Sunday, February 28, 2010

Globe Trotting Made Easy

How would you like the opportunity to travel the world?  What if I told you that we can send you on a globe trotting adventure that consists of up to 16 very unique destinations all in one evening.  We plan to have your senses tingling from all the pleasures you will experience.  The plan is You will see each culture's beauty,  discover tempting aromas, taste and drink in their flavors, and feel like their most honored guest.  

Chef Bob's Ice carving- COOL!

Welcome to Tasters Guild 2010 brought to you by the Great Lakes Culinary Institute and also with an abundant amount of support from the local community and businesses.  Prepare to experience an evening filled with delicious food fare from all over the world prepared by the culinary students, a luscious wine selection from 12 different local vintners, and a chance to enter your name in favorite silent auction items or place an exciting bid during the live auction too.  It is our hope that you have a fabulous evening while you are with us and that you will truly feel like you have experienced an authentic journey through some of the worlds most celebrated cuisines.

A picture of the main lobby floor and some of the teams- mine is to the left top corner

This is where I invested a large amount of my energies the past few weeks.  Into an event that has given me, as a culinary student a first hand opportunity to practice critical skills that are very important to the industry I will be apart of very soon.  It all began with choosing our country that we would like to represent- I choose India!!  Thankfully I had the ability to work with two of my wonderful friends from last semester, Ray and Mike!  The first day of school we learned about this event and I specifically remember looking at Ray and telling him in all seriousness "We are going to Win this thing. just trust me!"  By "Win" I was referring to the First place prize that would be given to the booth that puts on the most authentic display of their country and their cuisine.  First prize is an honorary Chef's coat with "Tasters Guild 2010" embroidered on the arm.  You could also receive a coat if you were one of the top ten donation getter's for the silent auction too. (I am still waiting to find out if I am one, I did pretty well with bringing in donations)

Prepping in the kitchen- me and the boys!

Together the three of us developed a plan to really show off what we were capable of doing.  Ray kept saying he really wanted to "amaze people with the flavors."  So when we went to the kitchen to test our recipes we paid very close attention to getting exactly what we wanted with our food.  We did our research on the country and all the intricate details that would help us have an edge on the day of the event.  We left no detail undone.  We paid very close attention to how the booth needed to be set-up and on the day of the event we felt very confident about what we were doing.

Team India's Booth before we set up the food

 It needs to be said that the guidance and direction from our teachers, Chef Coburn and Chef Fred was a very big part of our success too.  The help from classmates when it came to putting together our samosas was extremely helpful too.  Overall the teamwork among all the students was amazing.  Up until the end, all that mattered is that together as a school we could deliver an amazing and  memorable event for our guests.  Truly, we would have been happy for whatever team won, since we know everyone worked so hard.

My team member Mike- the grill master!

Ray- working hard to make sure those skewers were perfect!

Me and my Samosas are deep fried and ready to go!

When the judges came to our booth we were so excited.  This is what we had prepared for- once they came to see us we went right into action-  We very enthusiastically answered all of their questions about our food and the country we were representing.  Overall after they left we felt like we did well, but there wasn't much time to lament about it since 15 minutes later the first guest arrived.

Our booth from an elevated perspective

"Welcome to India and the darjeeling Market!!"  We never slowed down ever!  For over an hour and a half we served our food to the our guests "The world travelers" until we were completely out of Samosas and almost out of the rest of our tasting items too.  It was amazingly fun and everyone who visited us seemed very pleased- we even had people who came back for seconds!  Here is what we served:

Vegetable Samosas

Grilled Naan Bread with a Chutney Trio "
-Podina Chatni- a spicy mint based chutney
-Sweet Mango Ginger Chutney
-Savory Onion Chutney

Coconut Basmati Rice with Dried Fruit and Pine Nuts

Chicken Tikka Masala with a lime spritz

Then all the students were asked to enter the main ballroom for a program that began with the College president speaking and then Chef Fred Laughlin (GLCI director) took the stage to address everyone and hand out over $32,000 dollars  of scholarships.  It was a little nerve racking waiting to see if he would call my name too- since so many of my friends and classmates were recipients already.  I actually started to realize he was calling the names out in alphabetical order so that when he got to Schmidt, I knew the next name had to me if it ever was meant to be.

When Chef Fred called my name I wanted to cry, I felt so honored to be apart of the group on the stage.  It is the first scholarship I have ever been awarded- It is a huge blessing!

Me and Chef Fred Laughlin- The Culinary School director

To top off the entire incredible night we were having, next Mickey Cannon addressed the audience from the podium to give the awards away to the top three booths for the night.  Cajun Creole received third place honors- this was my friends Kelsi and Geoff's team and I was so excited for them!  Coming in at second, one of the advanced baking classes took the prize.  This left 1st place the final team to be announced.  I had seen all the booths that evening and so many of them were worthy of this spot, I really didn't know if we had done enough, and then Mickey started to talk about the enthusiasm that the top team had and how it takes this kind of mentality to be in the business like he is...  I have to admit that when he announced "Team India" as the winning team I went into a daze.  All that hard work and planning paid off, we had done it!!  What a proud moment, and one that I will never forget.

Celebrating with Ray and Kelsi- my original team in first semester Pro Cook class.  We each received a scholarship!  

My Husband Tod, my Mom, Dad and Sister, and my best friend Ranae and her husband Bob were all there to support me that night and I am so thankful for each of their support.  The majority of my thankfulness has to go to Ray and Mike though.  Together we worked to do our best, we accomplished what we intended to do- WE DID IT!

Tasters Guild 2010 ~ Team INDIA ~ One AMAZING night for ALL

I am exactly where I am supposed to be and loving it!