Beijing Beef and Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings. Penne Primavera with Prosciutto and Cream Sauce. Peach and Raspberry Cobbler a la mode. The diverse appetizers, entrées, and desserts offered on the afternoon of May 2 rivaled the best New York City restaurants in both presentation and taste. But the banquet was not to be found in a five-star restaurant. Rather, it was served in the Quadrangle at Regis. And what made the meal extra special was that it was prepared entirely by Regis students, and offered to a gathering of faculty and staff members lucky enough to receive an invite.
For eleven Regis seniors, the student-run reception concluded a unique third trimester course titled "Introduction to the Culinary Arts and Nutrition". The course explored the fundamentals of professional culinary arts, and examined the relationship of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Over the course of the trimester, students participated in both "lecture and discussion" classes and "food preparation and cooking" classes. Topics throughout the trimester focused on the culture of food and nutrition.
"The problem is that we as a society are not valuing cooking enough," says Ms. Mary Henninger P'93'98, Admissions Officer and instructor for this third trimester elective. "Unlike other tasks, like fixing your car, it doesn't always make sense to outsource cooking. Cooking links us to nature, it links us to our bodies. It's too important to our well-being to be ignored." Ms. Henninger stressed to her students that cooking is transformative, and is probably the most important thing we can do to improve our diet. She added, "What matters most is not necessarily any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it's the act of cooking itself. People who cook eat a healthier diet."
The educational opportunities for the senior students were abundant. In the classroom, the students read literature on a myriad of subjects. Students investigated the food chain from farm to table and discussed the culture and science of growing, processing, cooking and eating food. In the kitchen, students learned knife skills, braising, sautéing, roasting, broiling, and baking.
Though a somewhat new elective offered to Regis seniors, Ms. Henninger's Culinary class has become a popular third trimester choice. Henninger notes, "There's no longer a stigma attached to men in the kitchen. Cooking is creative, it's economic, it's healthy. A life sport, as it were!"
What Was Offered
Below is a sampling of the menu items students prepared for their final project:
APPETIZERS: Gazpacho Soup, Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil, Beijing Beef and Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings, Vegetable Stir-Fry, Arugula Salad with Mozzarella and Olive Oil
ENTREES: Penne Primavera with Prosciutto and Cream Sauce; Boneless Pork Chop with Bacon, risotto with asparagus and peas, beets salad with walnuts and feta; Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, roasted potatoes and green beans
DESSERTS: Peach and Raspberry Cobbler a la mode, Molten Chocolate Lava Cake, Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler, Rocky Road Brownies a la mode, Lemon Sorbet