Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Matthew Kenney Academy, Level 2, Weeks 1 and 2

tamarind glaced cherry tomatoes
avocado, coriander froth
After a great Thanksgiving Break that I got to spend with lovely old friends in Denver and San Francisco, I arrived back in Oklahoma City, full of energy and ready for all the exciting new things I would be learning during the Advanced Training at the Matthew Kenney Academy.

Among the many highlights, I would like to share with you in this blog post, my favorite new discovery is the “Sous-Vide”, a method to cook food under vacuum at low temperatures in a water bath. The first thing we prepared using this method was a red beet carpaccio with macadamia cheese and pistacchios. While this is a fabulous dish, the effect of the sous vide is maybe not the most convincing considering you can make really nice red beet carpaccio by simply marinating. 

Brussel Sprouts sous - vide

However, when we applied the technique to brussel sprouts, I was in bliss. I love this vegetable but so far, I rather have it steamed or cooked, because marinating and dehydrating normally ends up in a rather oily, and/or chewy dry brussel sprout. However, with the sous-vide technique, you get juicy, soft but still crunchy brussel sprouts with vivid colors and vibrant taste.
Portobello Piccata

The highlight of our sous-vide experiments was the portobello piccata, for which we cooked the portobello mushroom for a few hours in the sous-vide at 105 F, sliced it into thin strips and fanned them over some nice jicama mashed potatoes to finish it off with some beautiful walnut bread crumbs, herb oil and green olives. This was one of my favorite dishes of the Level 2 training.

Chef Shawn operating the smoking gun

Vietnamese Pho Broth with Smoked Coconut Tofu
You might think this is already exciting enough, but it didn’t end here. We were introduced to the use of the smoking gun to give a smoked flavor to many things such as soaked nuts, cheeses and vegetables. We used it to smoke our coconut based tofu which we served in a Vietnamese Pho Broth that was out of this world. 

King Oyster Calamari with Romesco and Tartar Sauce

Another super exciting dish were the Calamari, a fun bar food and fine dining hybrid. Made from King Oyster Mushrooms and breaded in herbs and ground flax, they resembled real calamari, as well as in look and texture. The cashew based tartar sauce and the tomato based romesco sauce both went really well with the crunchy rings.
Last but not least, I want to mention the papadams with tamarind glaced tomatoes, avocado tartar and coriander froth. I loved those papadams, they were perfectly thin and flaky, but not greasy like regular papadams and personally, I would prefer this dish with only the tamarind glaze made into a chutney or maybe have 2-3 chutneys to choose from, just like you get them traditionally served in an Indian restaurants as an Appetizer. I think it’s a beautiful dish and would give a light start to a more heavy Indian style raw meal. 

Macadamia goat style cheese on spring greens
white vine vinaigrette, candied hazelnuts
Those were my personal highlights of the Level 2 training. In the next blog post, I will present some pastry highlights that we got to during week 3 of the training. And there surely were some exciting ones :-)


  1. How long did you cook the Portabellas for at 105 degrees? Did you add any fats or aromatics? Thanks!

  2. I think it was 2-4 hours, and we added finely chopped herbs (rosemary, thyme,...), olive oil , some salt and pepper.