Manual Update, Friday, 3:26 pm PST –
Call The Cedar House Sport Hotel now to be added to our waiting list. 1-866-582-5655
Dear Stella Culinary Fans:
It’s time again for Stella’s Culinary Boot Camp! This November 3rd-8th, Stella Restaurant will close for one week only, accepting 12 boot camp students for our intensive five day cooking course. This course will cover everything from classic sauces and cooking methods to modern techniques. Our culinary boot camp is designed to not only increase your overall ability to execute great food, but more importantly, how to think like a chef.
Over the past six years, teaching both online and off, I’ve found that although technique is king, the true breakthrough for all cooks, both amateur and professional, comes from the evolution of their thought process; in essence, learning how to THINK like a professional chef.
That is why I created the F-STEP cooking curriculum specifically for our culinary boot camp. While other culinary boot camps teach 100 year old recipes that no modern restaurant would serve, F-STEP is a progressive approach to cooking that can train anyone how to think analytically about food, technique and execution.
What is the F-STEP curriculum and what makes it unique?
As you may know, teaching culinary arts to the masses has been a passion of mine for a long time. And six years
later, the free video and audio podcasts on Stella Culinary are REQUIRED material for every cook that works in my kitchen.
And while Stella Culinary is a valuable resource that efficiently trains new hires how to cook with proper, professional technique, it does have one major flaw: it doesn’t teach you how to THINK LIKE A PROFESSIONAL CHEF.
Enter the F-STEP curriculum, an acronym that stands for Flavor, Sauce, Technique, Execution, Preparation. It’s more than just a collection of words, it’s a distillation of the creative cooking process, allowing you to see recipes for what they are and identify the basic building blocks that make them good or bad. Once you practice analyzing and cooking recipes based on the F-STEP curriculum, you will quickly start to view food and cooking as an equation rather than a mystical spell, ultimately allowing you to create your own recipes, dishes and cooking style.
During Stella’s five day culinary boot camp, the F-STEP process will be ingrained into your every action, through in-depth lectures, hands on training, and of course, the eating of delicious food that you create. Every technique and recipe utilized by students during the boot camp will be associated with an F-STEP work sheet. This worksheet will allow you to better understand the underlying techniques of each recipe, creating a launching pad for your own intuitive, cooking style.
Now that you have a good overview of what Stella’s culinary boot camp is all about, let’s check out each “step” of the F-STEP process and how it will make you a better, more confident cook.
The ultimate goal of cooking is to produce a great tasting dish. Now I know that’s an obvious statement, but even though people realize that a dish’s flavor is important, that flavor they’re trying to achieve can often unwittingly become diluted or destroyed by poor technique, flavor structure, or execution. In the flavor module of the F-STEP curriculum you’ll learn:
- The secrets behind flavor structure and balance
- How to enhance primary flavors with the appropriate seasonings and texture modifiers.
- How to choose appropriate secondary flavors when creating your own dish.
- How to achieve flavor depth and balance.
- How to deliver a “flavor punch.”
- How to avoid giving your guests “palette fatigue.”
- Most importantly: how to choose a seasonal and quality, primary ingredient.
Once you’ve decided what your dish’s primary ingredient and flavor structure will be, it is now time to consider what role your sauce, if any, will play in that dish. Not only will your sauce provide a strong secondary flavor and textural component, but it will often be what takes your dish to the next level. One of the greatest divides between amateur and professional cooks is the latter’s ability to make a wide array of amazing sauces. The sauce module in the F-STEP curriculum is designed to close this gap by teaching you:
- Classic sauces and how they’re modern day evolution has influenced current sauce making techniques.
- The THREE “modern mother sauces.”
- Classic thickeners, modern thickeners, and best practices.
- Complex flavor structure as applied to sauce making.
- How to create the perfect sauce to take your dish to the next level.
Yet it isn’t enough to have a good primary ingredient, flavor structure and a tasty sauce. That’s just the beginning. In this step, you must analyze what techniques are best for your desired flavor profile and ultimately, what techniques will allow you to realize your vision for a particular dish. Should you:
- Steam or fry?
- Braise or poach?
- Sous Vide or pan roast?
- Marinade or brine?
- Use high heat or low heat?
