Now THAT was one heck of a culinary whirlwind!
Please enjoy this recap of camp! Here is the link to our Google Photo Album of the week!
Tuesday – Day 1! San Francisco Hometown Creamery and Local Kitchen!
The excitement and curiosity in everyone’s faces made for the perfect start to the day!
Saadi from SF Hometown Creamery gave a wonderful tour of his store. We learned about the history of the creamery and got to see all the working parts to make it run. They make everything on site at the creamery, including toppings, so it’s quite the setup! Then we got to learn all about the process of making ice cream. To create a batch of one flavor, they start with 30 gallons of milk and on average, 600 egg yolks! They actually go through 2,000 eggs a week, hand-cracked; the whites are used for cone batter and the yolks are used for ice cream. Wow! We made a chocolate sorbet together, in the clean room, and then got to try to product before it goes through the different states of freezing! It was super rich and decadent.
After our time at the creamery, we took a break in Golden Gate park, enjoyed some snacks and played a few games to get to know each other better. Then it was time to head downtown!
We arrived at Local Kitchen, where chef Matt was just wrapping up some New Year’s Eve Dinner preparation – I bet it was delicious! First, Chef Matt taught us about emulsification and we all made a garlic aioli together! Then we learned our first knife skills of the week and got to practice with lots of produce like zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers and onion!
Chef Matt’s assistant showed us how he prepares the dough, then weighs and separates it, so no one gets a smaller pizza than his or her friend 😉 We then took turns kneading pie skins and putting toppings on! We made a bunch of amazing pizzas – the pizza of the day was “three kale, sausage and fennel pollen”! It was super yummy.
It was a great first day getting to know one another and begin fine tuning our skills!
Wednesday – Day 2! Tosca and 3rd Cousin
We started off the day with Chef Josh at his restaurant, Tosca, learning how to make pork and beef meatballs and a vinaigrette full of ingredients like garlic, oregano, and spiced pumpkin seeds. After all was said and done, we mixed our vinaigrette into a giant salad full of colorful and crunchy greens, which Chef Josh taught us all the names and vegetable families! Dandelion greens, radicchio, Bibb – it was all delicious and fresh. Next, it was time to eat! Chef Josh and Chef Joyce showed us to our seats where we ate our creations (which they were so excited to share with you)!
Next, we made our way to 3rd Cousin, where Chef Greg showed us how to make crab chowder! While the crabs boiled we chopped up all our ingredients, different for each to demonstrate how many yummy ingredients come together in a chowder of any kind. As some of us continued to chop, others got to learn from Chef Rachel how to get the best and most meat out of a crab shell – a messy, fun and exciting experience for everyone. With everything ready to cook we combined all of the ingredients and patiently awaited the final result. YUM! The chowder turned out fragrant and flavorful and we all shared in its glory! What a wonderful day!
Thursday – Day 3! Macy’s Test Kitchen and Roka Akor
We started off the day in the Macy’s Test Kitchen. First on the menu was a healthy turkey and sweet potato lasagna. The dish gave us an opportunity to make from scratch two things that are often store-bought: pasta and cheese! While one group worked on mixing and rolling out the pasta dough, another learned about (and put into practice) the reaction between milk and acid (vinegar or lemon) that makes ricotta. Because no meal is complete without dessert, we also whipped up some pumpkin-apple muffins. We needed applesauce for the batter, so we made some from scratch! We had so much fun mashing up the apple with a mortar and pestle.
After lunch, we headed over to the beautiful Roka Akor for some sushi making. The lesson started with excitement, as Chef Kyle filleted a fish right in front of us—talk about fresh! We ate the fish and several other cuts of sashimi, practicing our chopsticks skills along the way. Next came a quick and hilarious rundown of the history of sushi. We learned that the word “sushi” refers not to the fish, but to the vinegary rice that goes with it. We also saw that sushi comes in many unique and beautiful forms, and that these forms have changed over time.
Finally it was time to get our roll on (specifically, our California roll and our spicy tuna roll). We learned how to wet our hands to keep things from sticking; how to use the sushi mat to round out and compress the roll; and even how to spread the rice so it stays fluffy. It was sometimes tricky getting the rolls to stay together, but with practice they shaped up nicely. We filled up on our little works of art before heading home. A super fun filled day!
Friday – Day 4! Spice Ace, Ferry Building, Venga
Today was jam-packed and full of so many tastes and smells. We began our tastebud adventure at Spice Ace, where we learned about acids and bases in the world of spices. We learned what dishes in which each kind of spice is typically used before we got to spend the rest of our time testing our palates with spices, salts, and sugars from cocoa powders and flower petals to za’atar and mole poblano spice mixes.
With so many spices in our noses and bellies we made our way to the Ferry Building where Acme Bread Company’s Manager, Monica, gave us a tour and story of their bakery, talking about what goes into their bread and what makes it unique. We saw the different type of equipment and ovens used to make the shapes special to Acme and were amazed to hear that bakery workers have jobs to do for all 24 hours in a day!! Next, we soaked up some sun outside by the water while we ate our tasty pumpkin apple muffins from the day before alongside our bread samples from Monica. A lovely, sunny break in the day!
To end our day and camp overall, we traveled over to Venga for the final COOK OFF! After splitting into groups and deciding team names, each team put together their list of ingredients and the cook off was under way!! Pasta was the common denominator for each team, but what they did with each dish was creative, beautifully executed, and delicious. We saw techniques used from the day before and tastes brought from traditions at home which brought big proud smiles to our faces! Your aspiring chefs worked hard to each earn the award in Plating/Aesthetic, Creativity/Innovation, and Use of New Techniques. We were so impressed (but in no way surprised).
We enjoyed sharing a week of incredible food and experiences taught by expert and seasoned chefs in San Francisco with your aspiring chefs. There was lots of learning and plenty of munching 🙂 It was incredible to share these moments with your aspiring chefs and hope that they stay busy, safe and curious in the kitchen at home!
Come hang out with us again this Spring and Summer!