A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Chef John Foster: Cooking is art and will always need a human touch, despite advent of cooking robots

I just finished reading an article about robots making food and I must confess that I’m a bit freaked out. I like the idea of consistency as much as the next chef or restaurateur but the thought of gleaming, sleek machines pumping out food at an accelerated rate with very little human involvement blurs the lines of the creative process. Someone has to set the concept, something could do the heavy...

Chef John Foster: Having two jobs (teaching, owning a restaurant) means work is always on the mind

As I write this, Sullivan University is on break. I find myself at a loss for what to do as my work often dictates what I do with myself when I’m on break. I know I’ll be at work in the restaurant tonight, but what to do with the rest of my day? The answer is complex, and multilayered, nothing as simple as lying in bed until noon eating bonbons (not that I ever did that!). And yes, the answer...

Chef John Foster: Late summer, early fall offer the perfect opportunity to kick up the heat in the kitchen

Hard to remember that a few weeks ago I was writing about cooler weather and the change of seasons. It’s hot and steamy, and not much fun to eat and cook in. The bugs have been much worse than in the past so grilling out has become a test of our willpower versus theirs. We’re a little late for gazpacho. Chilled melon soup has run its course. You can still get watermelon, and cantaloupe, but less...

Chef John Foster: Aw, pumpkins already; seasons wane but summer’s vegetable variety will be missed

I saw my first pumpkin of the season in a neighbor’s front yard and the realization hit me that fall is coming. One of my farmers delivered an order to me this weekend with the warning that they would probably not have any more squash and zucchini this season. Sitting out on my porch this morning at 5 a.m. you could hear the clock tick, and the wheel slowly turn. Into one season and out of...

Chef John Foster: Slow down, stop, reset; embrace the career or walk away? As a chef, find the balance

There comes a time, in every school quarter, when the culinary students slow, and then stop. Some reset, some stagger through, and some never get started again. It’s the same thing in every school, but in a technical school such as culinary, it can mean the difference between embracing the career or walking away. Sometimes it’s the ability and the willingness to soldier on, to slog through the...

Chef John Foster: Trying all kinds of options for making the most of watermelon and cantaloupe

I’ve never been much for the watermelon, cantaloupe buzz. It starts to build this time of year, like the cicadas in my magnolia tree, but by most standards, it doesn’t last as long as most summer produce. People are passionate about it, and the advent of the melon season sure does stir people up. Don’t get me wrong, I do love watermelon and cantaloupe, mostly for the refreshing nature...

Chef John Foster: Peaches, peaches, peaches — grilled, roasted, baked poached (and fresh) are great

I blame it on the canned peaches of my childhood, the soft grey masses of syrupy, sugary fruit that tasted of metal and stale water. With the texture of dense, soggy bread and the viscosity of 10W40, there was an overwhelming feeling of queasiness every time I heard a can being opened and slid into a bowl, like a gator sliding back into the swamp. When my mother canned fresh peaches, the results were...

Sullivan University decreases tuition as result of cost savings generated by recently completed merger

Cost-savings and efficiencies generated by its recently approved merger have allowed Sullivan University to reduce tuition for incoming students this fall. At a time when many schools are raising tuition, Sullivan University will offer the following reduced rates to students enrolling in fall classes: • Undergraduate tuition has been reduced from $395 to $320 per credit hour with the exception...

Chef John Foster: Some creative, tasty options for using all that basil you are growing in your garden

If your garden is like mine, your basil is at this point more of a bush than a plant! Mine started producing early and hasn’t let up. After a brief lull in the very hottest part of the late spring, I thought we might get burnt. But basil is incredibly resilient and like most near weeds it’s hard to kill. From the constant kitchen use at The Sage Rabbit to quarts of pesto for a menu item, you...

John Foster: Losing your way happens, find your center by focusing on what’s right in front of you

Things are a bit unsettled right now. The summer season seems to have accelerated, we’re back in school, and I can’t seem to get my head around events like Burger Week, closely followed by Restaurant Week. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be busy, I can’t stand too much puttering around, (probably not a good sign for my golden years to come) I like to be active and engaged. Sometimes...

