Culinary classes foster senior’s passion for baking

The typical high school student might take extra classes to get ahead in subjects like math or science, but senior Josh Hoeflich is working to further his expertise in Culinary Arts at Cincinnati State.

Hoeflich said his mom knew of people who were taking these classes, and he agreed that it would be useful if he wanted to have a job with decent money-making potential in college.  Hoeflich started taking classes last May, and will continue through this coming May to complete his Culinary Arts Certificate. He attended more classes during the summer, and during school, Hoeflich attends classes on Mondays from 4 – 10p.m.  His commute is about 25 minutes from school and 40 minutes from his house, so it makes for long but rewarding days.

To be able to be enrolled in the program, Hoeflich had to enroll as a student.  He said that there is quite an array of people in the program, from people in their early 20s to their 60s.  It wasn’t an incredibly smooth process to get funding covered, but eventually the college covered the cost and it was approved through College Credit Plus.  He was able to get funding from the state, and said the only cost was for a $75 parking pass for the semester.  He said it was slightly frustrating that he attended a private school, because it wasn’t offered as easily to him as it was to public school students.  “There is an actual college professor who comes to local public schools, so the fact that they had more accessibility to these programs didn’t seem fair,” he said.  Hoeflich also explained that communication was incredibly important when he was applying, and he had to be the mediator between the state and the college in order to get his funding.

The classes offered at Cincinnati State for the Culinary Program includes Beverage Care, General Baking, and even Sanitation.  Hoeflich stated that he has learned an incredible amount of information that he had never even thought about. “I really learned a lot from my sanitation class, like how small children and elderly people should not be fed egg whites because it can cause negative reactions.”

The Institute houses two general instructional kitchens, an international kitchen, a pastry kitchen and lab, a decoration lab, two garde (cold) manger kitchens, a butcher shop and fish shop, and a demonstration kitchen. Hoeflich said he really enjoys demonstration days where they are seemingly in lecture halls with cameras zoomed in on the skills the professor is teaching.  They observe demonstrations on Tuesdays, and then are more hands-on application days.

Hoeflich said his favorite specialty is in baked goods, “I feel like anyone can make main dishes, so I really like the skills and techniques that go into baking.”  He said they also incorporate alcohol into baking, making cakes soaked in liquor and beer bread.  In terms of main dishes, Hoeflich says he enjoyed making veal marsala in which he incorporated juices and drippings.  “The best thing about cooking or baking food is the fact that a lot of it is experimentation, and even if you mess up you can mask it by adding other ingredients,” Hoeflich said.

Hoeflich recently decided that he didn’t necessarily want to make a career out of his passion, but rather keep it more of a hobby.  “I know that I would invest so much in it, and I wouldn’t want it to exhaust me,” he said.  Hoeflich added “I would love to enjoy it secondhand, as something I’d be able to do outside of everyday ‘work’.”

Senior Josh Hoeflich cooks rich broth with seared steak and fresh vegetables in his kitchen. Last May Hoeflich started classes at Cincinnati State to further his expertise in cooking and baking. He will continue these classes through this May and earn his Culinary Arts Certificate.

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