Louisville Magazine

AUG 2015

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.15 105 — from 38 states and a handful of foreign countries. (No current culinary students are from outside the U.S., though past students have come from Vietnam, Colombia, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Spain and Poland.) Te school year is broken up into 11-week quarters with two-week breaks in between. Te school week is from 7 a.m. to midday, Monday to Tursday, and students can come in on Fridays to get extra help or make up missed classes. By the end of the program, students are graded on cooking methods; use of sauces, garnishes and favoring/seasoning; plate presentation; quantity of food produced (overproduction is a no-no); organization, efciency and time management; and sanitation. Many of the chefs, sous chefs and chefs de cuisine at your favorite Louisville restaurant graduated from Sullivan. Chase Mucerino and Adam Burress, of Hammerheads and Game, met at Sullivan. Jef Bridges has worked in local kitchens and currently heads Bourbons Bistro. Jefrey Dailey is the sous chef at Corbett's (Dean Corbett is on the program's advisory board and often hires students). Ming Pu has been sous chef at Village Anchor and Jack Fry's and is currently sous chef at Asiatique (that restaurant's executive chef, Peng Looi, is also on the advisory board). Nick Sullivan (no relation to the school's namesake) is the chef de cuisine at 610 Magnolia. Serge Katz is sous chef at Vincenzo's. Tavis Rockwell heads Louvino. Australia native Ryan O'Driscoll came to Kentucky as an exchange student in the '90s and later returned and went to Sullivan. He has been chef de cuisine at the Brown Hotel's English Grill for the past three years. Darnell Ferguson — who was one of 22 Sullivan students to travel to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing to cook for guests and athletes, including Michael Phelps — is the chef-owner of SuperChef 's. Al Sullivan founded the school with his father in 1962 and has grown the culinary program over the past 30 years. It all started in the '70s when the Sullivan Junior College of Business needed more space for its bookkeeping, secretarial and IT training and moved into its current location on Bardstown Road at the Watterson Expressway. Te former Blue Cross Blue Shield building's 100,000 square feet provided more than a little wiggle room for the small private college, so Kentucky Fried Chicken came asking to use the extra space as the national training facility for its managers. For the next seven years, in what became known as the building's "chicken wing," KFC taught about 6,000 employees a year from around the world how to fry chicken in Henny Penny fryers. Meanwhile, the U.S. Army was unable to promote its cooks — who couldn't get more stripes without an associate degree — and came to the school thinking it had an accredited culinary program. It didn't, but seeing the opportunity, the school got a program together and from '82 to '86 set up classes in old World War II barracks at Fort Knox. Te guys knew how to cook, so Sullivan mostly taught management, cost control and some advanced skills. "Anytime we needed new equipment, it just suddenly appeared," Al Sullivan says. "In case something broke down, they had a brand new one sitting in a closet — 'Here, you need this? Let's keep our training going.'" By '86, KFC had outgrown its wing and decided to build a bigger facility adjacent to Sullivan. With the vacant space and the accredited program, Al Sullivan looked to other culinary schools as models. Te school spent $500,000 on equipment and kitchens, did a national search to recruit instructors (currently 35), and in the fall of '87 welcomed its frst non-military class of about 30 students into the National Center for Hospitality Studies at Sullivan College. (Te name became Sullivan University in 2000. Te school ofers nine other programs, including pharmacy, nursing and business administration, and has a culinary program on its Lexington campus.) "I founded this school in '62 and was a college graduate then," says Al Sullivan, who in his own words is "older than dirt." "Somebody said, 'What does a chancellor do?' Tat's a good question. Te answer is any damn thing he wants to. Now, don't use the word 'damn' if you quote me. But I'm serious in that I have a projects list in this box here and there's 27 projects that I have my nose in one way or the other." Current culinary goals: attracting a World Culinary Olympics gold medalist to help lead culinary competition teams, and installing new equipment and technology in the kitchens. Chef Allen Akmon, chair of the culinary department, started at Sullivan 16 years ago with the task of revamping the school's cafeteria, which he switched from an old-style, stand-in-line deal to a "scatter" system that allowed customers to go directly to what interests them. Te 46-year-old grew up on the West Coast and started washing dishes in a restaurant at 14. He went to the Johnson & Wales culinary school in Charleston, South Carolina, and traveled the world, cooking in restaurants in Europe, Asia and Australia. "I try to share that with students all the time — joining the military's not the only way to travel," he says. By the time he turned 30, he was cooking in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and had had his frst kid. "I realized, OK, maybe it was time to switch my hours from late night every Friday and Saturday, all the holidays, to something a little bit more manageable," Akmon says. Now he's in a uniform and at school by 6 a.m. every day to start teaching at 7. "A lot of people get the misconception that it's like (restaurateur and TV star) Chef Ramsay's place, and you Moules marinière

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