Culinary Arts students draw on a variety of prompts when looking for inspiration. For five second-year students in the Professional Food Service Operations course, inspiration came via a game of chance. As the spring semester came to a close, culinary instructor, Chef Victoria Monico, invited her students to participate in an exercise in creativity. Monico placed five slips of paper into a hat and asked each student to select one.
Each slip of paper listed a course:
Monico then instructed her students to prepare a signature dish for their respective course that best described their culinary style and personality. Collectively, this five course meal was presented at an intimate dinner party for close friends and family at the Culinary & Event Center. There were a couple of additional caveats for this project. All of the courses needed to have some level of collective cohesiveness and each dish was required to be prepared live in front of an audience of invited guests in the demonstration kitchen.
Events like the Chef’s Table dinner were common in SUNY Broome’s Hospitality Department pre-Covid. Sadly, for many of the students graduating in 2022, experiential learning through culinary events were put on hold due to social distancing precautions. Chef Monico wanted her students to have the opportunity to showcase their culinary knowledge to the people who supported and encouraged them along the way, and thus she created the mini-Chef’s Table demonstration dinner.
The appetizer course was prepared by Brianna Corbin and was a spicy chicken croquette served on top of a red cabbage slaw. Corbin’s dish was an elevated recreation of her favorite appetizer, buffalo egg rolls, from McGirk’s Irish Pub.
The spicy chicken croquette was followed by Maggie Shea’s poached pear and arugula salad. The salad was accompanied with prosciutto e melone and was finished with a fresh basil vinaigrette. Shea’s homemade dressing was so light and flavorful that guests wished that it could be bottled and purchased.
Andrew Henry is an aspiring BBQ master, so when he selected the pasta course out of Chef Monico’s hat, he knew that he wanted to incorporate his love for BBQ into his dish. Henry prepared fresh gnocchi in a cream sauce accompanied with smoked pulled pork.
Guests savored an entrée crafted by Ryan Skinner of pan seared scallops presented on a cauliflower puree with asparagus and a mini arugula salad. Skinner’s dish beautifully balanced the feeling of being both light, but filling.
A lover of baking, Amaya Hughes was pleasantly surprised when she pulled the slip assigning her to prepare the dessert course. The five course meal ended with a chocolate ganache brownie finished with a salted caramel sauce and homemade butter pecan ice cream.
All in attendance left the Chef’s Table demonstration dinner overwhelmingly impressed and with stomachs full. Chef Monico and her students are looking forward to future creative events in the upcoming fall semester.
Are you interested in pursuing a career in culinary or hospitality? SUNY Broome is still accepting applications for the Fall 2022 semester! Learn more about SUNY Broome’s Hospitality Programs Department.