Tour and Tasting Class at Culinary Institute of America
The classic car show wasn’t the only event exhibiting good taste at the LCOC Eastern National Meet in Hyde Park, N.Y. On the Friday before the meet, over 60 club members toured the Culinary Institute of America facility in small groups and then reunited to take a tasting class. Participants toured behind the scenes at the most prestigious cooking school in America. Watching students master a variety of culinary skills was humbling for even the most accomplished of amateur chefs. Their curriculum includes labs in food science and prep; mincing, slicing and dicing; menu creation; sauces and the latest cooking techniques; baking bread; making desserts; and creating chocolate masterpieces and exotic decorations for cakes beautiful enough to be in an art gallery. The aromas wafting through the halls were beyond enticing. Students in the hospitality program learn skills in that field in addition to their cooking program. At different points in their education, the students work in the kitchens of the various restaurants on the campus that are open to the public. Those of us lucky enough to snag a reservation had the treat of our lives.
Our dining experience was enhanced by what was learned in our tasting class, conducted by one of the master chefs who lectured on the physiology of taste to a packed house. Chef David Bruno walked us through 8 different tests related to how we taste, confirming that Taste + Aroma = Flavor. Our sensory experience of flavor is enhanced by seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and, not surprisingly, emotional memory. Additionally, our learnings about what different items can enhance flavor will inform both future cooking and dining experiences.