D. is all about healthy living. With a bachelor’s in culinary nutrition from JWU, a master’s in clinical nutrition from New York University and a license in dietetics and nutrition, she puts her knowledge to good use for Pritikin clientele.

During the clients’ stay at the residential spa, Wilczek gives them the tools and knowledge needed to lead a healthy lifestyle when they leave. Her methods include lectures on dining, menus and “Cooking Like a Pritikin Chef.” Wilczek also takes clients to a local Whole Foods Market® and teaches them how to read food labels. “We promise our guests they can pick up any packaged good and evaluate it in 10 seconds or less… They feel so much more comfortable going to the store and actually knowing what to look for on the label,” she says.

Wilczek urges diners to ask questions about items on restaurant menus, specific ingredients and cooking methods. Ask for substitutions and alternative preparations — broiled rather than fried. “When your health is a priority, you have to be in control of what you’re eating,” says Wilczek. “Every opportunity to eat is an opportunity for good nutrition.”
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quick take

Janna Gur, author of “The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey,” presented a lecture and cooking demonstration at the Providence Campus in March. The book was a finalist for the 2009 National Jewish Book Award.