Last quarter’s Basics left Cookology members with a desire to discover the present culinary world―rife with techniques pioneered by beloved chefs like Thomas Keller and the molecular gastronomical gurus of our day such as Heston Blumenthal and Grant Achatz.
Inspired by the chefs’ modern signature dishes, the Cookology members put together a sous-vide and basic spherification food lab this past Thursday.
The night started off with a short introduction about the wonders of sous-vide cooking. We then split up our group into different teams, each team packing their salmon fillets and chicken breasts with a variety of ingredient and sear conditions. Taste and texture tests later determined our preferred goodies to bag with the fish and chicken.
To explore basic spherification, the members created cucumber mint caviar and butternut squash soup one-biters. The faces of our tasters betrayed their surprise at the literal explosion of flavors in their mouths. (Not to mention the direct spherification process brought uncanny visual satisfaction to everyone in the room.)
Amusement aside, our Modernist Food Labs will continue the rest of this quarter, and the Essentials classes will begin this coming Monday. Stay tuned, folks!
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!
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!
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!
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!