I have the recipe(s) for making whoopie(s)...

Saturday, March 26, 2011


         I would like to start off with a thank you to the L'ecole, and the French Culinary Institute for a great 30th Birthday! My Husband and I loved the school and we loved the L'ecole. The tour was fantastic. In my greatest fantasies I want to eventually write for recipe books or work on recipe books and work in a test kitchen. That day they were working on their Italian cooking book. That in itself was so great! Then the tour went on to see the Italian Kitchen and they spend some time in the kitchen then they go over to different parts in Italy for their internship.
          If I was single and rich I would probably jump at that opportunity. I spent my JYA in Florence, Italy and for months afterwards I was unable to cope with not being in Italy. I loved living in Florence. But I could not now leave my husband. First of all think about how dirty the house would be after I returned! Then after I get over the fears like he would burn down the house and etc of course emotional I could not be away from my husband. Practicality with a condo and a little Penny puppy. But I did for a second picture myself working and living back in Italy for a time period and know that I would love it!

           After the tour we were outfitted with chef jackets and chef paper hats. It was a lot of fun so we took a couple of pictures of me kissing Jon and entitling them "Kiss the cook." It was fun to go into the class and hear everyone call the chef instructor chef. Lots of "yes Chef!" Jonathan looked great in the chef jacket. I think that he looked like Jacques Pepin's red head grandchild. I tell everyone now that he is but no one knows who he is but I was raised on PBS and did not have cable until I was 27 so I do.
           My husband got to view two levels of classes in his Culinary Arts both level I and level II. He loved the program. They were filleting a rabbit and when talked about it DROOL formed. He learned about canola oil and the benefits of using canola oil. Also the rabbit filleting technique he learned was better than what he had been doing when he filleted a rabbit. Then apparently there was a stuffing they prepared and they rolled the rabbit/tied it with string.
            I was interested in their Classic Pastry arts class so I was fortunate to see the chocolate class that the level IIs were in. The chocolate class was a lot of fun to watch. I liked feeling as if I was back in the art studio again. My favorite things is thinking about how I would do some project with limits and seeing how others do the same project. It was hard not being able to join in but I did learn a lot from some of the techniques taught. I admit I kind of did not know what to do with myself but I was able to easily make friends with the Scientists of the group.
            The class II for Chocolate were so friendly. I loved how a lot of them had me looking at their drawings and how they talked about what got them into the program. Very friendly and funny people were in that class and you could tell (even if they were nervous about starting their new project) that they loved the school/classes. They gave me honest answers and I liked how the evening class was more realistic. The people in the class worked, had families and yet they were in the class. It is good to see that it can be done. They are not Olympians (especially since it is a pastry class with tons of bread and cheese) but they can handle it. People were honest that it was tough, that they studied and it was stressful but that they also enjoyed it.
            My husband's appetite began while he watched the level two's Chef fillet a rabbit. He being a hunter was very interested in how to better improve the taste of what he hunts. He was giddy from the class and I think he is in love with French cooking now. Luckily for my days growing up riding horses and helping out on the farm so I can be okay with this new found future dinner plans.
            The L'ecole was fantastic and please view the menu that we ate. Jock Grundy, the Associate Director of Admissions at The International Culinary Center of New York (Home of The French Culinary Institute and The Italian Culinary Academy), arranged for us to have a 5 course! dinner at L'ecole on the house. We only had to tip our food service and pay for our drinks. Normally it is $45 for the five course dinner because the students of the French Culinary Institute are the chefs of the restaurant. The management and staff is however outside sourced. There were a couple of plates that were not completely perfect like my duck had this potato that was not done all the way through. But for a free meal in NYC I would go back and pay. The table service was great and the restaurant was prettier than I had originally thought. We were seated by the window and we were happily living in Glutton city. We were glad we only had snacks and late breakfast when we started on the second dish!             

             When I changed into my dress for the dinner I had to walk past a table and I happened to walk past Jacques Torres. I was happy enough to walk past him and I asked the Maitre d to confirm if it was in fact Jacques Torres. The Maitre d knew that I was at the French Culinary institute and that it was my birthday. During our fantastic dinner it was so great that Jacques Torres sang "Happy Birthday" to me. It was pretty amazing. I was on the phone trying to firm up after dinner plans when I had to drop the phone when I realized who was singing to me! I was in food geek heaven! The Maitre d helped make my night and I have to thank her very much.
             I had to hold back from licking my plates clean. My husband on the other hand almost could not. He ate everything on his plate and even off of my plate. The food and table service was perfection. Probably at plate two Jonathan said "If you can make something like this then I am signed, you are going to this school."
                I ate: Chicken Consommé with Smoked Mushroom Flan and Gougères as an appetizer, seared tilefish with Jasmine rice and sunchoke-coconut milk Veloute as the Fish Course, Seared Duck Breast with braised duck leg, curried leeks and sweet and sour sauce. Then a digestive salad (I am not one for arugula) that had some sort of cheese gelato with a cracker on top with a poached pear I believe. and we had all the desserts on the menu! You can see how I was just tasting so I would not waste all of the food! I did not like the digestive and I found that the yukon gold terrine was not cooked all the way through. Other than that everything was perfect!
          Jon repeated "if you can make this then it would be worth you going to school here!" often during our dessert which had "Happy Birthday"  written on it and all the other extra desserts that Jacques Torres sent out for us. In fact we had planned before the night to go to Jacques Torres' chocolate store and that sincerity made us promise each other that we would go. However due to the wintry mix with rain we have decided to go another time when the season agrees to be Spring instead of Winter.
            We plan to return to the restaurant for a real night on the town and we recommend it to all of our friends. Jonathan cannot stop talking about the whole experience. We plan to also visit the Jacques Torres Chocolate store as well. I later after indulging in the French Culinary Institute went out with great friends from High School and went to the Pegu Club. It was a great night of food, food geeking and great company.