In the F-Step Technique Module you’ll learn:
- How to choose the proper technique for the dish you’re creating.
- What methods of cooking best suite various cuts of meat.
- Moist Heat Cooking: poaching, braising and steaming.
- Dry Heat Cooking: frying, sautéing, pan roasting and oven roasting.
- Sous Vide Cooking and its emerging principals.
- Utilizing marinades, brines and rubs to improve flavor and texture.
Now comes the biggest stumbling block of them all. The step that trips up numerous amateurs and professionals
alike; execution. It doesn’t matter how amazing your product is, how much you’ve practiced your technique or that your sauce making abilities are on par with the great chef’s of the world; if you can’ execute a dish when the time comes to serve, nothing else matters.
Have you ever been to a restaurant where a menu item sounded delicious, the ingredient combinations intriguing, but when the dish was delivered your were underwhelmed? That’s caused by a flaw in execution.
Have you ever tried to cook a big meal and had certain dishes or components not come out as good as they should because your timing was off? That’s caused by a flaw in execution.
What makes a successful chef isn’t their creativity, flavor structure or sauces. What truly makes a successful chef is their ability to consistently execute. I cannot state this strongly enough; you can memorize word for word the 100 top cook books of all time, but until you learn how to flawlessly execute, you will never cook at a professional level.
In the F-STEP Execution module you will learn:
- How to visualize a “service” for maximum efficiency of execution.
- Plate composition, design and execution.
- How to use garnishes for flavor and presentation.
- How to ensure all components of a meal/dish are ready at the same time.
- How to “pre-shift” certain items to make execution more effortless.
The last and final “step” is preparation. Now it’s time to get your hands dirty and utilize the road map you’ve created in the previous four steps. In the Preparation Module you’ll be drilled on:
- How to choose the proper prep techniques for maximum flavor and efficiency of execution.
- How to set up mise en place like a professional chef.
- How to plan and create a seasonal menu.
Space is limited to only 12 students. Call the Cedar House Sport Hotel now to reserve your spot. 1-866-582-5655. $2197 per person.
I’m a busy dad and orthodontist who loves to cook. I’m living out my top three passions. How lucky can one guy be? It follows that ‘giving back’ should be my fourth passion, and I want to do it right. This is where Stella Culinary comes in. I continue to evolve my cooking abilities in order to qualify for high level volunteerism.
Having attended a long list of cooking classes and CIA boot camp type classes, I can say the inaugural F-step boot camp with Chef Jacob was what I needed. Not only did I level up in cooking ability, I was able to see the business similarities of a fine dining restaurant and my business. In fact, a few participants were already running successful restaurants, yet were able to benefit as much from the business perspective as from the F-step curriculum. Think about that for a minute; business perspective and cooking curriculum, both well worth the price of admission. If you can’t go this year, or it is sold out, get on a waiting list!
~Dr. Keith King, Alberta, Canada
“What’s the daily schedule like?”
Arrival day is Sunday, November 3rd. You’ll check into the Cedar House Sport Hotel upon arrival, which is less than a two hundred foot walk to the Stella kitchen. That’s right, no rental car required, no extra hotel room; once you’re on property, your every need will be taken care of.
After you get settled in and have a chance to freshen up, you’ll meet up with your fellow classmates at Stella for a welcome dinner that includes a complimentary four course tasting menu with wine pairings. You will enjoy dinner in Stella’s open dining room with a great view of Stella’s kitchen staff in action.
The following morning, Monday, November 4th, your culinary boot camp begins.
A complimentary breakfast buffet will be served in Stella from 7:00am to 8:00am. After breakfast you will start your intensive, culinary training:
- 8:00am – 9:15am – Morning Lecture
- 9:15am – 9:30am – Coffee Break
- 9:30am – 10:15am – Recipe, Prep and Task Review
- 10:15am – 1:15pm – Hands on Production
- 1:30pm – 2:15pm – Lunch
- 2:15pm – 2:30pm – Review, Q&A
- 2:30pm – 3:00pm – Afternoon Break
- 3:00pm – 7:00pm – Dinner Production
- 7:15pm – 8:15pm – Dinner
- 8:15pm – 8:30pm – Review, Q&A
As you can see, this is five days of truly intensive culinary training.
