Culinary Arts Class with Master Chef Peter Gebauer

Culinary Arts Classes Onsite

Culinary Arts Class with Master Chef Peter Gebauer

Cheese making Class at Watson Lake Inn

As I embark on the Watson Lake Inn, a new business venture -sort of a hybrid concept between a bed & breakfast and a cooking school; located in the marvelous Prescott’s Granite Dells- a blog I shared in the past about cooking classes and culinary arts education came to mind since, I believe is still relevant with this new adventure, I’d like to revisit it with you today.

Throughout my career as a professional chef, I’ve recognized the importance of a culinary education with emphasis in mentoring. During my tenure first, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville overseeing the resort’s apprenticeship program and then, years ago when opening Star Cruises in Singapore, our strong and effective culinary programs in food & beverage were once cornerstone for the company’s success in achieving brand recognition quickly. Also, in the Asian market we soon grew a reputation of training and developing skilled and knowledgeable service professionals as well as culinarians with a high degree of professionalism, executing total quality service with full engagement.

While at EPCOT Center, we also relied heavily on the Disney Culinary Apprenticeship Program, accredited by the American Culinary Federation. The culinary arts program was an integral part of food & beverage, with several full time instructors, an administrative assistant and many of the chefs in leadership positions functioning as coordinators and adjunct instructors.

Experience has thought me that hands-on training apprentices should start at square one and learn each skill before moving to another area of the kitchen. All kitchen team members should be responsible for ensuring the apprentice learns well; this is usually accomplished by continual repetitive practice combined with effective coaching. But, due to most kitchens space limitations, an apprentice most likely will not work in each area of the kitchen to learn the different skills he or she needs to progress but, a strong educational component will allow the apprentice to attain those skills.

For example, at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, the Culinary Academy in 2007, was mission critical for the successful expansions of the casino in 2008 and 2014 respectively, and with its growth in size and relevance, it garnered not only to get local media attention but also it got industry recognition.

For that reason, I believe one of the most vital parts of the culinary arts education process is chefs that are dedicated to the educational growth of all participants. From the start of their training, we –chefs- must ensure there is a strong support system in the kitchens to enable these people to rely on their instructors for their educational needs.

My own mentor Chef Siegfried Schaber, Dr. H.C. once said: “the value of being an apprentice is threefold: one is learning, the second is developing relationships and, most of all, learning how to communicate and work within a community of chefs and cooks”.

Therefore, I’ve learned part of our mission in the culinary profession is to work together to continually strengthen Culinary Standards, mentor and coach cooks to become better culinarians as they continue their careers in this profession.

As a result of my career and professional experiences, today at Watson Lake Inn, we strive to educate not only those interested in the culinary profession but also homemakers, foodies and novices alike. For that reason, in addition to the already posted 12 week schedule classes, we are offering customized classes/workshops for groups and individuals alike. To learn more about cooking workshops or to book your culinary classes at Watson Lake Inn, please visit our website at

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