use local and seasonal ingredients
The first lesson taught was fresh, local, seasonal ingredients are a must. These items provide you outstanding flavor and nutrients not lost to preservation as well as the benefit of bringing new items to your kitchen on a regular basis.
Take the very seasonal Pichuberry (also known as the Cape Gooseberry) for example. Only available during a very small window in late summer/early autumn, these relatives of the tomatillo were a wonderful little treat prepared by the pastry chefs.
Simply prepared by pulling the husk back and dipping in white chocolate to enhance the natural sweetness of the berry while not overpowering it’s natural flavor, this was a definite winner and challenged us to get creative with seasonal ingredients.
make simple alterations to change flavor profiles
The blogging “students” also learned how some simple alterations to basics can provide a new profile of flavor and yes, a higher level of nutrition as well. Two perfect examples of this came from both the opening salad course and the main entrée of the lunch.
The preparation of the salad became an interactive class as the Napa Rose sous chefs picked some lucky students to go to work – assembling and mixing. Yes, I was one of those lucky ones, working on the lovely vinaigrette dressing for the salad featuring fresh berries and frisee lettuce. The chefs showed not just how to make the dressing but also how a simple change from sugar to honey really changed the flavor profile of the dressing. Using fresh frisee was such a nice change from the typical iceberg providing a crisp yet more elegant backdrop for our salad.