Chef Joseph Kalfus
How long have you been at Phoenix College?
What is your educational background?
I received my Bachelor’s in Hotel and Restaurant Management, as well as my Master’s in Career and Technical Education, from Northern Arizona University. I’ve also completed professional development courses at The French Pastry School in Chicago.
What makes the culinary program at PC great?
The students, first and foremost. Every semester is filled with an energetic group of students. The instructors are also great. We all have areas we are passionate about, so we complement each other well.
Why would you recommend the PC Culinary Program?
We offer the best “bang for your buck.” You receive the same education that you do at other schools, but for significantly less money. There is also flexibility in our program, in that you can take classes at another Maricopa Community College if it fits your personal schedule better while in the program at PC.
What has been your favorite memory at PC, so far?
Last spring, we held a dinner reception for the Vice President of Liberia and his delegation, who had toured the campus with Dr. Solley, president of PC. I wasn’t sure what to make for the dinner, so I called my friend who works in the Culinary Arts program at Estrella Mountain Community College, who was previously the White House Executive Chef for President Ronald Reagan. He sent me the menu he created for a visit by Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the Soviet Union, to the White House. I used that to help create my ideas.
We offer the best “bang for your buck.” You receive the same education that you do at other schools, but for significantly less money.
We wanted to showcase American flavors. For the three-course meal, we used southwest flavors for the appetizers like ceviche, the entrée was American-regional with a stuffed chicken breast with a white sauce, and for desert we served a chocolate mousse torte with a praline base.
The students did everything and it was executed very well. All of the instructors were so proud of how well they did. It created a great environment for the students – much like what they would experience working in a resort.
The Culinary Café will be changing names and its look this year. What can one expect from the menu once it becomes Café Oso?
The menu features static and cyclical items. The menus are based on class competencies, as well as current trends in the culinary field, while balancing it with classical techniques, cost and availability of ingredients.
We will be retooling the menu for the cafe. I’m looking forward to introducing more healthy, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, balanced with classical dishes. My goal is to include vegetarian items that non-vegetarians are attracted to – where they read the menu and think, “That sounds good!”