Come with me on a culinary journey

Come with me on a culinary journey

For the past six years the annual Five Star Food and Wine evening has served as a open door to the MATC experience for community members, partners and supporters to touch, taste, and test the fruits of labor from the college’s best and brightest.

The event brings together the collective power of students under the direction of faculty in the Hospitality programs: Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry Arts, Meeting and Event Management, along with Hotel/Hospitality and Culinary Management.

The event not only enables students to bring their academic preparation to life but also serves as a huge fundraiser for scholarships.

This year’s event raised over $17,000 toward those goals. This year I invite you to come along with me as I recap my culinary journey of taste-testing stations at this year’s event.

1. Chef Moran – Swedish Style Seafood

First stop on my culinary journey was a literal seafood feast. I started my journey with a serving of poached shrimp with Swedish mustard sauce – a sublime balance of savory and tangy. The raw oysters on the half shell were plump, fresh and easy on the palette. In my opinion, the only missing elements were a dab of horseradish and a dash of hot sauce.


Photo by Kirsten Schmitt
Nubia Sims, Culinary Arts program, serves crab cakes with pickled vegetables at the 5 Star Event.


2. Chef Dess – Charcutererie/Fromage/Antipasta

For those of us new to French cuisine, charcuterie pronounced [shahr – koo – tuh – ree] is a style of cooking showcasing prepared meat delicacies like bacon, ham and sausages. This station had a smorgasbord of epic proportion: meats, cheeses, vegetables and pastas.  My favorites were the olives in all varieties, the pepperoncini peppers along with creamy brie and goat cheese. I thought at any moment the station staff would catch on to my never-ending olive eating. 

3. Chef Dess – Carvery

Oh, the carvery – a carnivore’s paradise. This station was an emporium of delectable gourmet carvings of all kinds: beef, turkey, lamb and pork with homemade dipping sauces. My meat love affair – the juicy beef tenderloin accompanied with fig and wine side sauce.

4. Chef Reiss – Middle Eastern

Any Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant within miles could not have served up a better spread of cuisine.  My pick of the night – lamb schwarma with falafel and hummus. The lamb was perfectly roasted with a hint of ethnic spice, the falafel was moist on the inside with a slightly crunchy exterior and the hummus was the perfect accompaniment.

Photo by Kirsten Schmitt
At the Middle Eastern station, lamb schwarma is cut and served on pita.

5. Chef Barton – Spanish Tapas

My hands down “don’t stop til you get enough” vote goes to the croquetas de jamon (Spanish ham croquettes). A surprising culinary grand slam with tender ham in a crispy, fried breadcrumb coating.  My runner-up – the gambas al ajillo (chile garlic shrimp).

Photo by Kirsten Schmitt
Sandra Williamson, Culinary Arts, flips mixed vegetables in a pan as part of the chile garlic shrimp dish served in the Spanish Tapas room.



6. Chef Schneider and Chef Fogle – European Café

My excitement was truly met and exceeded at the European Café. I must admit that by this time my mind was saying “yes” while my tummy was screaming “no!” But a journey like this one was not made for quitters, especially for a dessert lover like me. This station featured artisan bread and bakery dishes with creative inspirations. My sweet treat – the tropical fruit verrine, a French dessert achieved by layering alternating ingredients into a single-serve glass or container.   


Photo by Kirsten Schmitt
Bethany Vanderhoof is impressed by the baking students craft.