Southwest Minnesota State University
Interactive Cajun and Creole Cooking Class
Saturday, August 28, 2010
We began our event hours earlier with a sit-down planning session. We decided that each station would be assigned a student Sous Chef. This meant that each Sous Chef needed to have a COMPLETE understanding with each recipe since they were going to instruct the attendees as to what they had to cook and how to do it!
We planned to pre-measure, label, and tray up each recipe in advance. (actually, we did 4 of each recipe because we had 4 stations were we were cooking.) Well that was my idea, Michael Cheng told the students to "mise-en-place", who knew that there was a cooking term for that!! IT is French for "Everything in Place", See what a formal education will get ya!
(Right) Our Sous Chefs Kaylee Ryker, Ashley Moore and Amanda Paine prepped two stocks (turkey and shrimp), and preboiled the mirlitons.
Our Menu for the night was:
Lump Crabmeat Ceviche with Satsuma Wedges, Mixed Greens and Raspberry Vinaigrette
Oysters Herbsaint, New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp
Crawfish Pirogues, Turkey and Andouille Gumbo
Stuffed Mirliton Riverboats
Fillets en Papillote
Pontchartrain Vineyards -Le Trolley 2006 Blanc du Bois
Herbsaint Original Lemonade
Lazy Ramos Gin Fizz, Original Sazerac Cocktail
Pat O'Brien Hurricanes made with Old New Orleans Dark Rum
The Interactive Cooking Class was scheduled to start at about 5:30pm, BUT everyone wanted to hit the bar first!!! Once they started to try some of our New Orleans inspired adult beverages, well lets just say that we didn't get the program going until 6:15. AND believe me, it was like herding cats to get them to sit down for the lecture portion!
We broke the interactive class down into 4 parts. First was the lecture/prep (roux, shrimp peeling and turkey meat pulling). The second and third was cooking and eating, and finally dessert. But be advised, the bar was open throughout the night!! OK, just like in New Orleans!! And bartenders Ross Kuchta, Chef Justin Kanthak and Chad kept the drinks a commin!
I was forewarned that in the past, most of the guys did not assist in the cooking, YIKES, I need everyone to help! But, before we started, two attendees volunteered to make the roux (Krista Bjella and Mark Altmann), 4 volunteered to peel shrimp (Stacy Frost and Dr. Beth Weatherby, Steve Kramer), and one to debone the turkey! NOW, that is big time help!!
I started off the evening with a modified history lesson of South Louisiana's rich cultural ethnicities. The chat discussed how the various cultures (American Indians, French, Spanish, Black Slaves, Free Men of Color, Canary Islanders, Germans, Irish and Italians) worked to produce such a unique culture. Click here to check out my lecture notes.
We broke the second section into preparing and cooking the Lump Crabmeat Ceviche with Satsuma Wedges, Mixed Greens and Raspberry Vinaigrette , Oysters Herbsaint, New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp. This was somewhat ambitious undertaking, but we needed to get it done if we were going to eat!! (Left) Chef Justin Kanthak and Sous Chef Kaylee Ryker confer for "mise-en-place" for his station's Oysters Herbsaint.
Everyone sat down for about 15 minutes to enjoy their salad and hors d'oeuvres. BUT, it was back to work for the gumbo and dinner portion of the meal...... Well, maybe a short stop at the bar......
I told all of the attendees that they had to take a few minutes and mosey over to the "Fillet en Papiotte" Station. We really didn't have a recipe for this station because, by design, we wanted each person's dish to be their own creation. SOOOOO, Amanda Paine probably had the hardest Sous Chef job. She had to instruct each person how to choose the ingredients that they would like (not too many, not too few) and how to fold the papiotte, not easy to do! Below is Amanda instructing Stacy Frost (Director of Annual Giving Programs) and President of SMSU Dr. David Danahar!
We took our second break to allow everyone to hit the bar again, meanwhile the Crawfish Pirogues, Turkey and Andouille Gumbo, and Stuffed Mirliton Riverboats baked off in the ovens.
SOOOOO, since everything was eaten, I thought I would cook the dessert, just a little Bananas Foster and ice cream. BUT, there was a problem. They drank ALLLLL of my Dark Old New Orleans Rum!!! Amanda to the rescue, she found some Barcardi 151, flame on!!
This was an absolutely fabulous event!!!
Thanks to Michael Cheng of SMSU for taking and supplying many of the above pics!!
Check out many other pics on Michael Cheng's Facebook Photo Album
Contact us for further details....ChefEmile@CustomCatering.net
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Chef Emile L. Stieffel, Aurora Catering, Inc. email address: ChefEmile@CustomCatering.net
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Revised: November 21, 2016
The head of the Culinology Department Mr. Michael Cheng got to clean up afterwards!