This Week in Culinary School: Week 8

Hello friends, sorry I am a little late in the latest update– I had a busy and exciting week! Believe it or not, I am now halfway through the classroom portion of my program.  Time is flying by.

Top Three Things I Learned This Week


1. Roasting Chicken in Clay–  We began the week with a fabulous workshop with Chef Alexander Ong, formerly of Betelnut in San Francisco.  He walked us through a lot of Chinese classic dishes, the most exciting of which was Beggar’s Chicken.  He told us the creation story of this dish, which supposedly involved a stolen chicken being buried in a riverbank, then later dug up and cooked.  Chef Ong spent a year and a half developing his recipe, which involved trying every restaurant serving Beggar’s Chicken in Shanghai and Beijing.  Ultimately, his recipe was modeled after a dish served in Kowloon, Hong Kong.  That’s what I call R&D!  Our chicken came to us honestly, and instead of being buried in grass and mud from a riverbank, it’s wrapped in lotus leaves and then sealed in clay before being roasted.  It’s definitely the most dramatic presentation of chicken I’ve seen!



2. Doctors in the Kitchen– I missed a couple of days of school to attend a conference at the hallowed Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena, CA.


It’s the annual Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives conference co-presented by the CIA and the Harvard School of Public Health, and it’s dedicated to getting healthy cooking instruction into the medical space.  In other words, a conference full of people who share my dreams! It was inspiring, to say the least.  I not only got some more ideas for what I hope to accomplish, but an amazing chance to network with people from my “tribe.” Besides reviewing nutrition and trying out some recipes, the conference frequently touched on mindfulness not only in cooking and eating, but as an overall aspect of wellness.


3. Rice–  both in culinary school and at the conference, we spent a lot of time learning about rice, of which there are thousands of varieties.  In culinary school, we made risotto, and learned that it should be all’onda when done– meaning like a wave, not a solid mass.  We also cooked several other types of rice, both short grain and long grain, and in varieties from white, to parboiled, to red, brown and black.  (We did this on the stove, not in a rice cooker, which is how I cook rice!) From the leftover rice, we made arancini, calas (a type of beignet) and rice pudding.


Thanks for coming by! If you’re curious what it’s like to be in culinary school, check out my previous posts and also come back weekly for my latest updates. I’ll be sharing tips, ingredients, and recipe ideas straight from the classroom. And for more healthy cooking and eating tips, join my community on Facebook at The Doctor’s Spicebox. My next class will be March 21st, featuring gluten-free recipes from around the world (now that I’ve just talked about gluten). Don’t miss out! I hope to cook with you soon!

To your health!