TV’s Top Chefs star in online university

You’ve watched them whip up delectable dishes (and drama) in the Top Chef kitchen. Now, stars of the hit Bravo TV series are ready to school their fans in what could be the beginning of a new trend in online education, reports the Associated Press., formally launching this week, is designed to give users the experience of culinary school at their own pace, with 12 courses covering about 60 hours of content. The site was created by Jeff Goldenberg, founder of Post Oaks Productions, a provider of live and virtual consumer training. He approached Bravo with the concept after getting hooked on the show. Instructors were picked with an eye to their time on the show. The program, which costs $25 a month or $200 for yearlong access, begins with the basics—knife skills, pantry stocking—and moves on to stocks, soups, vegetables, proteins, and dessert before finishing up with global cuisine and advanced techniques. Site users are given written tests to see if they’ve absorbed the material and will be able to upload pictures of their finished work and ask questions on class forums. Though no one can verify whether the dishes produced are hits or misses, coursework must be completed before the next level is unlocked. At the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., communications director Stephan Hengst thought the idea was intriguing. However, the online course “doesn’t necessarily stand up to the rigors of a professional culinary education,” he says…

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