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Worlds of Flavor!

7 Nov

Last week school was shut down for the annual Worlds of Flavor conference.  You can learn more about that here.  Basically, every year our school invites 60 badass chefs from around the world to show off their skills to other leading chefs, foodservice industry pros, experts, writers and foodies.  Being around hundreds of the hospitality elite for a week is definitely one of the perks of going to such a great school. 🙂

So, this year’s theme was World Causal.  I was on team Mediterranean, working on the hot side for the popular London TV personality/cookbook author and exec chef of Quince restaurant in London, Chef Silvena Rowe.  I’m not going to lie, it was hard work.  There were many stressful moments (like, “holy ish what do anise flowers even look like” as I’m searching the schools garden… or realizing that I hadn’t eaten in 48 hours), but in the end it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  I worked almost 60 hours in five days, drank way too much coffee, made beautiful and delish food on the hotside (who knew!), and learned important lessons from inspiring and well established chefs.  You know that song, “I am woman, hear me raaawwwrrr”? Well, I sang that to myself many, many times.

I didn’t get any pictures with the chef I was under or all the food we made, which makes me really sad.  Her recipes are amazing.  Straightforward, modern Turkish food for posh Londoners, she truly keeps the integrity of her ingredients.  Although I’ve seen TV chefs around campus, this was the first time I’ve actually worked under one.  Her passion was infectious.  I’ve always found it difficult to talk about my own food.  Mostly because I get nervous, or embarrassed and always have that worry that they’re not going to like my food as much as I may. But this woman, sheeessshhh.  She can sell it and talk to a crowd!   In her demos she would take a bite of food (that I made, btw 🙂 ) and say, “I really wish you could try this because my recipe makes the best lamb you will ever have”.  And it’s true, it was delish.

Oh yeah, I have an open invite to London when I graduate too.  Which is pretty awesome and made the whole experience 100 times more worth it.  Obviously.

Here’s some photos of the conference…

“Surf and Turf”, made for the first seminar, “…Flavors from Turkey and Greece to Lebanon and Syria”.

Chef had me go up on stage with her to plate/cook the dishes while she talked about them.  She only had 8 min, so I did most of the cooking/prep ahead of time.  There were over 100 people in the audience.  100 very, very important people.  Dear Jesus, my hand was shaking!

Minced veal, veal spare rib and king prawn kabobs (we didn’t skewer them), served with oregano za’atar and a fennel, pink radish, red onion, pomegranate and flower salad.

“Orange and Orange Blossom Baklava” served with Greek yogurt and passion fruit puree.

250 portions for  Friday’s lunch dessert.

Hands down the most amazing baklava I have ever tasted.  This was surreal.

“Ottoman Spice Lamb Cutlets with Grapefruit Za’atar and Tahini and Lemon Sauce”

Made for the Mediterranean Spice Seminar

I’ve prepared meat at home, but doing it professionally is a completely different thing.  My chef gave me a lot of freedom (all responsibility for the recipes) so I manned up and grilled/cooked every single dish!  It was quite empowering.

“Spiced Lamb Rillette with Courgettes and Chile Pesto”

Also for the Mediterranean Spice Seminar.

I marinated the lamb shanks in suzme (Greek yogurt), orange zest, cardamom, baharat and other spices, braised it for seven hours, shredded it, made a terrine and let it sit overnight.  We served it on toasted sourdough and a slightly spicy courgette and chile pest, topped with Chef’s grapefruit za’atar. Amazing.

I didn’t make these, but they were also for the Mediterranean Spice Seminar.

The left and middle are from Chef Ana Sortun, from Oleana.  The right is from Australian Lamb, who sponsored the seminar.

My amiga was on restauranteur/Iron Chef Jose Garces’ team.

They made a “Foie Torchon with a Tomato and Jalapeno Jam” for Saturday’s Marketplace.  The photo doesn’t do the orgasm in my mouth justice.

Oooh la la, my school got cultural… and scandalous!

My friend and I were walking around the Marketplace, tasting everything in sight, when we heard music and saw at least twenty male chefs in awe.

200 apples for apple tart tatin.  7am-1130pm day! AYE!

Anything for my favorite chef instructor!

An egg dish the TA’s made for breakfast on Saturday.  I was huuunnngrryyy and didn’t know when I would have time to eat, so after making a pancake and citrus butter sandwich (and scarfing it down in 3min) I stuffed one of these in my mouth. Sooo gooooood.

 “Raw Beetroot with Goat Cheese, Orange Fillet, Garlic Chips, and Mustard Cress”.

From Chef Doxis Bekris.  My teammate was his assistant… everything he made was so beautiful, but this was the only thing I got a picture of.

Those are all my pictures from the conference! I’m so bummed I didn’t get the pictures of the other things I made. I also made “Rib eye teak with oregano za’atar salt”, 250 “jumbo prawns with Grapefruit and Aleppo chile vinaigrette and grapefruit za’atar”, 250 “roasted king prawns in pomegranate butter and anise flowers”, “watermelon and cherry tomato salad with feta, almond and za’atar crumble”, and “Shawarma Poussin”.  I’m sure you can get any of the recipes in one of her cookbooks.

Also, I’d be happy girl if I never, ever, EVER have to de-shell and de-veign another prawn again.  It wasn’t gross, just annoying.  I’d rather go home smelling like sweetness rather than fish and onions and garlic.  I don’t know how the hot side does it.

♥ Heather