Are you itching to open the next hot Los Angeles brewery but don't know hops from barley? Pining for the mozzarella balls from Mozza 2Go but don't want to venture so far from your La-Z-Boy? Learn to make beer and cheese yourself on a paid vacation from Travel Oregon, the state's industry association for promoting tourism. The seven winners of the association's culinary internship competition, which officially began yesterday, will get to hang out with Oregon artisan food makers for one week (airfare, lodging and a $1,000 meal stipend are included).
Be advised, vacations are not always what they seem, so read the internship descriptions carefully before selecting one. For instance, if you're more the hang-with-a-beer vacation type, you'd be wise to consider the wild salmon fishing trip with boat skipper Lars Robison of Dockside Charters ($1,000 buys a lot of Bud Light). The brewing internship with Full Sail Brewing's brewmaster Jamie Emmerson is geared more towards science geeks. Fermentation lectures and peering under a laboratory microscope are among the promised daily activities.
A week in the Willamette Valley with Penner-Ash wine maker Lynn Penner-Ash is probably best for outdoorsy types as it involves picking fruit under the sweltering Oregon sun. More interested in a chocolate and cheese making internship? Be prepared to milk a teet or two at Rogue Creamery in Southern Oregon followed by chocolate tempering sessions with Lillie Belle Farms' Jeff Shepherd, a self-described “savage Deadhead” with a penchant for Willy Wonka.
But the most intriguing proposition may the “chef week” with Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon Restaurant in Portland. You'll learn to properly prep vegetable and make hollandaise while Rucker shares “the fine art of chef joke-telling.”
Next up at the Hollywood Improv: Chef Comedy Night. “So this home cook walks into a restaurant kitchen….
To Enter: Send a video and 140-character Tweetable summary by September 18 to Travel Oregon describing why you should be chosen for a specific internship.