Chef Jacob Burton’s Stella Culinary Boot Camp was an exciting and tremendously empowering experience. It was one of the best weeks we’re ever had. His F-STEP process unlocked our cooking creativity by focusing on essential techniques and flavor-building concepts rather than specific recipes or arcane sauces. That, plus the one-on-one coaching and extensive hands-on work, left us thinking and cooking like chefs
Fred Swan, California – CS, DWS, CWAS
“What will I be learning each day?”
Every day of boot camp will consist of knife skills and prep drills to improve overall speed, accuracy and efficiency of movement. Each day will build on the previous day’s lessons and base recipes, with the final day of class being devoted to the creation of your own seasonal menu and dish.
Unlike other culinary boot camps that teach hundred year old recipes and devote one day to each method of cooking, we instead will have rotating roles and stations, following the professional brigade system, allowing each student to hone their skills and develop a deeper understanding of the cooking process. Every dish and recipe produced will be designed specifically to reinforce cooking concepts and theories related to food science, technique, flavor structure and execution.
“What does Stella’s Culinary Boot Camp include?”
- Five intensive days of hands on culinary education and training taught be Chef Jacob and his Sous Chef.
- All meals, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- A four course welcome dinner on Sunday, November 3rd, with complimentary wine pairings.
- The full, written F-STEP Curriculum and F-STEP Recipe Work Book, including never before released recipes created by Chef Jacob and the Stella team.
- Two professional chef jackets with the Stella logo and your name embroidered on the breast.
- Two pairs of professional grade chef pants.
- Free laundering of chef jackets and pants during the boot camp program.
- A daily Q&A with Chef Jacob to answer your most burning culinary questions, even if unrelated to that day’s lesson plan.
- A new found knowledge and confidence in cooking.
What sets the boot camp apart from other programs is the focus on moving away from cooking from recipes to thinking about the ingredients you have available and then applying the appropriate cooking technique, flavor profile and execution to create a dish. The F-Step curriculum provides you with the tools a chef uses when creating new dishes. I now look at recipe books for concepts and ideas and not how too create a dish.
Thanks to Chef Jacob and his team for making cooking a more creative and enjoyable experience.
~Mike Krueger, Truckee, California
“Is there a certain ability level that is required?”
Nope. The only requirement we have is that you’re passionate about cooking. This is one of the main reasons why we’re only accepting 12 boot camp students; so each student, whether beginner or advanced, can receive the maximum amount of attention and direction needed to achieve their culinary goals.
“What should I bring with me?”
- Slip resistant, closed toed shoes.
- Chef’s Knife, Utility Knife and Honing Steel.
- Warm clothing.
Other than that, simply pack whatever you need for a week long vacation and we’ll do the rest. Hope to see you this November.
Sincerely,Jacob Burton Executive Chef Cedar House Sport Hotel Stella Restaurant
Space is limited to only 12 students. Call the Cedar House Sport Hotel now to reserve your spot. 1-866-582-5655. $2197 per person.
PS: To ensure each student gets the maximum amount of knowledge and interaction possible, we are limiting the class size to only 12 students total and we anticipate this class selling out quickly. Registrations will be taken on a first come first serve basis.
For the new content and hands-on instruction that Chef Jacob and his staff offers as well as the camaraderie of other chefs and food enthusiasts, I highly recommend the “Boot Camp” program. Do not expect occasional ‘dishes’ to prepare, rather a week of an intense mix of classroom theory and commercial kitchen experiences integrated into an approach that a successful, avant-garde restaurant would use. And Chef Jacob’s F-STEP methodology breaks down how to ‘create’ new flavors in ways that the culinary school I attended never came close to (follow the recipe). For the money, this is an incredible value and was a great investment to improve my own skills way beyond my expectations.
Douglas Tabor, Estes Park, Colorado
Boot Camp with Chef Jacob and his team was one of the best cooking experiences I have had. Working in teams, we got to experience all aspects of a working restaurant, and Jacob’s F-STEP process is easy to use and makes even complex dishes doable for the amateur chef. My husband is thrilled with my new expertise.
