Gumbo, Lamb Sausage & Cakes: Oh My!
You're probably thinking...weird combination, right? Well not for Brainfood! Over 2 exciting weeks in March the Brainfood Columbia Heights kitchen was filled with guest chefs bringing new ingredients, new skills and a ton of new food knowledge for our youth.
First up was Mike Clements from Social in Columbia Heights. Mike's passion for cooking started when he was very young but blossomed when he moved to New Orleans. It's his love for cooking and for all things New Orleans (especially his beloved Saints) inspired his Brainfood menu. Mike brought all the fixings to make Red Beans and Rice (with Andouille sausage) and Gumbo. The class divided up into 2 teams, put on our Social hats, and worked diligently chopping & dicing. One brave student took on the task of stirring & stiring to make the roux the perfect bronze color. After some good teamwork we got a chance to dig in and enjoy! Mmm it was delicious! After a lively discussion about which dish they enjoyed more I noticed two things were universal – empty bowls and smiling faces! Thanks Mike!
After a weekend break / food coma my Monday & Wednesday class greeted Lynnette Jackson from Lynnette's Cakes and Catering in Maryland. Back for her second year at Brainfood, our students were excited to get in touch with their Inner pastry chef and decorate the cakes that Lynette brought in. After a short explanation about the steps to decorating a cake (frosting with butter cream to act as the glue), she showed us how to color and roll out fondant and how to roll it onto the cake. It was then our turn to let loose and be creative. The students had a great time coming up with ideas for their cakes and no two looked the same. The students were so proud of their final products that they elected to not eat them but wrap them up and take them home to show off to their friends and family! Thanks Lynnette!
Now it was my Tuesday & Thursday class turn to have some fun. After welcoming Chef Barolin in February they were anxious for another guest chef, and Dean Gold from Dino in Cleveland Park did not disappoint! Walking in with his 70 pound meat grinder I knew we were in for a fun culinary adventure! If you ever get a chance to meet Dean you will quickly learn that he is full of amazing knowledge about food and is someone who really cares about bringing good quality food to his friends and customers. Dean dazzled us with tales of how spices ended up in Italy (the end of the Silk Road) and explained why he feels it is important to grind your own meat (preferably grass fed) at his restaurant. Dean brought an array of spices and an entire lamb shoulder that he carved and then made into sausage. After a great discussion we all got a chance to make our own spice blends that we mixed into our lamb sausage patties. We formed each patties by hand and then sautéed them. To say they were delicious is an understatement. The room went silent (which is always a good sign) because we were all too busy eating to talk. Many of our youth had never tried lamb before but everyone helped themselves to seconds and some even thirds. Thanks Dean!
For more pictures of these exciting classes, visit our Brainfood Columbia Heights photo gallery!