March 24, 2013

HB Learns: Signature Dishes From NYC Restaurants!

This month I attended yet another wonderful class at the Institute of Culinary Education in Chelsea.  I have to thank Rachel and Jeremy for the awesome gift certificate!  I always love going to the ICE but the hardest part of taking classes there is choosing which one to take from the gigantic recreational course list.  I knew this time that I wanted something totally different than the Fundamentals of Chocolate and Vietnamese classes that I had already taken.  Then I spotted the “Great New York Restaurants’ Signature Dishes” class taught by Chef Loren Banco.  I jumped at the chance to recreate popular dishes from Balthazar, Babbo, Craft, Le Bernadin, and Gotham Bar and Grill. 

So far I’ve only had the chance to dine at Gotham, but after experiencing what it takes to put together each complicated dish I have a lot of respect for the chefs that work at these culinary meccas.   Even dishes that I thought wouldn’t be intricate were, like the salad from Balthazar which required extra special prep thanks to the long list of ingredients, one for every letter in the Balthazar name (B-Beets, A-asparagus, L- lettuce, T-truffle oil, and so on..).  Pretty inventive!

Our class was divided into three groups and my group was in charge of the cooking the monkfish from Le Bernadin, the filling for the Babbo Mint Love Letters (aka ravioli), and baking the warm chocolate cake from Gotham (so good!).  

Throughout the night Chef Loren also gave a host of interesting demos and cooking tips including how to properly roll out pasta dough, fill ravioli, trim and slice hanger steak just like at Craft, and dice an onion (it always looks so easy until you try it yourself, right?!).  Overall the class was very enjoyable, a lot of hard work, and every course of the meal was delicious.   It will definitely be hard figuring out which dish to try at home first now that I have the recipes, and which restaurant to go to first to taste the professional versions!  Thanks to Chef Loren and his assistant Richard for a great time! 

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