Back from a long break…

Wow. It’s been September since I posted anything. That makes me feel rather guilty. It isn’t that haven’t been doing anything. I have. Tons of stuff. So much so, I wonder how I managed not to get buried under it all. What I haven’t been doing is sharing it on my blog. With facebook and the chance to communicated directly with my friend and family and get feedback from them I have slacked off in my writing and story telling and focused more on just sharing the photos I make.
But I find I have missed the chance this space allows me to share both the photos and the stories that go with them.

Recently I found out that Chef’s Table, a high end dining training program for culinary students at the local community college was adding a vegetarian dinner to their repertoire. I LOVE this program. I love the food. Love the people. And love the creations. Chef’s Table is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. I would photograph it more frequently, but the “news” is meant to be what is new. That said, when I found out Chef’s Table was doing something new, I jumped at the chance to do a photo essay on their first Vegetarian Night.

As it turns out, we are a bit understaffed at the DIL just now, and so I ended up being both the reporter and photographer for this one. And since the work of story telling is already done — I had to turn this in yesterday for Sunday’s paper — I thought this was the perfect opportunity to start blogging again. Plus, I was really happy with the photos.

So, here is this week’s upcoming Montana Life feature. Sorry I’ve been silent so long. I promise not to take such a long break again.

A New Vegetarian Experiment at Chef's TableA New Vegetarian Experiment at Chef’s Table

For the first time since its inception in 2009, the Chef’s Table program at Flathead Valley Community College has created a four-course vegetarian dinner.
The menu included an appetizer, intermezzo, main course and dessert, but the reality of the dinner is so much more than what appears on the official menu.
As attendees arrive at the college they gather in the student art gallery outside the kitchen for hors d’oeuvres. The students bring out trays laden with mint and pea green soup, a tomato with new style oil, and a causa and tomato chalaquita.
When all is ready people are called into the kitchen by table number. There they find a row of elegantly set tables with menus and printed place cards beside the ovens and heat and noise and controlled chaos of the kitchens where the students work right before the patrons’ eyes.
A New Vegetarian Experiment at Chef's TableDinner begins with an amuse-bouche to wake up the palate. This was a pencile green asparagus terrine served in a goat cheese sauce.
Then the appetizer, white beans with lemon, fennel and avocado served family style.
A New Vegetarian Experiment at Chef's TableAfter the appetizer, which could have been a meal by itself, the lights are dimmed for the presentation of the intermezzo, a liche sorbet with amaretto, presented in the carved, colored, lighted ice swans.
The main course was crunchy pappardelle with button mushrooms and broccolini, white asparagus, and a Caprese salad of tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil.
A New Vegetarian Experiment at Chef's TableTo wrap up the dinner, a flourless almond chocolate cakes and strawberry coulis. This was accompanied by the signature chocolate dipped strawberries and homemade cookies and coffee.
The meal is a treat for those who attend, but the ultimate beneficiaries of the evening are the students.
A New Vegetarian Experiment at Chef's Table“The goal of the program is to give students a very high expectation of what kinds of opportunities are out there for them,” chef Howard Karp said. “This program allows them to dream.”
Karp said many FVCC culinary arts students have gone on to opportunities around the country. Chef’s Table opens their eyes and gives them the hands-on experience of the extreme quality and discipline this kind of dining requires.
“If my students are ever presented with a high-caliber opportunity, they will not be intimidated,” Karp said.
Karp said he was pleased with the response to the first Vegetarian Night. Thirty-three people attended; Karp is considering doing more vegetarian nights in the semesters to come.
A New Vegetarian Experiment at Chef's TableThe remaining dinners are scheduled for April 26, North African night on May 3 and the final Winemaker of the semester on May 10. The winemaker, which will have more than 70 guests, has been sold out for two months. There are only a few seats available at the April 26 and May 3 dinners. For tickets contact FVCC at 756-3632.