How to Make a Vinaigrette

Today we had the pleasure to have Chef Virginie from Sur La Table for two wonderful workshops at Addison Primary School. Chef Virginie introduced the kids to the five tastes: Sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. It was amazing that some children in both workshops knew about umami!

Chef Virginie used her workshop to teach the students about vinaigrette. She explained how mixing an acid with an oil creates an unstable vinaigrette, since the vinegar (the acid) and the oil will separate. To make sure the vinaigrette is stable, an emulsifier like mustard, honey, or an egg yolk is added.Vinaigrette Separation

Chef Virginie introduced the kids to two different dressings: A red wine vinaigrette made with red wine, olive oil and Dijon mustard; and an Asian vinaigrette which used rice vinegar, oil, sesame oil and honey. The children were instructed to mix the acid with the emulsifier first, and then slowly add the oil … as the kids whisked the ingredients together, the dressing became thicker and thicker!

Towards the end of the workshop, some kids had a chance to chop lettuce and vegetables, and then everyone enjoyed two nice salads!

Thank you Chef Virginie!

Apples, Apples, Apples… and More Apples

Chef Jannai Mapanao, manages the Facebook campus restaurants, but today he visited Juana Briones Elementary school and taught 4th and 5th graders the many different ways apples Briones Chef Jannai 2can be eaten: From apple crisps, to apple “jello” cubes, to apple juice, and apple salsa. Chef Jannai demonstrated that if you don’t like a food in one form, maybe there is another way it can be prepared that you will like. What’s your favorite way to eat an apple?

The “Secret” to Cooking Vegetables

Private chef and teacher, chef Laura Stec, held two engaging workshops for kindergarteners and 3rd graders at Nixon Elementary on Thursday Nov. 9th.  The students learned all about the “secret” to vegetables and thNixon Chef Laura e proper cooking technique to coax this secret out.  By the end of the workshop even the kindergarten students were shouting the correct answers to cooking temperature questions!  And everyone enthusiastically finished off the Asian Lettuce Cups at the end of the demonstration.

Who Knew Vegan Snacks Could Taste So Good?

Chef Ellie Lavender of Lavender Design + Cuisine conducted two fun and delicious cooking demonstrations at Juana Briones Elementary in Palo Alto.  The students learned how to make a healthy snack — vegan lemon-dill hummus! After the demo, the kids enjoyed sampling the snacks along withBriones Chef Ellie 1 organic persimmon slices.  Who knew healthy snacks could taste so-o-o good! And as an added treat, everyone got to take home a persimmon.

Get the detailed recipe for this heavenly snack.


Wait — Pretzels in a Salad??

Briones Rebecca's Five Senses 1Today Bay Area Tasting Week founder, and fearless leader, Rebecca Scholl led two workshops for 3rd graders at Juana Briones Elementary School. The “Five Senses” workshops taught the kids how sound, smell, sight, texture and flavors all contribute to the tasting experience.

After doing a “mindful eating” exercise using pretzels, Rebecca showed the students how to put togetherBriones Rebecca's Five Senses 2 a multi-colored and multi-flavored salad. She really got the creative juices flowing; before you knew it, they added pretzels to the salad. What???

Pasta From Scratch

Barron Park Chef Pablo As part of Bay Area Tasting Week, second and third graders at Barron Elementary School were lucky enough to get a visit today from Chef Pablo Estrada and the staff from Fattoria e Mare. Chef Pablo demonstrated how to mBarron Park Chef Pablo 3ake pasta from scratch and how to use simple and fresh ingredients to make a delicious sauce.

Everyone enjoyed the pasta and when the kids were asked “How is it?” the answer was a resounding “Yummy! .“ Thank you CBarron Park Chef Pablo 2hef Pablo for this memorable event.

Inspired by Grandma

Chef Reylon Agustin, executive sous-chef at the Rosewood Hotel’s Madera Restaurant – visited Juana Briones Elementary school today. He shared a recipe that he learned from his grandmother when he was a child – a simple home-made apple sauce. Starting from several apple varieties (namely the tart Belle de Boskoop and the sweet Hudson golden gem), chef Reylon steamed the apples in a small amount of water and blenagustin-gem-appleded them with absolutely nothing else added! The kids smelled several spices that can be added to enhance the flavor – such as cinnamon, allspice, clove and star anise, but the plain natural apple sauce was a big hit on its own, warm directly from the blender.

Magical Spices and Food

lavender-coucous-saladChef Ellie Lavender wowed the students at Palo Verde Elementary School with her workshop on vegetarian Mediterranean foods. The children journeyed to Morocco with Chef Ellie, explored this land of magical spices and food, and then feasted on a Vegan Moroccan Couscous Salad with Lavender Tahini Dressing. To read more about the workshop, see more pictures, and get the recipe for yourself  – visit Chef Ellie’s Blog.

A Culinary Journey Through France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Tunisia

Castilleja School’s AP French students were treated to a special visit from talented Bay Area Chef Guillemette, owner of  the mobile French pastry school L’Ecole Gourmande. Chef Guillemette began with a tasting of several homemade cookies to see if students could guess the secret spices in each. guillemette-workshop-1-1She shared a bit of her own journey, having grown up in France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Tunisia. Students had a chance to ask her about her experiences and favorite French pastries, and were able to make several cultural comparisons between attitudes towards food in France and the United States. The class ended with a hands-on cooking lesson to learn how to make crème Chantilly. The students were absolutely delighted by Chef Guillemette’s visit. One remarked on her way out that she couldn’t wait to get home to make her own crème Chantilly! Special thanks to Rebecca Scholl, organizer extraordinaire of Tasting Week in the Bay Area. It brings incredible richness to our cultural understanding of other cultures.

Kicking Off Tasting Week 2016 With a Salad Dressing Competition

chef-christy-salad-dressing-competition-1To kick off Tasting Week 2016, we welcomed Chef Christy from Sur La Table to Juana Briones Elementary school. After introducing the kids to several new fruits and vegetables such as quince, rhubarb, radicchio, and jicama, she explained the process in creating the “umami” or “savory” taste. Umami is created when you break down amino acids into glutamate on your tongue – for instance when you brown meat, dry fish to make fish sauce, transform soy into soy sauce, or age parmesan cheese. The secret umami ingredient that chefs will never admit to using but that they use all the time? Garlic powder!

Then chef Christy set up two competing teams to make salad dressing. In any dressing you will need an oil, an acid, an emulsifier and flavoring. The first dressing was Asian, with grapeseed oil, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil and soy sauce. The second one was European with olive oil, chocolate balsamic vinegar, mustard, and…garlic powder. The kids loved them both!