Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A demo at The French Culinary Institute with Dave Arnold and Nils Noren

A scoop of Potato ice cream at a demonstration at The French Culinary Institute with Dave Arnold and Nils Noren.

Looking ahead. The Third annual New York Culinary Experience is coming up soon, and you don’t want to miss it. In short, it's an intense weekend of fun-filled culinary courses for serious and amateur cooks alike. If you've always wanted to sign up for a cooking class, now's your chance. And instead of having to commit to numerous sessions over a period of weeks, you get to cram the equivalent of many courses into one weekend.

You also get to cook with some pretty serious chefs. The event takes place on October 2nd and 3rd at The French Culinary Institute. Some of the participating chefs include Dave Arnold, Nils Noren, Andrew Carmellini, George Mendes, Anita Lo, Andre Soltner, Jacques Torres and Paul Liebrandt to name a few.

I caught up with Dave Arnold and Nils Noren for a peak at what their demo might include. Dave and Nils are heavy into Culinary Technology, and Dave teaches it at The French Culinary Institute. The use of technology and scientific techniques with food has evolved from the merely edible to where it is now used to actually improve the food and its process. Nils and Dave have an especially lovely rapport — I wish I had had them as my science teachers back in High School.
Demo at FCI with Dave Arnold and Nils Noren.
For the demo: A peach bourbon cocktail and vanilla potato ice cream. What's the science behind a cocktail, you ask? The fresh summer peaches took a ride in a centrifuge (clarifying the peach puree), leaving only clear peach juice, which makes for a cleaner and smoother cocktail. We also made a batch of potato ice cream by mixing baking potatoes into a crème anglaise ice cream base. Potatoes are wonderfully starchy, transforming the texture of the ice cream into a durable and stretchy glob (think silly putty). It was fun to play with and more fun to eat. What a sharp and thoughtful demo. I can only imagine what’s in store for the New York Culinary Experience.

The experience is hosted by Gillian Duffy, New York magazine culinary editor, and Dorothy Cann Hamilton, CEO and Founder of The French Culinary Institute. The New York Culinary Experience takes place on October 2 and 3, 2010 at the French Culinary Institute, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013. For more Information please call 646.314.4413 or click here.
Cocktail ingredients for the peach bourbon cocktail – bourbon, clarified plum juice, clarified peach juice, and simple syrup.
Fresh peaches in the blender.
Dave blending the peaches. Dave removing the liquid nitrogen.
The peach juice in the centrifuge.
Dave chilling the cocktail with liquid nitrogen.
The peach bourbon cocktail, ready for sipping.
Potatoes in the blender.
Nils with the creme anglaise ice cream base. Straining the ice cream mixture to smoothen.
Working the ice cream.
Liquid nitrogen to cool the mixture.
Potato ice cream, ready to taste.
Fashion week is fast approaching. Good news is you won't have to move too far from the tents for some scrumptious food. Bon Appetit will be sponsoring a café in Lincoln Center, which will serve items like Stumptown Coffee, pastries from Le Bernardin and lunch items from chefs Rick Bayless and Bill Telepan. [Racked]

Here's some useful dining etiquette advice for a most common situation. Never get into the nitty gritty of dividing a check, especially if you are more than a party of two. It requires too much time of the waiter and it can make things unpleasant. Unless you are part of a big dinner party, someone should volunteer to pay the check and collect cash. [Bon Appetit]

Good news for chocoholics.
Dark chocolate, in moderation, may play a role in preventing heart failure. The cocoa's flavonoids are thought to reduce inflammation (coaxing the body into making more nitric oxide, which relaxes the blood vessels). The key: only have one serving of chocolate once or twice a week. Women in the study who ate chocolate nearly every day did not see the same positive results. [New York Times]
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