Day One Intro
Welcome to the 2016 Savour the Flavour BlogCast! We have an exciting week ahead of us, and we hope you enjoy hearing all about it, through a multimedia platform of images, words, and videos.
This year's Savour the Flavour Boot Camp is another Outrageously Rural Culinary Experience that promises great food, lots of fun, and many laughs. We are looking forward to working with Chef Chad Stewart in an intensive week long culinary training event that is sure to shift the way we look at the foods we eat, and the way they are prepared forever!
Between July 18th and July 22nd, we, the busy apprentice chefs, will no doubt have plenty of tantalizing information to share with those who follow our day-by-day BlogCast. Watch us engage in a worthwhile experience that builds in-depth culinary skills, and gain confidence as Outrageously Great Chefs!
Here's what's happening in this year's boot camp:
· An opportunity to work with a professional, Chef Chad Stewart of Field to Fork
· Working as part of a team to use The WHOLE Cow!
· And, an opportunity to tell our Outrageous Boot Camp stories on our BlogCast!
Thanks to our sponsors: with your support we are able to hold this Boot Camp!
Today was the very first day of Boot Camp!
We quickly got to work on the delicious lunch we were making.
Matt and Charlotte made Ricotta Cheese, something neither of them had done before!
Everyone stayed very busy in the kitchen; there was always something to do,
whether it was scrubbing potatoes or washing the ever growing mountain of dishes.
They say time flies when you're having fun, and it sure did! Before we knew it, our amazing meal fell together before our very eyes...
We had beef brisket that had been smoked for seven hours, new potatoes in a rainbow of different colours (pink, purple and yellow!), and a delicious side of freshly picked steamed green beans. For dessert, we had a rich and scrumptious lemon pudding cake that paired excellently with the blueberry chiller drink we had with it.
Lidia's favourite part was learning to make Gnocchi. She was amazed that such a simple and easy recipe could be so delicious.
Lucia loved the independence and freedom she was allowed with the recipes; she did not feel confined to following the directions, and instead improvised based on her own tastes and creative ideas.
Nicole enjoyed making the herb salts the best, because she got to grind things up in the food processor. Since we're encouraged to experiment with the recipe, we've decided to add less sage next time. Now we know!
We're especially excited for tomorrow, because Chef Chad said he had a surprise for us! We're also very lucky to be joined by another Guest Chef from Fanshawe College, Troy Spicer. Stay tuned to our BlogCast to find out what we get up to!
If you thought yesterday was exciting, you won't believe what we did today! When we got in, we saw a Beef Hip hanging from the ceiling. We immediately put on our brave faces and prepared to learn how to properly differentiate and cut the sub-primals. Now that was an experience none of us will forget any time soon!
We were very lucky to have the opportunity to do this with Local Grass-Fed Organic Beef. Chef Chad and Chef Troy explained to us that this is the most sustainable and ethical way to consume meat, for the cow and the farmer. Also, the flavour cannot be beat! This gave us better value for our money, so it was an all around win.
At lunch time, after a super busy morning we were rewarded with the fruits of our labour; the most colourful tacos we've ever had, with the Beef we cut earlier on Homemade Corn Tortillas, and Red Cabbage, freshly grated Gouda Cheese, and Garlic-Jalapeno Aoli on top.
Once again, we had Gnocchi but this time it was boiled and served with a very rich Alfredo Sauce. Amazing!
Katrina found learning to cut the meat properly was really interesting. Now she knows where the muscles are. She definitely learned to appreciate where the different cuts of beef come from on the cow.
Caryssa said she was surprised when she walked in and saw the beef hip hanging from the beams! Most of all, she was amazed at how large it was; "When I heard we'd be using a hip, I thought "Oh that can't be too much", but it was almost as big as last year's pig!"
The first word that came to our volunteer Susan's mind when asked to reflect on today’s experience was "Fun!" She commented on how knowledgeable our professional chefs were. "I think everyone learned something today, even me after cooking all my life!"
Day Three started off with a bang! Or maybe it would be better to say it started off with a moo! First thing in the morning, we all piled into the car and went on a super fun (and educational) field trip that Chef Chad organised with Chris, the Beef Farmer who sold us our Beef Hip. Clear Creek Farms is a completely organic farm.
We saw everything from pigs and cattle, to kittens and dogs. We learned about rotational grazing, where the cows only eat in certain pastures at certain times, so they get variety and don't deplete their "salad bars".
Matt thought it was especially interesting to see how the animals were kept, and where his food was coming from. Evan agreed, he said that everything about the farm was just as he would like to expect. He noted, "I think a bigger farm would be much different."
We were really lucky that Chris from Clear Creek Farms was so generous, and allowed us to pick fresh vegetables right from his garden!
After we got back we did a Black Box Challenge using the vegetables Chris gave us, where each pair were assigned one ingredient that they had to use in conjunction with whatever we had in stock to create a unique dish. We were motivated to get creative with our presentation!
Lucas enjoyed the farm as well, but also spoke about the exciting and hectic Black Box challenge. Caryssa and Lucas made No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake.
We're getting into gear for the event tomorrow! This morning was busy and bustling with activity, from making table displays, to menu adjustments. We were definitely on our toes, and ready to improvise with what we had to make sure that Friday's dinner runs smoothly.
For lunch, we had risotto. There's definitely a knack to making this dish, and we were certainly glad that Chef Troy was there to give us tips when we needed it. The secret is mostly the timing when adding the stock, if you add it to infrequently it gets dry; too much, and it becomes sticky. There are no short cuts with Risotto! But, I think we can all say that we're confident that we can make this dish ourselves now.
As the big day approaches, we're undoubtedly thinking about how tomorrow would go. When I asked Nicole, she responded with overwhelming optimism; "Of course it will be great, are you even asking that? This whole week has been great!"
Caryssa felt a little more cautious. "We'll have to be careful and organised the day of." This is true, but we agreed that things would certainly pan out.
The BIG Day is here! What a frenzy of activity today. We divided and conquered to get the work done to ensure that our Celebration Dinner event tonight would be a massive success.
Volunteers helped in the kitchen and in the building where we hosted the event, from cutting vegetables to stringing lights, we couldn't have done it without them!
The cobbler we made out of local plums and blueberries was amazing. The building was all set up with lights, tables, coordinated decorations and photos of us Boot Campers in action!
We chose names for the dishes we were serving and put on the finishing touches - the garnish. Chef Chad brought us radish sprouts, basil, and even edible flowers to place on top of our dishes. Now, all we had to do was serve them!
Interacting with our guests and having the opportunity to describe the food we had made and were serving was very exciting. We were all super proud that we cooked all of this ourselves. Some of us were entirely new to cooking, but the Boot Camp allowed us to start where we were and take it from there!
All in all, we can all feel good about how productive our week was and we can all feel much more confident in the kitchen!