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Culinary Arts students learn from two famous chefs

By Aaron Anderson
On April 23, 2009

It's been an exciting couple of weeks for our Culinary Arts students as they hosted both a real Roman restaurateur and a presidential pastry preparer. MATC's favorite Roman, Chef Benedetto "Benny" D'Epiro, joined the students and chefs of Cuisine Dining to celebrate his cookbook, "The Art of Cooking According to Me!" and its award for Gourmand 2008 Best First Book in Italy and its nomination for top three in the world.

Chef Benny and the students from Cuisine prepared dishes from his cookbook and restaurant for a packed dining room of over 60 guests. The dishes featured were Roman favorites such as roasted lamb with artichokes, and chickpea cakes (a 2000-year-old recipe) served with fresh ice cream and imported honey, both of which were big hits with the guests.

Chef Roland Mesnier visited MATC to show students the wonders of sugar work. What is sugar work? It is the art of turning boiled sugar into beautiful, edible masterpieces. He has spent 25 years as the head pastry chef for the White House, serving five First Families, and after nearly 50 years as a chef, he is a master of his art.

Chef Roland spent over two hours interacting with students and demonstrating the art of sugar work in the demo kitchen, where, by the start of the demonstration, there was standing room only. All was not serious work, as he joked and laughed with the students gathered in the demo kitchen while he made lilies, daisies and a gorgeous white swan, all from nothing but sugar, water and a little coloring.

After the demo, Chef Roland stayed late to talk with students and sign copies of his book, "All the Presidents' Pastries," for them.

The Culinary Arts students are still hard at work, both in their own programs and at Cuisine Dining, where they hope to someday put into practice all that they've learned from these two great chefs over the last few weeks.

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