Mystery Basket and Chef’s Table are two events unique to our Culinary Apprenticeship Certificate program, and our students definitely came ready to impress our taste buds! This final pair of experiences showcase the perseverance of these future culinary stars. The future looks – and tastes – great!
Our spring Mystery Basket event included the usual unveiling of a starch, protein and vegetable. This year, a bonus basket – full of breakfast items – was part of the mix! Students were also challenged with the creation of a dessert.
Main dishes included:
• Poached eggs and honey-glazed bacon on a bed of creamy grits cooked with garlic, shallots, heavy cream, butter and chicken stock
• Scallops cooked in butter and cayenne pepper paired with rice cakes and balsamic-glazed Brussels sprouts
• Desserts included sweet potato casserole with candied pecans and drizzled chocolate and homemade peanut brittle.
Southern food was the theme of Chef’s Table. This invitation-only showcase allows the soon-to-be graduates a chance to invite family and friends to share in the celebration. Students developed a theme-based menu, and this year’s fare consisted of bite-sized flavorful dishes such as Bourbon barbecue chicken skewers and bacon-wrapped scallops. Pam Moss, Culinary Apprenticeship program manager, said Chef’s Table allows students to showcase their own individual “flavor” and styles of cooking.
Because of their hard work, some of our students have received job offers from Canoe and Park 75 – two of the apprenticeship sites. Pam said, “The key to success is professionalism – and these students have it.”
Future chef Paige Pritchard wowed us with her Chocolate Ganache with Expresso topped with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream and Toasted Coconut. Here’s the recipe:
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Milk Chocolate Chips
Granulated White Sugar
Take 1 cup of each type of chocolate chip and mix with a teaspoon of instant expresso. Using the double-boiler method, bring water to a simmer in the first pot. In the second pot, mix heavy cream, chocolate chips, and expresso.
(If you don’t have a double boiler, Paige recommends using a bowl and a pot of water. Just make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water to avoid overcooking the chocolate mixture).
Put chocolate mixture in muffin cups and put in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. While the chocolate cools, mix heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. Whip to desired consistency and refrigerate while you prepare the coconut, which you will toast in a skillet using a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Drain on paper towel.
Remove the chocolate from the freezer and top with the cooled whipped cream and toasted coconut … and dig in!