Chef John Foster: Revisiting the ‘incredible, edible egg;’ why they belong in balanced, healthy diet

It was at one time “the incredible edible egg,” a multi-purpose package of nutrition and energy. Capable of singlehandedly replacing everything you might choose for breakfast with a single magic bullet of goodness and light. This notion, of course, was ripe for a takedown, nothing could be this perfect. And so, like most icons it has suffered some setbacks over the years, going underground...

Chef John Foster: An amazing experience in Spain, enjoying the people, the scenery, the fantastic food

Spain, was mind-blowing, a trip of a lifetime for me. Prime location in the Basque region, two must-see locations in Bilbao and San Sebastian. From the Guggenheim Museum to the gilt-edged romanticism of a seaport city, it was in many ways eye-opening. It was also a much-needed break and an anniversary with the one person in the world who probably appreciated it more than I did: my wife of 30 years....

Chef John Foster: Seasons press on and so do chefs, the most creative are trained as craftsmen and artists

The sun turns over again and the seasons press on. It’s summer, officially on the 21st of June, but it felt like it on and off since April. The garden sensed it long ago, and some vegetables have just disappeared for the year, waiting until the weather, and the time is right again. Chefs move on as well, sometimes beating the bushes this time of year for the first of the summer vegetables to...

Sullivan University gains approval for merger with Sullivan College of Technology, Spencerian College

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has approved the merger of Sullivan University, the Sullivan College of Technology and Design (SCTD) and Spencerian College into a single entity that will be now known as Sullivan University. The merger will be final on June 22. The current SCTD campus on Atkinson Square Drive will become part of Sullivan University,...

Chef John Foster: Bourdain’s sudden death a cause for self-reflection, his legacy filled with purpose

I’ve been asked several times in the last week to comment on the passing of Anthony Bourdain. The morning the news broke I was far too stunned to say anything, and as the week progressed and the tributes poured in, I struggled to find the words to adequately express myself. It was only after some serious self-reflection that I discovered the reason for my reticence; Chef Bourdain’s life...

Chef John Foster: Yummmm, nothing like fresh summer strawberries to tempt the tastebuds

The image of the strawberry, bright red, plump and glistening with morning dew permeates early summer like a beacon. It says welcome to the warm weather, the summer vacation of mind and body, a sigh of relief that the cold grey weather has finally gone. The first of many berries that will grace our tables this season it holds a place of dominance that few other fruits can. With the exception of the...

Chef John Foster: Summer deluge hits markets, take advantage while you can, especially asparagus

The spigots have been cranked wide open, and the summer deluge has begun to hit the markets and then my restaurant tables. Multiple items that were just a whisper last week arrive almost daily at my kitchen door and the loading dock of the school. Greens, fresh herbs, strawberries, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, leeks and green garlic are now all ably represented on menus around the city. If you’re...

Sullivan University Physician Assist Program gets major accreditation boost

The Sullivan University Physician Assistant Program – which was founded just four years ago –  has received a major accreditation boost. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Sullivan University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Sullivan University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation...

Chef John Foster: What chefs really want and what chefs get when they choose a culinary career

Imagine if you could, an empty table, clear of food, utensils, plates and napkins. A bare table made by hand, highly polished with light and dark swirls running through the reclaimed wood. Now shift gears to an empty prep table in a small intimate kitchen. Gleaming stainless steel, highly polished by years of prep work, wiping down and more prep work. Overhead lights that are just bright enough, and...

Chef John Foster: We love our pasta — in all forms, but we should try risotto for its versatility and taste

We love our pasta, in just about any conceivable way possible to serve it. It doesn’t even matter that for some pasta has become off limits as gluten allergies continue to rise. Those people seek out alternatives, whether it be rice noodles or sweet potato, even lentils! For those who don’t have to worry about gluten, the choices can be almost staggering and include all semolina, whole wheat,...