UFV Culinary Arts students cooking up delicious pop-up dinners
Students from UFV’s Culinary Arts program have cooked up a delicious capstone project. The public is invited to savour their skills as Professional Cook 1 students host three ‘pop up dinners’ in late January/early February. Held at the Trades and Technology Centre (TTC) on the Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park, the dinners will offer themed cuisine from Mexico, Japan, and France.
“They have been working in teams since last November to create their menus,” says Sian Hurley, Culinary Arts assistant professor. “They have assigned themselves roles for their restaurant and have considered all things that a cook at their level could consider when putting together a restaurant.”
Mexico leads off Jan 26 with Tornado de Caballo. The gluten-free menu includes an appetizer of fried plantain with papaya mango chutney and candied mango followed by tomatillo cucumber gazpacho (soup). The entrée is three kinds of enchiladas (pork/chicken/poblano) topped with pickled onion and cilantro lime crema. Dessert is a leche flan with caramel drizzle and mango raspberry coulis.
“This assignment is often a students’ favourite experience in the program,” Hurley says. “They are given a budget and attempt to work within it. That is a big step in their learning and probably the greatest cause of stress for them, but they are all doing as well as I can expect a first year cook to. It has been amazing to watch them work together and learn how valuable they all are in a team. Their epiphanies about their own capabilities and their peers have been an amazing to witness.”
On Feb. 2 foods from the bustling streets of Japan take center stage at the Black Dragon Night Market. Start with a Sunomono (cold noodle) salad topped with cucumbers, shrimp, and a rice wine vinaigrette, followed by fried pork and chive dumplings with dark sesame soy sauce. The entrée is black garlic oil Tonkotsu ramen served in savory bone broth topped with braised pork belly, pickled veg, and a marinated ramen egg. Dessert is Mochi — Japanese rice cakes with an ice cream centre in a soft sweet-rice dough.
On Feb. 9 it’s food from France at The Hauté Bistro. Enjoy Confit Byaldi as the appetizer, with zucchini, tomato, and eggplant in a roasted vegetable sauce, followed by butternut squash and ricotta tortelloni with cauliflower sauce with chilli. The entrée is herb and pistachio crusted lamb chops with fondant potato, baby rainbow carrots, celeriac puree and red wine jus. Enjoy apple tart tatin for dessert – home ice cream with white chocolate crumble, meringue shards, lemon puree and crème patissiere.
Hurley says the groups have agonized over their menus and she’s found it interesting to see the styles each group has chosen.
“One of their self reflection prompts is to reflect on their impact on the menu and how they were able to convey their ideas with their team,” Hurley says. “This usually gets some interesting answers, and I can’t wait to hear how these students answer. I have been collaborating with each group on how to best make their menus come to life and they have been thoughtful in their actions. Most questions I have been asking, they have had answers. Not always the right answers, but enough that it’s obvious they are putting in the effort.”
Doors open at 5 pm each night and dinner begins at 5:30 pm.