Every three weeks, the students here put on a giant buffet. One might even call it a “Grand Buffet.” Each class prepares gluttonous amounts of food to showcase to peers and chefs and together, everyone celebrates food and their foodie achievements. We eat and eat and taste and sample and then go for seconds, followed by healthy helping of dessert.
There is a lot of self-control involved…but the portions are a bit small, so what’s another bite of something? And I’m here to learn about food, right? So it’s really research if I go for another round. Plus, they may not make the same thing at the next buffet, so it may be my last chance and I wouldn’t want to miss something amazing that I’ve never tried before…
Before you can say holy forcemeat, you have an entire set of small dinner plates at your table, and you still might find yourself asking the stranger next to you if you might try a spoonful of their frozen soufflé.
The desserts are really the focal point, of course (or, at least they are through my extraordinarily skewed and sugar-infected perspective.) Although, objectively, the dessert stations are the only which I’ve seen students open their purses and literally shovel food into them. Not even discreetly. You would think none of us had eaten in days. Remember, we are at a culinary school. There’s lots of food. All the time. Still, people line up like frantic parents flocking to buy a Cabbage Patch Doll in the 80’s.
Despite how I shake my head when I see the crazed look in peoples’ eyes scoping out the ice cream table, I must admit that I too lose my mind slightly when I see the abundance of chocolates and candies. From the back of the room, I can see them from afar due to their illuminating, ethereal glow. There’s nougat, jelly candies, hard candies, chocolate dipped dried fruits, caramels, and other delicious things to which I can never say no.
During my last class, we contributed good amount of the desserts to the buffet. We made fruit tarts, frozen soufflés, ice cream, sorbet, and several other items. I was quite proud of the chocolate molded cups my partner and I constructed, simply because I still don’t fully understand the science behind tempering chocolate and therefore don’t entirely understand the method. I think it’s actually a form of witchcraft.
Anyway, it is Grand and it’s an incredible opportunity to see what your peers are up to and a wonderful time to celebrate food.
And here are the magic chocolate cups…
(pictures courtesy of Lauren Deitsch)