Arlington Career Center | 816 S. Walter Reed St. | Arlington, VA | 22204

ACC Chronicle

ACC Chronicle

Arlington Career Center | 816 S. Walter Reed St. | Arlington, VA | 22204

ACC Chronicle

24 with ‘24: Sophia Lander
24 with '24
24 with ‘24: Sophia Lander
Lydia Blackwell, Staff Reporter • April 23, 2024

24 with ’24 is a Chronicle series where we ask 24 questions to a member of the class of ’24. Between now and June, we’ll shine a spotlight...

Song of Daphne
Creative Writing
Song of Daphne
Heibein, Guest Reporter • April 22, 2024

What will you do, when he’s coming for you? Oh, Daphne. What will you do? He’s bright as the sun, nowhere to run. Oh, Daphne. What...

Career Profile: Jennifer Clark, Anthropologist at the Smithsonian
Career Exploration
Career Profile: Jennifer Clark, Anthropologist at the Smithsonian
Zack Dabrowski, Staff Reporter • April 22, 2024

It was a bright sunny day in East Africa and Jennifer Clark was about to make one of her coolest discoveries yet: the skeleton of a fossil elephant...

Koibots Get Loud at District Championships
Clubs & Extras
Koibots Get Loud at District Championships
Clara Golner, Staff Reporter • April 22, 2024

On Thursday, April 4, at 6 am, thirty-one ACC students and two adults boarded a bus to Petersburg, Virginia, for Chesapeake District Playoffs....

Career Profile: Cathy Pinskey, Director of Mason Facilities
Career Exploration
Career Profile: Cathy Pinskey, Director of Mason Facilities
Maggie Odar, Lead Designer, Reporter, Editor, Social Media Manager • April 22, 2024

Pursuing a career in architecture can often feel like putting all your eggs in one basket. However, Cathy Pinskey shows that architecture is...

Five Star Flavors From ACC Culinary

Here at ACC, our Culinary Arts & Sciences program provides students with comprehensive knowledge of the culinary arts and the hospitality industry surrounding them. To give students hands-on experience with different cooking techniques, they participate in numerous labs preparing a wide variety of dishes from baked goods to braised meats. As with anything, favorite labs rise up within the opinions of the different class levels.

One of the most popular labs across the board is the fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. Naturally, you spend the class baking a batch of tender chocolate chip cookies. However, you also spend the week exploring the different techniques that give the cookies their distinctive flavor and texture. This includes the specific mixing method to ensure a tender gooey cookie, where you cream softened butter and sugar together before carefully alternating the addition of the remaining wet and dry ingredients. This helps avoid the over-development of gluten proteins in the flour, keeping the cookies soft. Additionally, you ensure the cookies all bake evenly by leveling off every scoop of batter and chilling the cookies before baking. This means all the cookies will be of a uniform size, shape, and temperature when they are put into the oven. 

Chef Randolph, the instructor for ACC’s culinary program, is particularly fond of the braised short ribs. Here, students explore the combination cooking technique used to break down connective proteins and develop deep, complex flavors resulting in tender, flavorful short ribs. Between searing the ribs to develop a deep brown crust, creating a flavorful braising liquid with homemade stock, and the extensive cooking time, these techniques result in ribs that fall apart with the touch of a fork. The greatest key to this recipe is the endlessly fascinating Maillard reaction. Through the complicated reactions that occur when the amino acids and sugars in food are heated, numerous new aromas and flavors are created in the process we recognize as browning. This is the reaction that gives bread its burnished crust, marshmallows their crispily toasted exteriors, and these ribs their exquisite flavor.

Diving back into pastry, the cake lab continues the exploration into baking mastery like the effects of different kinds of flour or leavening agents. However, the star of this lab is the decoration practice. From a smooth crumb coat to more intricate details like rosettes and borders, this lab looks to nail down the basics of pastry decoration. Along with decorating, this lab also entails greater creative freedom in the coloring, design, and piping of your cake, allowing you to make it completely your own. If one chooses to eventually take Level 3 Baking and Pastry, this lab is massively upscaled into a student-designed multi-tiered cake. Over several weeks, students plan out everything for their cake from batter and fillings to frosting and decoration. At the end of the lab, students feel the satisfaction of taking something from a simple sketch to a tangible real-world creation.

In one of the most hands-on labs, students participate in the entire process of making pasta from raw ingredients to a completed dish. First, starting with the very dough itself, you mix and knead it until it is soft and supple. After resting the dough, it is passed through a pasta roller to form thin sheets. These pasta sheets are then cut into noodles, anything from ribbons to spaghetti, before being quickly cooked in boiling water and tossed in a cheesy sauce. The tender, bouncy texture of these noodles is created through the formation of gluten. As opposed to tender baked goods like cookies and cakes, the tight interlocking network of proteins is most desirable in pasta. As water is added to flour, glutenin molecules unfurl and begin to tangle into longer threads. Mixing the dough further encourages the glutenin until it forms a tight network. After the hard work of developing this gluten, you’re rewarded with airy breads, chewy pizza crusts, and springy noodles.

In this next lab, the elastic power of gluten is instead utilized to form the thin chewy crust of an oven-baked pizza. After thoroughly kneading the dough to develop the ever-important gluten, the crust is gently rolled into a flat sheet before being slathered in tomato sauce and other toppings. Then students utilize a pizza peel to thrust their creation into the roaring hot oven, ensuring a crisp brown crust and gooey melted cheese. After retrieving the pizza from the oven, everyone sits down to enjoy their pizza together while laughing and chatting. These are the memories that the Culinary Arts class strives to create, the ones of friends gathered together around a shared passion and good food. The most important part of the class is the experiences you have and how you carry them with you moving forward.

Every day, we repeat the fifty-million-year-old tradition of sharing food with those we care about, a tradition started by our distant ancestors. Food has always been and will continue to be a universal connection between all of humanity, so at ACC we explore not just the science and business of food but also how it draws a community together.

About the Contributor
Aston Parish
Aston Parish, Staff Reporter
Aston is a senior at Arlington Tech and a level three Culinary: Baking and Pastry student. Fascinated by the intertwining between food and culture, he is hoping to major in food studies. He is always interested in trying new things anytime, such as with food, games, or books. Then he attempts to convince his friends to try them too, often met with much exasperation.