Starting at about 8:30 this morning about 15 culinary students started dicing, whisking and sauteing fresh ingredients from The Academy of Environmental Engineering at Loften High School. When I walked into the industrial kitchen at 9:30 the whole place was a buzz, almost like it had its own pulse.
The purpose of the tasting was to bring the two magnet programs together to teach them about things like marketing and locally grown foods. In seeing the process from beginning to end, the students received a better understanding of how their skills work in the real world.
Chef Billie DeNunzio, the institute's director, chose interesting and creative recipes even she had never tried:
Braised Kale with Pancetta and Caramelized Onions
Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges and Beet Greens
Braised Turnip Greens with Turnips and Apples
Kohlrabi and Apple Salad with Creamy Mustard Dressing
Potato Stuffed Cabbage Leaf Cage Bundles
Daikon, Carrot, and Broccoli Slaw
Roasted Curried Cauliflower
Pasta and Cauliflower Soup
I observed as all of the kids bustled about, each of them feeling completly at ease in the kitchen. Chef DeNunzio floated around giving advice and watched her students come to life.
At 11:30 when I returned, the Loften students were busy cleaning dishes and helping out. When all the students finally got to sit down around 11:45 the room was all smiles. Many of the students went back for seconds.
My favorite were the Potato Stuffed Cabbage Leaf Cage Bundles. The browing of the potatoes on top add a nice crunch that complemented the crispness of the cabbage.