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Cooking with California Produce

August 21, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Sacramento 0 Comments

California chefs may have it easier than chefs from anywhere else in the country. They have the luxury of living and working in one of the most bountiful farming regions in the world. From the orange groves and avocado fields of Southern California to the grapes of the Northern coast to the vast agricultural powerhouse of the San Joaquin Valley, California produces hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables. The produce grown in California graces the kitchens and tables of homes and restaurants around the world.

To call California abundant would be an understatement. Not only does California produce more than half of the country's fruits, nuts and vegetables, it is also the number-one dairy state, the number-two cotton state and produces nearly 50 percent of the nation's flowers and nursery products*.

In addition to large-scale commercial farms, California also boasts large numbers of natural and organic farms that produce healthy and great-tasting alternatives to typical grocery store produce.

Become Green with California Produce

Local sourcing and seasonal dishes are two trends that are rapidly gaining momentum in the culinary world. Again, California chefs find themselves lucky to be where they are. California’s produce growers are able to help them meet their goals of local sourcing and seasonality. It doesn’t help if it’s strawberry season and the nearest strawberry patch is hundreds or thousands of miles away. In California nature’s produce bounty is nearly at your footsteps. This greatly reduces the carbon footprint for these locally and regionally sourced fruits and vegetables.

Seasonal Cooking

Another popular culinary trend is the use of a few simple but very flavorful ingredients to create delicious and healthier alternatives to heavier, more complicated fare. Once again California produce makes that task a lot easier. The broad range of produce available combined with long growing seasons brings many fruits and vegetables into season in California much sooner than other parts of the country. Grocery stores and farmer’s market are overflowing with fresh local produce from early spring through late fall. This is a huge advantage for young California chefs over their culinary brethren in other regions.

Whether you are thinking of attending a California culinary school or an established California chef you should be willing to use California’s abundant crops of fruits and vegetables to your culinary advantage.

This article is presented by The Kitchen Academy. The Kitchen Academy offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in Seattle, Washington and Sacramento, California. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit KitchenAcademy.com for more information.

The jobs mentioned are examples of certain potential jobs, not a representation that these outcomes are more probable than others. The Kitchen Academy does not guarantee employment or salary.

*From the California Department of Food and Agriculture - http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/statistics/

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