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April 19, 2013
Contact: Scott McCaskey or Audrey Knoth at 757-625-2518 at Goldman & Associates, or at: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Casual Gourmet" Serves Public's Expanding Culinary Interests
-- Innovative New Cookbook Club Series Hits the Spot --
From Sushi 101, Pizza from Scratch, Make Your Own Ice Cream, Thai and Indian cuisine to a new book club-style Cookbook Series, a local culinary instruction program has
seen enrollment double in three years. More than 600 people enrolled in Casual Gourmet in 2012, and 200 have already signed up for classes this year as the public looks to
improve their at-home cooking skills.
The new book club style Cookbook Series, where people review and share works of renowned chefs' and then experiment to create their own recipes, is part of innovative
instruction driving growth.
"Casual Gourmet was a Christmas gift from my husband and I took the Cookbook Series Bon Appetit, Y'all," says Virginia Cameron, a Chesapeake resident. "I learned new cooking
techniques, met a lot of nice people and created and ate some amazing Southern food. The classes were informative and comfortable, with people from a lot of varied backgrounds
and levels of cooking skills."
Casual Gourmet is the recreational division at ECPI University's School of Culinary Arts, Culinary Institute of Virginia (CIV) in Norfolk, VA. The program offers the public a
broad variety of culinary classes taught on-site in the same facilities where students earn degrees and by the same professional chef instructors.
Casual Gourmet's new Cookbook Series began in January and is quickly growing. Works such as Bon Appetit, Y'all: Recipe and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking
by Victoria Willis and Julia Child's Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking are among books selected for review. Class participants
are encouraged to interpret and create their own recipes. Troy Camacho was recently appointed Director of Casual Gourmet.
"We examine and share opinions and questions with the goals of replicating or adapting recipes, being creative and having fun," says Camacho, who added the cookbook series to
the roster of classes. "The most common response from home cooks has been that they never would have tried the recipe on their own, and that is what I like to hear. To grow both as a
chef and home cook, it's important that we experiment with new ideas, techniques and recipes."
Camacho grew up sharing kitchen duties and learning recipes as part of his family's passion for cooking. Many of his relatives worked or went on to work in the restaurant business.
Camacho chose the U.S. Navy, but after retirement, he turned to his culinary roots and his dining experiences abroad to start a new career. After working in numerous capacities at
restaurants along the east coast, in 2010 he enrolled at CIV where he graduated magna cum laude with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts. He returned in 2011
to teach at Casual Gourmet.
"Raised in the kitchen, I find it particularly enjoyable now to help like-minded home cooks learn," says Camacho, 45, a Chesapeake resident. "Casual Gourmet is very hands-on, with a
lot of personalized attention and something for everyone."
The Casual Gourmet program and its Cook Book Series are expected to continue to expand as people look to eat better and healthier at home, manage their dining costs and follow the
cooking shows in the media. "You roll up your sleeves, learn, prepare, cook and eat," says CIV Campus Provost Andy Gladstein. "Casual Gourmet is not just observation and tasting; it's
very thorough and participants find it very fulfilling."
Casual Gourmet classes are held from 6 - 9 p.m. weekdays and range from one to three sessions. Courses cost from $60 to $120 each. More information is available at: www.chefva.com.
Upcoming Casual Gourmet Classes
May: Global Cuisine, Mexican; Holiday Hors D'oeuvres; Sushi; Pizza from Scratch; Cookbook Series, Jacques Pepin Fast Food my Way (part one).
June: Pasta 101; Cookbook Series, Jacques Pepin Fast Food my Way (part two); Global Cuisine, Cuban; Cooking Fundamentals; Grilling 101.
The Culinary Institute of Virginia offers a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Food Service Management,
and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts. CIV also offers programs in Baking and Pastry Arts, along with its Casual Gourmet
recreational division. CIV is located at 2428 Almeda Ave. in Norfolk, VA.