Culinary boot camp in Utah gives veterans basic training for careers in the kitchen




It would be another hour before guests began arriving for the cocktail party, yet nervous excitement already filled the room.

Students in Utah’s inaugural Culinary Command — a six-week program that prepares veterans and active military for restaurant, hotel and food-service jobs — would be presenting their food for the first time, and much work still needed to be done: Set out the tray of smoked salmon; plate the chicken pâté and hand-made crackers; pour the vichyssoise into shot glasses and garnish with chive buds.

Besides the food preparation, this group was also bursting to tell visitors some big news. One of the world’s most accomplished chefs, Thomas Keller, founder and owner of The French Laundry and Per Se, would be the speaker — via Skype — at their 12-course graduation banquet and fundraiser on Friday.

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