Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Culinary Classes Overview, pt. 3 (Seafood ID and Fabrication and Intro to Management)

After completing both Seafood ID and Fabrication and Introduction to Management, I am very much happy with what I learned and from both courses.

Timeline (to put the timing in perspective)

Semester 1
Fundamentals                                        15 weeks

Semester 2
Meat ID and Fabrication                       3 weeks
Seafood ID and Fabrication                  3 weeks
Introduction to Mgmt.                           6 weeks (during Meat and Seafood class)
Modern Banquets and Catering            3 weeks
Intro to a la Carte Cooking                   3 weeks
High Volume Production Cookery       3 weeks


Seafood ID and Fabrication

The format of this class is a little different from Meat ID and Fabrication in two major ways: you spend half of the block solely in the classroom learning about concepts such as the different types of fish, how to identify them, fishing and aquaculture (fish farming) methods, as well as a heavy emphasis on sustainability. The fabrication portion on the other hand, unlike in Meats where you follow a specific schedule, involves cutting all the fish for the school.

The lecture period was particularly interesting to me because there is such a huge variety of life in the sea/freshwaters that are edible, much more so than on land it seems like, and also because my familiarity with the topic was significantly more limited than that of terrestrial animals. We also took both a yield test and ID test towards the end of the lecture period, the former being much easier than the later but we had practice for both everyday so like most things go, the more work you put into it, not only will it be easier but you’ll get the most out of it.

Fabrication of fish differs from that of terrestrial animals in a few ways. Although there is not that many serious variations in land animals, there are large amounts of cuts from each that are cut using the same techniques but knowing where to cut is what is difficult. When butchering fish, there are really only three different ways to cut: “up and over” (used for cutting fish with hard bones, it involves cutting along and then next to the backbone and then over the rib cage), “straight cut” (used for cutting fish with soft bones, it involves cutting through the pin bones and through the rib cage which is removed afterwards), and “flat cut” (used for cutting flat fish, you cut down the backbone and then over the other bones in a flat motion). If you are comfortable with those cutting methods you can cut almost any fish, but what is difficult is how delicate the flesh is. Also, fish, similar to meat, is very expensive so it is important to have the best possible yield.

Another major difference between Meat class and Fish class is that the fish you are cutting is dependent on what is “ordered” by the different chefs for the other classes; sometimes we had 80 fish to cut, others closer to 10. Although I found this class difficult, I also found it fascinating and exciting.

Introduction to Management

This class is designed to introduce the idea of management and how to manage employees, specifically at a lower management level. We go over topics that involve supervision, leadership, training, motivation, delegation, problem solving, decision-making, communication, discipline, and performance appraisal. The course is (obviously) designed to show these concepts and how they relate to the foodservice industry. The majority of class was in lecture format but the teacher did an excellent job of keeping the class involved. We also did a decent amount of group activities including a final group project in which we designed a business plan for a food-related establishment. My group made a business plan for a hypothetical fine dining, seafood restaurant in San Francisco. I found this class to be rather informative, but honestly a lot of the information was simple enough that some reading of the textbook would have been more than enough.

Check out Emilio's other posts on the classes he's taking:
Part 1: Fundamentals and Meats
Part 2: First Semester Academic Classes


  1. Did you have any kind of break in between semesters or did you just go from semester 1 to 2?

    1. Hi Andy! Students in the CIA's associate degree programs don't generally have any break between semesters, unless it happens to align with a scheduled holiday or summer break. Since students enroll every three weeks, how their classes align with those holidays can vary quite a bit!
      Check out our academic calendar to get a better idea of our schedule:

      Hope this information helps! Please let us know if you have more questions or need additional clarification.