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Guest Chefs and Theory Classes

Cod & Squab sampler dishes from the guest chef

This past week we had the first guest chef event of the school year, and our first “theory class”. Let me just say, I love theory classes. We spent two hours this time talking about butter and sugar. TWO HOURS! BUTTER! SUGAR! I was in heaven. Even more luckily, we had the young chef who’s definitely cut out for this type of thing, and I had just a great time learning about fat content in butter, sugar processing methods, etc. Sacrilegious discovery: molasses is not used in baking or cooking here (I knew that), but rather, is fed to cows as an unwanted by-product in sugar processing. What?! I think the chef could see my face looking slightly crushed upon hearing this, and I swear he almost smirked.

The guest chef event was also really neat. The chef was from a Michelin-starred restaurant in Avignon, who also happens to be a good friend of a cuisine chef here at the school. His specialty is truffles and tomatoes, and he showed us many different types of tomatoes. Apparently at the tomato board of the EU (or something to that effect) where he is a prominent member, there are over 2,500 types of seeds available for tomatoes. Crazy! He handed out his recipes and set to work with his pastry chef at the same time, plus lots of help from kitchen assistants and chefs at the school. It was chaotic up front at the kitchen, with lots of action in all directions and the translator rattling off to stay with the two chefs. My friend and I attended, but decided not to take notes, which was a really good idea. There was no way I could’ve captured everything and enjoyed the session at the same time.

At the end, just when it looks like the chef has only cooked enough for 4 people, the assistants brought out pre-made portions enough for the whole demonstration room! So we all got little samplers of the three dishes. This experience immediately moved future guest chef events up to “must-attend” events on my list. Free samples of different dishes from Michelin-starred restaurants? Sign me up, every time!

Dessert: shortbread biscuit topped with tomato sorbet, lemon-basil cream, mustard syrup, and a tomato meringue. Doesn’t sound too dessert-like, but it was perfectly light, sweet, and delicious. I wanted all of the leftover sorbet. And maybe the meringue too.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Nicole Sunday 11 September 2011, 20:50

    wishing i had two bowls of the pesto puff pastry rounds and tomato basil meringue…

  • Julie Thursday 22 September 2011, 13:42

    hmm – what an awesome bonus to go along with the pastry! :)
    am loving the blogging and photo-documenting. I always like seeing what’s next. yum.

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