Secchia students spend a week learning about cheese

A Secchia Institute for Culinary Education class taught by Chef Bob Schultz recently studied the process of making cheese at Grassfield Farms, an organic farm in Coopersville.

“We go out to the farm on a Monday and spend our whole class time there,” Chef Schultz said. “Then on Tuesday, we review that process and start talking about how other cheeses are made by using the exact same ingredients — well, not the exact same ingredients, because the milk will vary depending on what type of milk we use and what culture and rennet we use, but, all in all, the same ingredients.

“On a Wednesday, I will show the students how to make fresh mozzarella by using fresh buffalo curds. We turn the curds into cheese and I will demonstrate different variations on how to use fresh mozzarella. They learn how to stuff it and make different rolades (for example) out of the fresh mozzarella. Then on Thursday and Friday, I will demonstrate and talk about how to take ordinary cheeses and products and transform them into attractive cheese platters for an hors d’oeuvre party.”

Following the week of cheese making and demonstrations, Chef Schultz holds an “Iron Chef”-style cheese competition.

“I’ll split my class up into groups and they walk into class seeing an array of cheese, fruits, nuts, herbs, vegetables, etc. and they are competing to make the best cheese display,” he said. “I will have people come in and judge their cheese platters. My cheese “judges” are staff members, the provost, graduates of our program, patrons from our restaurant and local chefs. It is awesome the support I receive from staff members and others who come in and judge.”

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