Culinary Experts Stir Up Excitement at Westside HS

Chef Sonnenscmidt demonstrates how to make “reis fleisch,” a traditional Serbian dish containing rice and meat.

Students in the culinary arts program at HISD’s Westside High School got served a big bowl of excitement recently when two retired master chefs came to the campus to give demonstrations as part of the Culinary Institute of America’s Ambassadors program.

Paul Prosperi, a master of the baking and pastry arts who has worked in Paris, London, and New York City, and Fritz Sonnenschmidt, a certified master chef who retired as dean of the CIA in 2002, showed students how to make three different types of meringue, and a Serbian rice-and-meat dish called “reis fleisch.”

“Chef Sonnenschmidt talked about the historical significance of food, how rice was used a lot in Spain and so many spices come from India,” said Chef Reginald Martin, who teaches culinary arts classes at Westside. “Chef Prosperi demonstrated the different techniques of making meringue: French, Swiss, and Italian.”

Chef Prosperi shows off a chocolate mousse dessert made with various types of meringue, presented in a martini glass.

Chef Martin, who began coordinating the master chefs’ visit last spring, said that the newest branch of the CIA (one of only three in the nation) opened in Texas just a few years ago, so Westside seemed like a natural partner.

“One student said it was the best day she’s ever had in culinary arts,” he said. “She was blown away by the opportunity to work with such high-level experts in the industry.”

About 50 Westside students attended the 2 1/2-hour demonstration, which was streamed live on the internet so that any other interested parties could watch as well. A recording of the broadcast is here.