We recently attended an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Conference. The speaker roster included a well known Anthropologist who shared insights into the culture of food and what is means in our society for the past, present and future. Another speaker, well known author and James Beard award winner Shirley Corrinher, shared some cooking tips with us. We also got a behind the scenes tour of Le Cordon Bleu, where the conference was held.
Shirley Corrinher is many things: a well respected chef, abiochemist and author of CookWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking. Corrinher also is the winner of a James Beard Foundation award. Here other book BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking. CookWise explains how scientific principles can be applied to traditional cooking, while BakeWise applies the same theory to baking. She’s also a riot to be around. She spoke at the IACP conference and shared some cooking tips with us. Here are three gems Shirley shared with the audience:
- Salt. Everywhere we turn nowadays we are told salt is bad for us. But did you know that a small amount of salt reduces the bitterness in foods?
- Risotto. Want to make it extra creamy? Add an egg yolk to risotto to make it super creamy.
- Searing meat does not keep juices in. Cooking it a consistent temperature is the way to keep the juices in. To avoid moisture loss make sure meat is brined. Meat that has been brined will lose only 15 percent moisture. Meat that has not been brined will loss about 30 percent moisture.
After our speakers were done and a scrumptious lunch (they do it up right!) we got to tour Le Cordon Bleu Atlanta, where the conference was held. I didn’t know much about the culinary tracks offered at Le Cordon Bleu, only experiencing meals from some of their talented graduates. It is quite an operation they have in their “classrooms.”
We toured the numerous and neatly organized classrooms. I’m told chefs are spoiled by how elegant the appliances are at Le Cordon Bleu and have a bit of an adjustment when they get out into real world restaurant kitchens. Also worth noting is that many work stations have cameras mounted from the ceilings. During demonstrations, students can really see techniques up close. Cameras can also be used to review the process to help identify where mistakes were made. All in all we were pretty impressed with the operation!