Monday, October 20, 2008
Maitre de Table Christopher Koetke*
Charcuterie 101 at Kendall College
For lovers of charcuterie, the October dinner at Kendall College was made in heaven! We went back to school to learn tricks of the trade as we watched Maître de Table Christopher Koetke, Dean of the School of the Culinary Arts at Kendall College, demonstrate the making of sausages and charcuterie. No sooner had we seen the painstaking steps of preparation than we were served a mouth-watering degustation of galantine, headcheese, rillettes, chicken, duck and country patés, and a beautiful slice of saucisson de Lyon en brioche, passed down along our school desks with chilled glasses of crisp Chardonnay, Domaine de Bernier Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France, Loire 2006. School was never before so delicious, thanks to the efforts of our own Chef Rôtisseur Marc Mageira, and Chef Massimo Bosco – both chef instructors at Kendall - and their talented students. Bailli Jane Tracy presented Dean Christopher Koetke with a check for $2000 for the Scholarship Fund of Kendall College knowing that our future culinary excursions may be greatly enhanced by the talents of Kendall students.
Bailli Tracy introduced guests from the Cincinnati Bailliage—-Bailli Irwin Weinberg and his wife Barbara and Vice-Chargé de Missions Clint Haynes—-and also our professional members. The guests included graduates of Kendall College where, as we soon experienced, “magic happens every day.”
Moving from the schoolroom to the dining room, we were then treated to a series of courses devoted to the theme of charcuterie. After a refreshing green salad as an intermezzo, we were served a grilled Merguez sausage—-a common food in Morroco that blends many complex flavors. Sweet onions, couscous with raisins and almonds, roasted artichokes and a rose petal garnished this lovely dish, and we tasted both Pale Ale, Goose Island Beer Company “Matilda” Belgian Strong Style and also Morgon, Guy Breton Vieilles Vignes 2005 with it. The ale cooled the spiciness, while the Morgon was light and satisfying on the palate.
Next a classically-inspired venison pithiviers featured a rich forcemeat wrapped in pastry and baked in the oven, enriched further by its foie gras poivrade sauce. The Volnay Santenots, Domaine Jacques Prieur 1996 was an elegant and most welcome accompaniment. The sweetbread crepinette raised daily fare to haute cuisine with forcemeat surrounding the sweetbread and garnishes of pickled mushrooms and pig ear, and boudin blanc flavored with black truffles on a bed of savoy cabbage and shredded duck. A “wine made from the heart” beautifully matched this dish; four cases of the Bordeaux, Château Calon-Segur St-Estèphe 1989 had spent more than 15 years in our cellar waiting for this perfect moment to emerge. Even the dessert carried out the evening’s theme with a sweet “charcuterie” degustation. Rolled one-inch sweets filled with chocolate mousse and dusted with powdered sugar became “pigs in blanket.” Orange, crème fraîche, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavored additional faux sausage treats. A 1927 Pedro Ximenez, Alvear Solera provided our final sips in this unique and memorable tour de forcemeat.
Maître de Table Koetke gave the food commentary and Vice Echanson Simeon Roldan discussed the wines. Kendall College students next drew raffle tickets for prize vintage wines. Vice-Conseiller Culinaire David Danielson, who also teaches at Kendall College among his many culinary activities, introduced the student cooks. We thanked them and their creative and inspirational Dean for giving us broad insight into the skill, technique and science that goes into the making of these dishes we so thoroughly enjoyed.