Chris Chew, Incline Village, Nevada
This boot camp is 5 days, 12 hours a day, combining 2 meals, hours of lecture, demonstrations, and debriefings following noon and dinner service. You arrive, are warmly greeted, and ready to begin your adventure, and meet some really great classmates! In point form, here are just a few of the positive experiences you’ll have:
- First off, it was the best culinary experience that I have ever had.
- You will learn a vast knowledge of food and food science down to molecular interactions with each other, heat, and liquids, and environment as well as how that food came to exist at your station.
- You use only the finest quality ingredients from local organic producers; you are encouraged to ask for ingredients that you can’t find, which they will source out for your next day’s meal prep.
- There is repeated emphasis on Jacob’s F-STEP formula for successful preparation and execution of a meal for both intimate dinners and crowds of people; including how to set up a buffet with visual mastery and practical dishes that work well with a steam-table and large scale service equipment.
- You will find that your creativity is unleashed in directions that you have never explored.
- As Chef Jacob talks, your mind actively blends his knowledge into your meal plan, considering all of the main components, sub-components, and preparation of each item. Each dish gets its own F-STEP story board. And food alchemy results.
- Nightly perfect wine pairings and lectures, from Jacob and California wine experts and producers.
- Incredible staff show how to quickly prep and set up mise en place; constantly willing to share their experience and help you develop your skill set beyond what you could have imagined.
- There is a Chef’s table for eating and discussing each dish, debriefing of what went well and how each chef could put his own spin on things.
- Jaw-droppingly beautiful, functional open restaurant, exceptionally clean & plenty of work space for multiple teams, practical division of labor at each of 5-6 stations, rotating through each one during the entire week.
- Learn 3-5 course tasting menus, and how to wow your guests by creating “flavor punches”, without causing “palate fatigue”.
- Enough time to be introduced to charcuterie and eat your own production within days.
- Become proficient with all cooking techniques (dry heat roasting, searing, frying, baking, moist heat, poaching, reducing, sous vide, curing, etc)
- A truly farm to table experience, sourced from the best local producers.
- Chef Jacob is incredibly competent in his ability to impart a level of wisdom to any level of amateur/professional skill.
After this boot camp, episodes of CHOPPED and Iron Chef no longer seem impossible. They become, in essence pragmatically possible. You will instantly recall Jacob’s lectures on flavor combinations using the Flavor Bible and in your head you can work out the 5 dishes using a mystery ingredient, alongside the “Iron Chefs”.
Creating savory marriages of what is pragmatically AND theoretically achievable, Jacob ensures each student tastes what worked and on occasion why something wasn’t as good as it could have been.
Worth every dime. Having taken previous courses I can attest that this BOOT CAMP gives an order of magnitude of knowledge that is leaps and bounds over anything out there yet is the least expensive of any I have taken, and your time with chef is almost 1 on 1.
You will learn how taste is affected by your sense of smell and recognize how to make great choices in ingredient planning and interplay.
All in all, Chef Jacob delivers a culinary experience showing all aspects of restaurant service, complete explanation of food, its components and combinations perfectly composed, seasoned and executed.
The week goes by in a blink of an eye, and I would do again and again.
~Dr. Darcy Dietz, Alberta, Canada
As a “home cook” I have taken many courses in culinary skills including the Culinary Institute of America’s basic boot camp and one week Bistro courses as well most of the Stella Culinary series on line. I had reached a point where I was comfortable with most French techniques, Sous Vide, molecular gastronomy, smoking, grilling, etc. However, when Chef Jacob offed an opportunity to spend a week with him one on one in his own professional kitchen I thought it might be a unique experience. I was not disappointed. He took us into the world of the professional chef and in one short week had us thinking like a professional with respect to flavor, technique, execution and presentation. Having Chef Jacob at your side as you develop new dishes, learn and apply the techniques of a professional and work side by side with experienced sous chefs gives one skills and confidence one can use daily in the home kitchen.
The way you approach cooking after the Stella Boot Camp will begin with a thought process not unlike that of a professional chef. You will understand flavor development, how to integrate technique with production and presentation. Other than attending culinary school for two to four years I know of no other way to develop these skills. Participating in Chef Jacob’s Stella boot camp was a privilege.
