Escoffier Open House
My friend, Julie, is interested in attending culinary school and has decided on Escoffier. She invited me to join her at Escoffier’s open house which included a cooking demo from Chef Tripler O’Conner.
Located near the intersection of Airport Boulevard and Koenig Lane in Austin, Escoffier has taken over several sections of a strip mall and is very nondescipt from the street. But inside the section we were led to is a large baking prep area up front with a huge commercial kitchen in back with enough room for twenty five to thirty of us to sit on stools and watch Chef O’Connor cook four delicious dishes.
The cooking demo started off with crab stuffed mushrooms. The stuffing, in addition to crab claw meat, also had some delicious sauteed vegetables . This is one of those dishes that looks like very sophisticated but is very easy to make. I look forward to trying it in my own kitchen.
Time for a chef confession: I am not a cheese person and I could not bring myself to actually taste this. As it turns out it wasn’t most people’s favorite anyway. A wheel of Brie was sliced in half horizontally and a cranberry trail mix was put in between them before pressing the wheel back together. The rejoined wheel was then wrapped in puff pastry before baking.
This was the most amazing thing Chef O’Connor made. Again, it’s very simple but tastes like something you would get at a trendy restaurant. The tuna steak was marinaded in a ginger and soy sauce combination before being crusted in black and white sesame seeds. It is then quickly cooked in hot olive and sesame oil. The tuna is then sliced up and each slice is placed on a friend wonton triangle with a dollop of wasabi aiolli.
This was the big surprise of the day. I did not expect to like these as much as I did. It turns out it was the only item I went back for seconds (and possibly thirds). These were simply (noticing a theme?) pitted dates wrapped in half a slice of bacon and then baked. The combination of sweet and salty has just the perfect ratio.
The big finale was a tray of chocolate truffles. We were encouraged to don latex gloves, take a truffle in our hand and roll it around to warm it up, before rolling it in any of the variety of toppings laid out. The toppings included sea salt, chipotle powder, cocoa powder, and about a dozen more.
I appreciate having the opportunity to visit another culinary school and really enjoyed watching Chef O’Connor cook and teach. I think Julie is in good hands.