We were invited to sample a 5-course French meal prepared by the 1st year students of the institute.
The institute was started in 2005 by Mr V.S Dutta with a vision “to become India’s finest culinary institute delivering international standards of culinary education and training chefs for tomorrow.”
Before the lunch we were given a tour.
We saw some fantastic sugar work action (we even learnt a trick or two).
And also checked out the kitchen where our lunch was being prepped and prepared.
We were then seated at an elegant, tastefully set table with refreshing bright-yellow lemon drinks. I must add that there was some very romantic French instrumental music in the background that did its part in mentally transporting us.
The first course was the very classic Salad Nicoise. This is a salad I’ve eaten in several places across the city and I have to say this is the best rendition of it I have tasted. Not only did it include all the right elements (right down to potatoes, capers, and anchovy paste), but it was also plated in a simple way that made it look just beautiful. I could go on about the mix of textures and flavours in this dish (the meatiness of the tuna, the creaminess of the egg, the sharpness of the olives, the fishy-ness of the anchovies, the crunchiness of the beans) but it will suffice to say I absolutely loved it. (I still have dreams about that wonderful anchovy paste.)
The second course was Soupe a l’Oignon or French onion soup. The soup was mild and not onion-y enough in my opinion. Traditionally it is made with beef stock which lends it a stronger base flavour, but here it was made with chicken stock which is obviously weaker. The Gruyere-covered baguette could have done with a little more bubbling cheese.
There was an assortment of freshly baked bread and herbed butter at the table, which we were constantly nibbling at. Can someone please tell me how, just how, breadsticks are so awesome?
The third course was Sole Meuniere. The fish was cooked to perfection – moist and covered with a very light lemon-butter sauce. It came seated on a bed of delicious sauteed spinach, accompanied by a posh lady lemon wedge who looked like she was carrying an olive hand-bag! No, seriously! Look 🙂
The fourth course was Poulet Saute Chasseur or Hunter style chicken. Crispy skinned chicken, covered in a rich brown sauce, served with a steamed vegetables and some divinely buttery baby chateau potatoes.
The fifth and final course was my favourite. Yes, yes, it was the dessert course – a stunning Mango Romanoff. A chilled cream and sweet mango marriage, topped with a crisp sugar-work web. Inside there was also a thick mango puree (not too sweet) which added even more flavour. We all devoured this dessert like it was the end of the world. And believe me, I’d do it again.
Post this wonderful, wonderful lunch it was time to meet the very talented students and the teacher-chefs while we snacked on some petit fours with tea.
If you’re someone who’s been thinking about taking a cooking course or want to study the art, this seems like a wonderful place to do it. The teachers are inspired and fun, and the stuff you learn is bound to be delicious!
I’m tempted to do it myself!
Here’s the very happy bunch of us. Thank you to all the students and staff at IICA for making it a truly memorable French afternoon.
Read what the others there had to say:
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