Atlanta

Chef Daryl Shular wants to rethink how cooking is taught—and who’s leading the kitchen – Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia 2021-10-28 15:31:03 –

Darryl Schuller

Photo by Ben Rollins

On a refreshing night in June, 18-year-old Ashley Casasora was in Tucker’s busy kitchen watching the Desert Station carefully at a fundraising event hosted by the Atlanta branch. Redam Descofie International— An organization of female chefs who provide opportunities and scholarships to young cooks and entrepreneurs. As Afrobeat and reggae add to the mood, Casasora and other ambitious cooks have prepared a menu inspired by lowcountry cuisine.

Casasora became interested in cooking from an early age after visiting a family in Guatemala and wanting to learn to recreate their cooking. At Meadowcreek High School in Gwinnett County, she participated in a culinary education program with her own bistro. This is a rare educational opportunity for everyone, especially for colored students in the working class community. A member of the team that won first place in a high school cook-off last year, and now a freshman at Georgia State University, he is studying hospitality management with the help of a scholarship from Les Dames. Meanwhile, Casasora has her own up-and-coming dessert business, Ashley pastries..

Schuller Institute Atlanta
Ashley Casasola apprentice at the Shular Institute’s on-site restaurant Kitchen + Bar.

Photo by Ben Rollins

Schuller Institute Atlanta

Photo by Ben Rollins

Schuller Institute Atlanta

Photo by Ben Rollins

She faces a professional situation that can be challenging for young people trying to enter the business. Cooking is just one of the skills a chef needs. Budgeting, time management, and vendor relationships are also needed. Especially for those who want to lead the kitchen or do their own business. However, culinary students often do not have the opportunity to acquire those skills until they graduate. “The ratio of traditional cooking schools is 16: 1, and students will probably work on one dish and get grades in line to pass that dish to the instructor, says Atlanta chef Darryl Schuller. “They do it for two years and leave with a $ 40,000 student loan debt. Then they are expected to enter the industry-ready for the first day.”

Shular wants to extend the tools aspiring chefs have when they get a job and bring a wider variety of professional rosters into the industry. In 2019, he Schuller InstituteAn educational program designed for those who have attended a culinary school or are studying the art of hospitality and cooking at a degree-granting university, such as Casasora. Located in Tucker’s office park, the institute aims to keep student costs low through grants and scholarships. We also provide hands-on training as part of the regular curriculum. Farmed kitchen + barThe stylish on-site restaurant serves seasonal dishes such as corn noodles, okra and swiss chard in beef bowls spiked with pea hummus and coriander.

“Chef Schuller gives you the opportunity to solve problems that you have to do in the real kitchen as people are waiting for you,” said Casasora at the Redam event in June. She is currently a pastry-focused restaurant apprentice. In addition to cooking, Farmed students perform logistical tasks such as managing restaurants, seating patrons, and waiting at tables. “They are facing customers, feeling the pressure of ticketing machines and being forced into strategy, innovation and communication,” says Shular. “They will be the Navy seals in the hospitality industry.”

Schuller Institute Atlanta
Shular, the first certified African-American master chef, has a long career in both cooking and culinary education.

Photo by Ben Rollins

Schuller grew up in Auburndale, Florida, where he helped his mother peel potatoes in the kitchen, trim snap peas, and watch him make coconut cakes for sharing with his neighbors. After graduating from high school in 1993, he moved to Georgia and studied cooking at the Atlanta Museum of Art. He wrote his resume for the next 20 years, worked as a chef at the DoubleTree Hotel and the Atlanta Athletic Club, and won a gold medal in 2008 as part of the American team at the IKA / Culinary Olympics. He also taught at both his alma mater and Le Cordon Bleu Culinary College, where Schuller became director of education in North America.

Schuller’s crown jewel is his certification as a master chef. He was the first African-American chef to achieve the distinction, currently held by less than 100 people. The Master Chef exam, managed by the American Culinary Federation, is notorious for being held over many days. “When I took the test, there were 11 of us,” Shular said. “Two of us have passed.”

To start his institute, he brought together a team of educators, including a former student, Simone Byron. For Byron, cooking is a family deal. Her brother was food writer Dennis Malcolm Byron, also known as Yale Sharpton, and her grandfather was the head chef of a cruise ship owned by Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line. When Ashley Casasora participated in the fundraiser in June, Byron, who led the Meadow Creek cooking program initiated by Casasora, greeted each student with a hug.

“In our community, the art of cooking is not considered a lucrative industry. People think it’s just manual labor,” says Byron. “In Europe, becoming a chef is a very rewarding profession, just like doctors and lawyers here in the United States. Europe’s attitude towards culinary arts has a huge impact on men, especially white men, and dominates the industry. The epidemic of white men in control of many professional kitchens can make it difficult for color students, especially those with a worker-class background, to see themselves in the profession. I have. Byron calls these “low-income and likely communities.” Students only need to touch on career options and see examples of what is possible. She believes that students from a historically excluded population are likely to make progress as hospitality employers seek more diversity from the top down.

Schuller Institute Atlanta
Evelin Castro Lozano apprentice at Farmed Kitchen + Bar.

Photo by Ben Rollins

Like Casasora, 19-year-old Evelyn Castro Rosano received a Redam scholarship. A student apprentice at Shular while studying hospitality management at Georgia State University, she fell in love with cooking from her mother, the oldest of her five children, who worked as a family-supporting restaurant server. I did. She wants to open a modern Mexican bistro. “I learned how to manage inventory and how to manage it. [point of sale] The system minimizes food waste, “says Castro Rosano. “It’s really good to know every aspect of a restaurant, because you don’t have to pay someone to teach you how to run a restaurant.”

In addition to her restaurant dreams, Castro Rosano also plans to work to eradicate food deserts. Shular and Byron want their students to think big. “We want to make Shular one of the most prestigious cooking programs in the United States,” says Shular. “I want to make it Harvard, a cooking school.”

This article appeared in the October 2021 issue.

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