Chef Kelly Dietrich has been a teacher for years. Dietrich is a renowned Vermont chef and the owner of the Brazilian restaurant: Souza's in Burlington, Vermont. He's now doing what he loves -- teaching.
"Fusion Cooking" has become the talk of chefs worldwide, and Culinary Institute of America trained Chef Kelly is leading the field. Borrowed from "fusion music" in the music industry, it's a relatively new and chic description of a method of cooking that has been around for thousands of years. You can see Fusion Cooking in action on the "Iron Chef" TV show, where top chefs compete with each other using a secret ingredient and come up with many ethnic variations of the same ingredient. As people leave their cultural homeland and venture to live in a different land or cultural environment, they long for the food from their native land. More often than not, the ingredients, spices and cooking methods are not always available. Fusion Cooking is using the old familiar recipes and changing the spices, even main ingredients and cooking methods to come up with a very similar dish which may taste similar or look similar to the original ethic dish.
Chef Kelly is now teaching "Fusion Cooking" techniques and recipes to kids and to adults at his year-round culinary camps. In addition to The Kid's Culinary Academy, Chef Kelly has now launched an Internet TV channel entitled "Vermont Culinary.TV" utilizing the platform and new technology developed by Flash guru, Ken Allaire internet conglomerate Brightcove. Brightcove will host and distribute his entertaining cooking instruction content on Vermont Culinary.TV.
Among other culinary arts and cooking programs, this channel is slated to feature a weekly 30 minute program called "Vermont Culinary - An Upscale Experience," developed by Dietrich and local TV production talent. Each week three lucky couples will meet at 4:00 pm at Souza's Brazilian Restaurant in Burlington, Vermont where they will taste test a fine wine or champagne introduced by Chef Kelly. From there the couples will limousined to an intimate, fully appointed kitchen at Chef Kelly's home in Highgate Center, Vermont for an evening of personal culinary instruction.
The guests and the TV audience will learn salad and appetizers; chicken, beef, poultry and fish preparations; chic dessert choices (including coveted, spiced chocolates). There is also an Argentinean and Chilean wine segment with appropriate cheeses and coffees presented in each show. The latest in up-scale home culinary appliance and utensil choices are also featured.
And Chef Kelly is on the move. Travel to local and foreign produce markets is slated into the show format providing variety "travelogue-style." ot missing a "Vermont beat" eating right is also a main focus of the show. Organic, range fed meats, produce, non-rGBH dairy and "buy local" from Vermont farms encouraging sustainable practices are all themes seamlessly interwoven into the 30 minute show format.
Show guest couples spend the Friday night after the meal in Highgate Center (B&B style) and share a champagne brunch the next day with Chef Kelly. They are then escorted from Highgate Center back to Souza's Restaurant in time for a full Saturday dinner where they share "on camera" their experiences and what they learned with Chef Kelly the previously evening. It's entertaining, amusing and unpredictable -- and the food is outstanding.
Souza's Restaurant features Brazilian cuisine served in the traditional fashion of churrasco, a Portuguese word meaning barbeque style. Over a typical two hour time frame, an assortment of meats, fruits, fish and vegetables grilled slowly over carvao (charcoal) are continuously served to the guests wrapping up their 24 hour experience with food they will not forget. The ambience of the restaurant is delivered Brazilian style with "fusion music" carefully chosen from the Putumayo World Music collection.
Ten years ago, Chef Kelly opened The Kid's Culinary Academy of Vermont (kidsculinary.com) as a cooking school and year-round camp for children ages 8-18. With a move to a large farm and camp facility in Highgate Center, Vermont, now it's full speed ahead. Year-round classes to children and to adults are the main course on Dietrich's plate.
The TV show "Vermont Culinary - an Upscale Experience" is slated for 13 episodes and begins shooting November 17, 2006. A new episode will be shot, edited and produced for Vermont Culinary.TV each week. A second season of 13 episodes is being storyboarded by the writers and producers.
Chef Kelly is also looking at the possibility of an after-school cooking program for children. He's comfortable working with culinary cadets, as he already offers instruction at Kid's Culinary Academy of Vermont.
Souza's Restaurant also offers a "gourmet club" that has at-home dinner parties, trips to foreign countries to experience international cuisine up close, as well as many other programs. Samba dance and food instruction (centered around Carnival) is also being served up in the Burlington community, hosted by Souza's. Its full scale catering business in Burlington, Vermont boasts a list of political dignitaries and large Vermont based businesses. To borrow a phrase from ESPN's "SportsCenter," you can't stop Kelly Dietrich, you can only hope to contain him.
Not enough? He's currently being trained by an executive producer and media specialists so he can make DVDs of his classes and CDs of his recipes. The DVDs are slated to be sold with his upcoming cookbook "What's the Big Deal?" to be released by the end of 2006. "Fooding Around" and other food shows are now being approached as candidates featuring Chef Kelly and "what's happening in Vermont".
Yep, Chef Kelly is coming to an electronic device near you. These projects will allow him to reach a wider audience with his passion for cooking, which he inherited as a child from his uncle, Chef Bill Gates, long-term executive chef at the famous Equinox Hotel in Manchester, Vermont. Not long after he began working in kitchens at an early age, Chef Kelly got the idea of mastering his craft and someday teaching others to appreciate and enjoy his passion for culinary arts. That idea never escaped him. The combination of cooking and teaching isn't a stretch for a head chef, though. It simply comes with the gig.
"Mentoring is a big part of the job as a chef," said Dietrich. "The key to being successful is consistency. How do you maintain that? Constant education - for yourself and for other people." 'Fusion Cooking' is taking hold in the world of fine cuisine and "fusion music" in the entertainment industry. It's brings people and cultures together. Why not combine the experiences - bring people together to share great music and food in one event? The "One World Many Cultures" theme of Putumayo Music has stuck with me," says Dietrich.
That can only mean good things for Chef Kelly's students and the Burlington, Vermont community.
To learn more about Chef Kelly or any of Kelly Dietrich's Winter, Spring and Summer kids and adult cooking classes or programs, call 802-868-3030.