Meal Madness: Round 1—Go!

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!)

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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!

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We’re pleased to announce that Cookology will be moving onto the next round tomorrow! Stay tuned for what we have in store!

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Introducing Fish & Chicken: The Two Simple Essentials

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During this past Thursday’s Food Lab, Cookology members spent their evenings recreating Chef Brian Huston’s ribollita and learning how to cook the perfect salmon and chicken breast! We finally reached our class on proteins and were thrilled to see that our members were as excited about it as we were!

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Cookology execs tried a different organization of Food Lab this time around: we set up a ribollita station and a protein station, and members were split into two teams and switched stations at the halfway point. Members at the ribollita station learned about knife maintenance and the ideal knives/cutting boards, while those at the protein station discovered the importance of temperatures, timing, and herb flavorings.

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Overall, this new organization went more smoothly than we had imagined! We were very happy to hear that our fellow chefs were walking away having learned new skills and facts (as well as to share a hearty staff meal together)!

Boltwood’s Hearty Ribollita and Savory Pickled Zucchinis

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Chef Brian Huston from Boltwood came in this past Thursday to teach our members how to make a wonderful ribollita (Tuscan bread soup) and pickled zucchinis with mustard seeds and turmeric. It was our first time using the demonstration kitchen so graciously provided by Whole Foods; the vastness and practicality of the space itself, as well as the organizational work put in by Whole Foods staff, made our evening go all the more smoothly!

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Cookology members crowded around Chef Brian as he prepped and cooked the ingredients for his dishes, listening to his rigorous yet often humorous account of his culinary roots and career. We were thrilled to learn about the five-course dinners he cooked for his friends (*and past love interests*) shockingly using only one pot when he was in college! His experiences working with Charlie Trotter, and in the famed Blackbird and Publican in Chicago kept us on the edge of our seats — humoring, scaring, and inspiring us all at once!

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We cannot thank Boltwood and Whole Foods Evanston enough for helping us put this demonstration together! Our members had a great time and will be dropping by Boltwood to catch a dinner in the near future!

Experiments with Gnocchi and Soufflé

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Food Laboratory: a time of open kitchen space when Cookology members can experiment with various ingredients to put a special twist on standard dishes. For our first food lab of the quarter, Cookology execs demonstrated knife safety, a simple gnocchi, and a chocolate soufflé to help build basic and technical skills in the kitchen.

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The air was filled with the smell of fried gnocchi and vegetables, as well as the sound of our members fearlessly beating meringue to stiff peaks by hand. (We were extremely amazed at their insistence upon doing so despite the availability of electric mixers. Now that’s dedication!)

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The creativity showcased that night was absolutely brilliant! Three-course meals came out from each team, and every smoothie, gnocchi combination, and soufflé flavor was different from the next! After a long evening of hard work, we all tasted the dishes and ate a well-deserved staff meal of roasted chicken and salad. We couldn’t have asked for a better food lab to start off our year!

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Dining at a Hidden Gem

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!

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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!

Our Fall Quarter Kick-off!

The day had finally come — our first club event as an official student group! We kicked off fall quarter with a short info session in Parkes Hall, followed by a Chopped-style cooking social for our potential members to get familiar with the kitchen and with each other.

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We have to admit it was daunting to supervise over 30 students in the kitchen, but it was worth every minute. Everyone made great use of the pantry and wow’d us with their beautifully delicious dishes! Take a look below at their creations!

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Cookology wants to extend a special thanks to everyone who attended the event and to Northwestern Dining for providing us with the pantry and making all of this possible. We’re looking forward to seeing our members’ skills grow even stronger with the events we have planned for the rest of the quarter!

Activities Fair 2014!

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Cookology’s first time at Activities Fair was rather hectic but exhilarating; we all reported promptly to the Norris kitchen at 8:30AM to prepare hors d’oeuvres for our potential new members. Our goal was to finish over 300 servings of butternut squash ravioli and citrus spinach smoothie before setup at 12:30. We were grateful that Northwestern Dining provided all the ingredients we requested—as well as more than we requested—and that Chef Pedro, the executive chef of the catering team and our supervisor of the day, gave us tips and showed us around the kitchen. It was fun to work hard with our team, and to talk to the Norris kitchen cooks about their experiences in the culinary world.

As we found out at the fair, student reception to the idea that there is a culinary group on campus was extremely positive! We ended up getting over 400 sign-ups for our mailing list and many yes’s to our upcoming info session and cooking social. We were pleased to see students so excited about Cookology and can’t wait for our fall quarter events to get rolling!

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