In lieu of Valentine’s Day, Cookology members launched a romantic on-campus popup restaurant sponsored by Northwestern Dining. Student chefs and hosts alike spent months perfecting the dishes and setting the atmosphere for a warm dinner. After several grueling and exciting nights of preparation, we arrived at the kitchen ready to run our service!
The weather was blisteringly cold, but our guests trekked through the snow and down the stairs to Amoureux. The hosts greeted them at the entrance of the restaurant, taking their coats and politely bringing them to their seats in a transformed Willard Dining Hall.
With the room dimmed and tables laced with gorgeous red petals and flickering tea lights, Cookology served the first course: an amuse-bouche of french onion foam, goat cheese chive profiterole, and watermelon gazpacho.
Guests could witness the sense of urgency in the open kitchen as the chefs plated the upcoming appetizer: scallops with morel sauce and lemon verbena on a bed of pebbles (for that seaside nostalgic kick).
The savory scents of a beef Wellington was next to leave the kitchen. Charred carrots and red wine reduction surrounded the pink beef en croute atop a generous amount of buttery potato puree.
The Wellington was followed shortly by crisp, golden poached pears with strawberry ice cream and macerated blueberries.
…And what better way to end a dinner than with little bites of heaven? These Grand Marnier canelés went out to tables filled with conversation and laughter.
It was quite a sight to see couples, friends, and family all enjoying a cozy dinner together! On behalf of everyone in Cookology, we want to thank you for choosing to spend your special day in Restaurant Amoureux!
Since our last update about the student cooking competition Meal Madness, the Cookology team moved onto the semi-finals! Their entry was a composed rutabaga cardamom soup captured in an upside-down shot glass and surrounded by croutons, pickled apples, edible flowers, and grated nutmeg. The presentation is a homage to Grant Achatz’s style when he was leading Trio in Evanston, now Quince.
The Cookology team next advanced to the final round of Meal Madness held in the student center of Northwestern University. The team took out the big guns, i.e., an immersion circulator, and worked to prepare a teriyaki-glazed salmon with wasabi cream, beetroot puree, and apple salad; all the while, providing samples to over 80 students that dropped by to watch the competition.
We are very happy to announce that in an exciting and long final round, the Cookology team is the victor of Meal Madness 2014! We want to thank Northwestern Dining for this great opportunity that they have provided Northwestern students not only to express their culinary creativity, but also to work with the beloved chefs and staff that have been supporting the campus. Cookology had an amazing time!
To learn more about the Cookology members that competed in Meal Madness and what makes them so passionate about food, be sure to check out this interview conducted by Northwestern Dining.
Last Thursday, Chef Mark Grosz from Oceanique taught our members and guests from Northwestern’s French department how to prepare scallops with watercress, fruit marmalade and saffron beurre blanc, as well as a simple yet elegant chocolate pot de crème.
During the demonstration, Chef Mark allowed us to pick his brain about recent trends in food, what it takes to run a restaurant, how to draw inspiration from different cuisines, and the importance of cooking from the soul. His stories from his travels in Hong Kong and France were particularly insightful; it was easy for us to see how his French and Asian background continues to influence Oceanique’s inventive fusion cuisine.
All in all, it was another highly successful evening with another prolific Evanston chef! Thank you again to Chef Mark, the Northwestern Cercle Francophone and Whole Foods for making this incredible evening happen!
Cookology has sent two representatives to participate in Meal Madness, Northwestern Dining’s student cooking competition! Our entry into the first round was a beet salad: a strudel inspired by Chef Bruno Albouze with a beet puree and greens. (This dish will also be included on our vegetarian menu for our pop-up restaurant during the beginning of December!)
From our plating practice the night before the first round.
Despite some logistical hiccups with setting up our booth in Sargent dining hall, we were able to get our dish together in time for the judges. The competition itself was extremely fun, and we were pumped to finally show NU students, staff, and faculty both the vision of our group and the growing skills of our members!
We’re pleased to announce that Cookology will be moving onto the next round tomorrow! Stay tuned for what we have in store!
This past Thursday, we met up with our members on the L to head to a restaurant in uptown Chicago. Located quietly at the corner of a strip mall, Dong Ky Chinese & Vietnamese Restaurant is a favorite of Cookology’s co-founders. It stands unassuming with its neon lights and ‘street food’ feel, but its menu boasts highly affordable prices and amazing variety!
Several of our members opted for traditional Vietnamese noodles that ranged from pho to mi and beef stew. Others went for delicious rice plates that sported tender pork chops and salads, or crepes filled with bean sprouts and pork belly. For many, this was their first time eating Chinese-Vietnamese cuisine, but we all walked away with both our minds and stomachs very satisfied!
Besides just coming out for a great dinner, we were able to learn more about our new fellow chefs and what their interests are in cooking! Stay tuned; new ideas for Cookology are growing by the minute!