Chef’s Training students Roberta Roberti (text) and Elyse Prince (photos) team up again to give you a recap of a student favorite, the Brunch Class.
Recently, CTP 197 had its brunch, our first opportunity to cook a la carte in real time. We invited friends and family to the school to enjoy our offerings and to see what we’ve learned. Guests ordered off a menu and we worked in the kitchen to give them the best brunch we could muster up. (See our menu below.)
It was a busy day, beginning at 9:15. We had an hour overview of the recipes and how things would work. Then we began prepping. We chopped, measured, assessed components, and discussed presentation of the food. Sometime in the afternoon, we got a 20-minute break (that allowed me to run out for a desperately needed cup of coffee — after all, it was going to be a very busy afternoon).
I was on the crêpe station, and my task was to turn out Moroccan-style chickpea crêpes with mango sauce. The batter was made with chickpea flour and the filling was coconut-curried chickpeas and spinach. The chickpeas, soaked overnight, were ready for a short interlude in a pressure cooker. Then, I sautéed them with onion, curry powder, coconut milk, spinach, and a few other ingredients. That simmered until it was thick and flavorful. The result was a rich and complex flavor, a nice balance between the intense curry and the sweet coconut. I wasn’t sure I’d be crazy about it because coconut curry is not my first choice of flavor profile, but when I tasted it, it really “wowed” me!
My first crêpe was questionable, but by the second one, I had it under control. It was unfortunate that not many people ordered the crêpes—I was looking forward to improving my technique with each one. But the students enjoyed the leftovers. When the time came to start desserts, the Crêpes Suzette turned out to be quite popular, so I stepped in to help with those. Again, my first one was questionable, but each one got a little better.
Everyone did a great job at their stations and we did indeed give our guests a great brunch. It was also an opportunity for students to meet each other’s loved ones. We met husbands, parents, grandparents, and friends. It was nice to see the people who my fellow students have been talking about for months!
At the end, we were exhausted but, I think, exhilarated at our first real meal service. It’s getting better and better.
CTP 197W Brunch Menu
Spinach Salad, Crisped Shiitake Mushrooms, Pickled Red Onions with a Sherry Vinaigrette
Mixed Greens, Roasted Beets and Walnuts with a Creamy Horseradish Dressing and Herbed Goat Cheese on Toast
Omelets with Choice Filling of:
Tofu Scramble with Pine Nuts, Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic, and Spices
Belgian Waffles topped with Fresh Fruit and Whipped Cream
Moroccan Style Chickpea Crepe with Mango Sauce
Tempeh Reuben on House-Made Spelt Bread with Sauerkraut, Pickles, Tomatoes, Avocado and Russian Dressing
Chocolate Pudding with Optional Whipped Cream
Crepes Suzette with Whipped Cream
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