Prentice Hall, a component of Pearson Education and a major publisher of educational materials for middle schools, high schools and colleges, has published a book by Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES Culinary Arts Instructor Russell Furdell. The book, entitled "The Practical Chef's Reference: A Compendium of Charts, Formulas, and Ratios," is a comprehensive reference guide that contains fundamental information about thousands of ingredients and dishes.
In contrast to a traditional cookbook that encompasses a collection of recipes, "The Practical Chef's Reference" serves as a compilation of detailed information about ingredients at the most basic level. The book includes charts that outline the proper ratios of ingredients in dishes; information and data about individual ingredients, such as weight/volume, yields, market forms, pH, and brix; and information about how ingredients relate to one another and will affect the overall dish. The 432-page reference guide is divided into 34 chapters, each encompassing a fundamental subject, such as Custard (Chapter 8), Pasta Products (Chapter 22), Sanitation (Chapter 25) and Yeast (Chapter 34).
According to Prentice Hall, "The Practical Chef's Reference" was developed "to address the need for a compact, single source, comprehensive culinary data reference" and provides "broad coverage of culinary arts fundamentals in an accessible chart format." Furdell, who spent two years working on the book, envisioned the reference guide as a valuable culinary tool for use in restaurants, homes, and especially classrooms. The book can provide culinary students with essential information they would otherwise have to gather from countless other sources.
Furdell teaches culinary arts at the E2CCB Carrier Educational Center in Angola and has a long history in the food service industry and a diverse background. He owned and operated his own distribution company for grocers and restaurants in the 1970s. He opened his own sausage manufacturing business selling from push carts in major cities across the region in the 1980s. He went on to serve as pastry chef at the White Inn in Fredonia and then as quality assurance technician and maple syrup cook for Fredonia's Red Wing Company. He launched his own successful catering business in 1992. Then he went on to teach, earning his master of science degree at Buffalo State University and graduating summa cum laude in 2004.
In 2009, Furdell was named the New York State ProStart Teacher of the Year. ProStart is a national organization that promotes academic excellence among culinary arts students. In addition, Furdell's program has earned certification for the Culinary Institute of America's experience requirement, which enables graduates to enroll at the prestigious college right away instead of having to gain further experience in the food service and hospitality field, which for other students is a strict admissions requirement. Furdell is a resident of Fredonia.