Monday, November 20, 2006
A Mediterranean Cruise with The Students of Kendall College
For more than 20 years, the nationally acclaimed The School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College has prepared culinary professionals. Graduating students have extensive, structured training in the culinary arts, the professional techniques, skills, attitude, and knowledge necessary for success in today’s culinary business world. As part of their later training, the kitchen and ‘the front of the house’ of the Zagat-rated Dining Room are fully staffed by Symposium Class Culinary students, supervised by instructors.
On 20th November the Chicago Chapter was welcomed to Kendall by the Dean of the School of Culinary Arts, Chris Koetke, CEC, CCE, and Stephen Grand Pré, Dining Room Instructor. Chef Instructor Massimo Bosco was busy in the kitchen, supervising the student chefs who had collectively designed our unique menu based on the techniques and training of their current Semester’s focus. Collaborating closely was our Vice-Conseiller Culinaire David Danielson as liaison ensuring complete communication between students, faculty and our Chapter.
Our evening began with guided tours of the state-of-the-art facility, with its 16 professional kitchens, multimedia-equipped auditorium, wine room, and fully equipped classrooms. That evening we welcomed a very high percentage of the Chapter’s professional members representing leading Chicago hotels, free-standing restaurants and private city and country clubs. This was a testament to the importance of culinary education and the future of fine dining. To see the support of the local hospitality community bolstered the relationship between the Chaine in Chicago and this leading teaching establishment which has already graduated many highly successful and notable chefs.
As we moved to the dining room, we were treated to the magnificent view of the Chicago skyline while we enjoyed the passed hors d’oeuvres and André Clouet Grande Reséve Brut Bouzy Champagne. Following a toast proposed by Dean Chris Koetke, the focus on Mediterranean cuisine soon became evident. Spain provided a tapa of Tomato caper samfaina with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese, paired with a Manzanilla sherry, Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana.
Our next stop was Italy, where “Fruitti di Mare” – brined shrimp, octopus, calamari – with wilted arugula and charred radicchio - were served. Graziano Monte Volpe Mendocino 2005 Pinot Grigio accompanied it.
North Africa inspired the Charmoula Glazed Sea Bass, served over grilled eggplant & Tunisian couscous, in a sahka spiced broth. Selecting a wine for this dish, with its flavors of cumin, chili flakes, garlic, saffron accompanying the sea bass was particularly difficult. But, as usual, Vice-Chancelier Argentier Mon Roldan was particularly successful in finding Tocai Friulano, Graziano Monte Volpe Mendocino 2001, which stood up to the spices, but did not overwhelm the delicate bass.
Greece was next on our tour, sending us slow-roasted peppercorn crusted lamb loin, accompanied by a fabulous kefalotiri potato ‘Moussaka’, held together with a béchamel touched with nutmeg and cinnamon.
Who better to provide the cheese course but France? A trio of fine French cheeses made from cow, sheep and goat milks was served with the compatible partner of a 1989 Château Gruaud-Larose St.-Julien.
As our tour comes to an end, we stopped in Italy for dessert. The combination of chocolate and lemon is irresistible. A box formed from chocolate almond Florentine was filled with tartufo; to the side, was a round of olive oil ice cream, accompanied by a lemon thyme and Meyer lemon marmalade sablée; cocoa nibs, dolcetto caramel and lemon caramel garnished the plate. An unctuous Muscat, Chambers Rosewood Vineyards Rutherglen was a perfect companion to this final stop on our travels.
Vice-Conseiller Culinaire David Danielson provided an informative food commentary and Vice-Chancelier Argentier Mon Roldan displayed once again his broad knowledge of wines. The challenge of pairing fine wines with assertively spiced dishes is known to all who enjoy them.
Accolades were vigorous for these remarkably talented and motivated students who had planned and served such a lovely evening for us. Their enthusiasm and desire were refreshing as they interacted with members, answered questions and spoke of their future plans. As an international organization, part of our pride within the Chaîne should be to recognize, encourage, and support talented young men and women within the field of the culinary arts and the hospitality industry, reinforcing our mission to show our respect for these young chefs and sommeliers of tomorrow.