It’s all in the gravy!

Today Chef Peter went over the ins and outs of roasting with the KOC cohort.  The trainees discussed everything from the importance of caramelization and trussing to oven types and when to add mirapoix.

IMG_5097And what good is roasting without gravy!  The cohort learned about how to thicken drippings using a roux, a mixture of fat and flour. Adding the fat is the difference between gravy and dumplings. Why is this? Chef Peter explained and shared some interesting facts about the process of making flour – like that flour is flammable!  If you are curious (like I was), watch the video below for the proof!



“What’s the most important thing you learn in the Kitchen of Champions Program?” I asked Wayne who was in the back cutting sweet potatoes while the rest of the cohort busily prepared pork ragu, garlic bread, roasted veggies and cranberry OJ for the St. Vincent de Paul’s free dining room.

admpNEh3BpeqLf0ykfYP5ugCkJbpXL1tMIcFrCyY2QdHkMwz-skrGVvDdZxAGp-5qw=w1600“Working as a team and dealing with the fast-pace environment,” he answered. “You only have 2.5 hours” to cook for the hundreds of people served in the Dining Room each day, “so you have to be fast.” That’s why Wayne is prepping for the next day’s meal. Below is the team’s finished product!


Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

After learning about nutrition from the 18 Reasons crew, the Cohort put their new knowledge into practice by preparing nutritious Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos with guacamole and cabbage slaw.

yrIDdaDFd0BFkthLdV8ADjwgkd2A526X1g6TgADTCxUICUnceo4dcA0JkHRe5US6yA=w1600An instructor reviews the knife skills covered earlier in the Kitchen of Champions program.

6m1OHPINu2AhMI91iyLYmiu456awFAptozbsCoFtb0V8tu64fES8zvuk9jtXjD-q1g=w1600Going over the recipe for the cabbage slaw.

YIi9rxBqFRoj6ghZeEwbUZ24DMI1XilDF6VhwTp75HJSjeWG6bnLKv6c8lK0Y8YFxg=w1600My favorite part – the guacamole!

BliTiTsu8XcST1CyO_4PCzu7SX_2NtIviR7SvCKmMau7zGlRxi4e9OT-oFmUhChktw=w1600The finished cabbage slaw.

A56kw5ACPFQNlxnJzZNrnDkLm_D3Uc0NxJkZBghM-O_eDnPWLxvPShfd9qUx2bDqaA=w1600Time to taste.

52v0Jk9W1Odu_hmkKOyDm7mj1_JI1l9ZXm3O2tN7Rm6XK8Wi1bGjVhAmvOylC1ly0w=w1600The colorful and flavorful finished product! Thank you, 18 Reasons.

Artichokes Tournés

In the kitchen last week, the trainees learned how to cook artichokes tournés.

Chef Dorsey demonstrated for the cohort while reviewing everything from cooking technique, to time management, to the costs of ingredients and labor.

IMG_1005The trainees then prepared their own artichokes.

ImageThe stuffing included Swiss chard from the Kitchen of Champions Garden.

IMG_0980Chef Dorsey proudly displays the freshly picked chard (bottom left) before KOC trainee, Rodney, sautés it (below right).


ImageThe finished product!

Iron Chef Cook-Off!

Our KoC 35 Cohort trainees had their final Cooking Matters class last Thursday.  The class gave the cohort an opportunity to show off their new skills in an Iron Chef cook-off!  The trainees were split into teams and had been designing their most tasty recipes since last Friday.


The final dishes were:

Santa Fe Chicken Tostadas with Fresh Mango Salsa

Sante Fe Chicken Tostadas

Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls

Stuffed Peppers


Shrimp Ceviche with Avacado


At the end of their cooking matters series the cohort received certificates!  Congratulations to all the trainees, and a big thank you to our wonderful partners at Cooking Matters (18 Reasons)

Kitchen of Champions CertificateFinished

Cooking for the Volunteer Appreciation Event

The trainees have been chopping, prepping, sauteing, and baking for the St. Vincent de Paul Volunteer Appreciation Event!

The menu prepared entirely by the Kitchen of Champions cohort was:
Seasonal Salad Bar with Fresh Accoutrements and House Made Dressings
Fresh Bread and Herb Whipped Butter
Herb Crusted Prime Rib with Horseradish Cream and Au Jus
Cavatappi Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce
Grilled Chicken with Garlic Roasted Baby Potatoes
Dessert Bar with Celebratory Cake

On Friday, the trainees were hard at work prepping. I asked the cohort what it was like to go from cooking a vegetarian meal the day before to learning how to prepare prime rib and they said “we learn something new every day!”

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Saturday, the trainees started in the kitchen at 8am to have everything ready for the big event at 4pm on April 27. Below is the crew serving the finished product:

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Kitchen of Champions Alumnae came back to help with the big event!  2013-04-28 02.26.59Dessert was my favorite part of the meal.  Crepes with homemade whipped cream and strawberries – Bon Appetit!

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