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 goingKaylee Ryker, Ashley Moore and Amanda Paine 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.

Crawfish PiroguesOur 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

Bartenders Ross and ChadFillets en Papillote

Bananas Foster

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

We started off with a Cajun/Creole LectureThe 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!! Ann Campagna stuffs some Crawfish PiroguesOK, 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!!

Chef Justin Kanthak and Sous Chef Kaylee RykerI 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......

    Sous Chef Stephanie Grau


Amanda instructs Stacy Frost the proper way to fold the papiotte.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, Amanda and Dr. David Danaharwe 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!Stuffed Mirliton Riverboats

We took our second break to allow everyone to hit the bar again,Ann and Dan Campagna 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

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Chef Emile L. Stieffel, Aurora Catering, Inc. email address:
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Revised: November 21, 2016

The head of the Culinology Department Mr. Michael Cheng got to clean up afterwards!

Thanks, Michael