Next week I go back to work and my husband and I decided to mark the occasion by going out to eat. We wanted it to be special so we decided to go to the Dining Room at Kendall College. This college has a culinary arts major and the future chefs who are in their last two semesters work in the kitchen at The Dining Room as a kind of final exam. The waitstaff are majoring in hospitality. The cost is half as much as would be charged in any first rate/ high class restaurant in the city and the tips go towards scholarships for students at the school.
The kitchen for the restaurant was just built a year ago and the end facing the restaurant is glassed in so that you can watch the young chefs preparing your meal. We asked for a table right in front of this glass. I asked my husband to take pictures of the meal in case I wanted to blog about it.
To make a long story short our three and a half hour meal was simply incredible. As my husband took pictures, the kitchen became curious and perhaps believing we were some kind of food critics, began to send lots of comped food to our table. The chef instructor, Benjamin Browning (what a great name for a chef), came to our table explaining all the processes (like the preparation of guanciale, for example) and ingredients. We were curious about everything on the menu and so Chef Browning made sure every single appetizer came to our table as well as every single dessert. I think I need to repeat that. He sent every appetizer and dessert listed on the menu to our table…for free.
OK let’s get down to the details:
Later in the evening, Chef Browning came out and shared that the kitchen asked him why he was treating us so specially. He told them it was clear that we were “foodies.” We were having a wonderful time exploring the tastes and combinations (pepper fool for dessert!?!), enthusiastically sharing dishes and ideas about how we might use these different flavors in our own cooking. The glass wall revealed the chefs-in-training working on our meals. It also allowed all of them to see us totally immersed in the sensual experience of eating.
I have been a teacher for almost 30 years but I have never tasted more delicious homework.