As we approached the last couple days of the term at The Chef’s Academy I was thankfully able to pull together a few last minute events for the student’s before they move on.
For the Garde Manger/Classic French cuisine class we did something I called “The Big Plate Up”. It was a challenge between two students in which the pick up of the dish was the focus. The grading was based primarily on plate presentation and execution of prep.
They had one day to plan and prep and then a 15 minute pick up window to get two identical plates out. I had some great Chef’s come down to help me judge the final dishes. It was a great pleasure and honor to have Chef’s Jake Wolf from Capital Club 16 (http://www.capitalclub16.com/Capital_Club_16/Home.html), James Castellow of Zest Cafe and Home Art (http://www.zestcafehomeart.com/) and Njathi Wa Kabui (Chef Kabui) of Organics and Sound (http://organicsandsound.com/) come visit. Being able to listen to them talk a bit about their stories and experiences is so important and motivating to the students and to myself.
Chef Kabui found a good opportunity to discuss food policy and the importance food plays in many other aspects of life and politics. Check it out below…
As the meat fabrication class finishes up, I thought it would be interesting to try to switch gears to get them thinking about their next class which is Baking and Pastry and what better place to do this than Boulted Bread in Raleigh, NC? (http://www.boultedbread.com/#!journey/c24vq)
Baker Josh Bellamy took time out of his crazy day to explain their process with us. He spoke about their humble beginning, the hustle of just getting the doors open and explained why they go the extra mile in order to constantly try to improve the flavor of their dough. These guys win the #flavorfinder award for the month!! Josh explains their process from procuring the correct type of grain, to milling it in-house on their home-made stone mill, the fermentation process they use and why many of their baked products have a bit of a deeper, darker crust.
Friday afternoon I headed out to Chapel Hill, NC to talk with Kathy Ellis Gunn about Midway Community Kitchen (http://www.midwaycommunitykitchen.com/) the amazing place she’s started up in hopes of getting people back in the kitchen cooking again. I loved the space, it’s set up perfectly for teaching classes, holding pop-up events and can also be used as a business incubator. It was a great pleasure speaking with her and getting fired up by her positive energy. I hope our brainstorming session will lead to something fantastic.
When I worked with Chartwells for the Chappel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for a few years I would often enjoy a biscuit or sandwich from Neal’s Deli (http://nealsdeli.com/) and thought I’d stop by for a late lunch before leaving the area, it was amazing as always. I had to snap a pic of Chef/Owner Matt Neal’s shirt before heading out…
Raleigh NC is changing so quickly that it’s becoming pretty difficult to keep up with all the latest openings. Since my neighbor, Andrew Shepherd clued me in about his latest venture I’ve been waiting patiently in anticipation. He mentioned it was going to be a cafe that serves breakfast and sandwiches and would be located in The city market district. They named it Cafe Lucarne (https://www.facebook.com/cafelucarne/?fref=ts) I stopped by on Saturday late afternoon to say hi and check it out. I loved the vibe. There’s no doubt that this is my kind of place. You can get good quality food, very well thought out combinations with great flavor at a reasonable price. I had the merguez sausage sandwich and chick pea salad and it was on point! I can see this becoming my new favorite place. I snapped a couple pictures to give y’all a feel of the vibe. It was late in the afternoon so there weren’t too many customers at the time. I don’t think it will matter what time of day it is, I have a feeling that soon enough if they’re open, these guys might not have time to sit down.