Dr. Roger Stambaugh, Bellingham, Washington
I was very impressed with the quality of the training I received at your culinary boot camp last November. I have put that training to great use. I have been making roasted demi-glace and buying whole chickens when they are on sale. Thanks to your teaching, I can break down a chicken into 2 boneless skin on breasts, 2 boneless thighs, 2 wing tips, 4 Buffalo wing pieces, & two drumsticks in under 10 minutes. Quite a bit under, if I don’t bone out the thighs. Then the carcass, any bones and the wing tips go into the oven to roast with the mirepoix, then into the stock pot. The rest is vacuum sealed and either cooked sous-vide or frozen for another day.
And don’t get me started on how you taught us the proper way to cook vegetables. My vegetables are cooked so perfectly now, I’m almost thinking about becoming a vegetarian. If the 3 day short ribs I learned to make, weren’t so delicious, I probably could go vegetarian. By the way, I cooked your 3 day short rib for a party I was throwing as a little something extra. They were the hit of the party. Everyone wanted to know where I found tenderloin that had so much flavor, that’s how tender the meat was. I told them it was called “Stella r tenderloin” and I had ordered it from a specialty shop up in Truckee.
I guess I pushed it too far with that, as all of my friends knew that Truckee is where I went for that great culinary boot camp I’m always talking about. Then I told them the truth. Now if I invite folks over for dinner, I’m often often asked if we’ll be having stellar tenderloin for dinner.
My wife, friends and family all have commented on how my food is even better than before. I don’t tell them that I’m working smarter not harder now that I know the F-STEP way of cooking and recipe creation.
As you know I do a lot of fundraiser cooking for my Church. My largest fundraising events have gone from 300 and the kitchen help to over 500. I find that with an increased sense of confidence in the kitchen, I’m more actively leading the kitchen volunteers than just being lost in what I am doing.
I’m hoping that I’ll be able to take time off from work, if you offer this class again. And not just for the classes but also for the food. I can’t remember a time when I had that much fun cooking, that much excellent food that I was going to get to eat. And let’s not forget about socializing with other foodies. I didn’t feel like a cooking addict when I was surrounded by cooking addicts. It was easy to talk to everyone since we all had the same passion for creating and consuming great food.
One last note, we spoke about the very expensive dinner for 10 that was auctioned off at over twice the price we usually get for that meal. We sold 3 at that price. Those meals made up the largest amount of funds raised for a single auction item last year. I just did the second meal and although not effortlessly handled, it looked effortless. The diners were so impressed with the food I had prepared for them, they asked what I would do if they doubled the price again this year. I said remember what I told you a few weeks before this meal? (to build the anticipation I told them “Remember how you raved about the meal last year? This year you’ll think you were eating McDonald’s”).
About it making last year seem like McDonald’s? I said “yeah, want to do that again?” There is no way I would have had that kind of confidence before I went through your boot camp. There are a LOT of people in the San Diego area benefiting from what I brought home from your boot camp. Thank you again. And for all the on-line support you give us.
Jack Chandler, San Diego, California
Culinary Boot Camp at Stella was incredible! The F- STEP approach teaches one to think like a professional. Chef Jacob and his team encouraged creativity in the classroom and kitchen. And the enthusiasm of the other students was remarkable. As a result, I’m cooking more flavorful dishes, which are executed more efficiently, and with a more “finished” presentation.As one who loves to cook, I enjoy being in the kitchen more than ever!
Cynthia, Chicago, Illinois
Before embarking to New York in pursuit of becoming a Professional Chef in January 2013, I decided to kick-start my training by attending the Stella Culinary Boot Camp & F-STEP cooking curriculum. Having dined at Stella several times, I knew the Boot Camp would provide me with the skills and talents of Chef Jacob’s “Whole Food” philosophy that he incorporates into his magical dishes!
Within the first two weeks of culinary school I knew I had made the right decision! Chef Jacob teaches you how to think like a Professional Chef by unlocking your own creativity between flavors, ingredients, technique, execution and preparation. In addition, his relaxed “Tahoe” style makes one feel they could create anything! I loved his style so much I asked if I could come back to complete my internship there.
Chef Jacob is the best!
Sue Fogel, Lake Tahoe, California