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Breakers Master Sommelier Teaching in Orlando

February 19th, 2009 · 2 Comments

A new culinary school is opening in Orlando where wine is given its own focus, and one of Palm Beach’s own is set to head up the sommelier program.

Andrew McNamara

Andrew McNamara

Just opened is the Professional Culinary Institute, a chef-owned school out of Campbell, Calif. The first program to launch will be a certified sommelier program led by a former Breakers sommelier, Andrew McNamara.

He’s a wine whiz kid. In 2007, he became the 10th person to win the Krug Cup, an award given to students who passes the Master Sommelier exam on the first attempt. He was named one of Wine & Spirits magazine’s “Best New Sommeliers” for 2008.

PCI’s class is the only one in the world certified by London’s Court of Master Sommeliers, the organization that awards graduates the top title in the world of wine – Master Sommelier. The class is open to two dozen students the first time around.

Culinary and pastry open in spring

In April, the school’s culinary and pastry arts programs start with 16 students in each class. Certified Master Chef Klaus Freidenreich, formerly of the Art Institute in Fort Lauderdale, heads up the culinary, and Certified Master Pastry Chef Chris Northmore, who was pastry chef at one time for Palm Beach’s Everglades Club and has won multiple gold medals in pastry at the Culinary Olympics, will lead the pastry program.

Eventually, PCI Orlando will offer full- and part-time programs in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts and sommelier certification.

The school is overdue in Orlando — so many of Florida’s culinary jobs are  here, thanks to the theme parks and restaurant breeding grounds; Disney World is where a number of culinary students from around the world come to intern. But few schools will focus as widely on the wine program as this one purports to do.

European methods

The institute will teach by the Artisense method, used in Europe for apprentices — a training system of “explanation, demonstration and execution.” Many students will have the opportunity to intern at the critically acclaimed Doc’s Restaurant. The PCI teaching and restaurant facilities are located on two floors of the building.

Neil Connolly, chef of Doc’s Restaurant, was instrumental in opening the Orlando branch of the school, and said, “The Professional Culinary Institute will be great for the Orlando area – the school is bringing in the top people in the field to create a first-rate teaching environment for the students, and that’s what excites me,” Connolly says. “We at Doc’s are thrilled to be adding to the learning experience by bringing in celebrity chefs for wine-pairing dinners and demonstrations.”

PCI Orlando

  • 1315 S. Orange Ave., Orlando
  • Phone: 888-PCI-LEARN; web site: www.pcichef.com

Tags: Food People

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 A (no more) PCI Student // Jun 11, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Just FYI, McNamara has left PCI a while ago, and PCI is shuttering the whole program in Orlando amidst financial troubles “at home” in California.

    I don’t think I saw Bo Fridberg more than once in my time at PCI, our pantry got emptier and emptier as we entered this year, and recently, I hearsay, a lot of Chefs, including the iconic Chef Battista were let go.

    Apologies for the anonymity, but considering the attitude and personal attacks some of my colleagues received for even mentioning the troubles PCI is in, I prefer to violate my own ethics and appear less credible over having my employed called or paperwork “lost”.

    http://www.scottjosephorlando.com/news/78-scotts-news/324-professional-culinary-institute-to-close-orlando-operations should at least prove part of my claims.

  • 2 David Korb // Aug 26, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    It is ashamed that anonymous comments of a negative nature can be posted to a publication without verification. The decision to close the Orlando school was strictly related to the economy. If you look at the Yelp website or the Facebook postings, you will see that PCI of Silicon Valley, continues to be the premier choice for a world class culinary education at an affordable price. Not a single PCI culinary staff member in California has been let go, and the enthusiasm for providing a truly career focused education in a state of the art facility has never been greater. We invite people to see for themselves. Compare PCI to any other culinary school and we are confident who you will choose. Our graduates appreciate the individual attention they receive in our small classes and enjoy the reputation of being their “best trained graduates” by restaurant owners from California to New York.

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