Farmers, chefs, and distillers will be among the featured instructors at a new educational program for hospitality pros by Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois. The brainchild of Southern Wine & Spirits Master Mixologist Bridget Albert, the Advanced Mixology Culinary Academy (AMCA) is designed to connect the dots between the producers of food and spirits with those preparing and serving guests.
“AMCA students will have varied educational opportunities such as an overnight field trip to visit master sistiller Kevin Smith at the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Kentucky and learn the art and history of distillation,” explains Albert. “They will also work with chefs including Marshall Shafkowitz, Cheryl Corrado and a team of pastry chefs from The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago to master knife skills and the art of pairing cocktails with food.” In addition, participants will learn how to make their own bitters and be presented with an overview of seasonal ingredients by the Chef’s Garden Farmer Lee Jones.
“We are extremely excited about our latest educational initiative — one which has been carefully designed for top chefs, bartenders, sommeliers and mixologists working in today’s beverage and hospitality industries,” notes Will Conniff, executive vice president–general manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois & Kentucky.
The program is not for dabblers. Participants must have completed Southern Wine & Spirits’ intensive Academy of Spirits and Fine Service and be willing to devote 40 hours over 10 weeks to the program. The cost is $650. But for those truly passionate about product, presentation and perfect food and drink pairings, it’s likely worth the investment.