Tuesday, May 7, 2019

CVI: Chef for a Day Experience

The Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio is home to fine dining events featuring visiting chefs from all across the country, using seasonal ingredients grown right on their James Beard Foundation award-winning Chef's Garden grounds.

In addition to the events held monthly, a select few can "upgrade" their experience by purchasing a Chef for a Day package, which gives you a full day of access to this beautiful kitchen equipped with every tool and toy you can think of...
...and the opportunity to prep, cook, and serve right alongside the CVI and visiting chefs. This time, we worked with the team from JUST. Go read more about their plant-based products.
Sounded right up Mr. H's alley, so that was his birthday gift this year!
They even let me have a knife! 
He's still all smiles, even several hours into trimming and cleaning mushrooms.
After working for a couple of hours, you settle in for a fabulous private lunch and chat with CVI Executive Chef Liaison Jamie Simpson.
Seriously, it was almost too pretty to eat. And our mushrooms made their first appearance! That green item on the left is chicken. The skills and techniques of CVI Chef Tristan Acevedo blew me away during this lunch. He whipped this all up in what felt like minutes.
The carrot sorbet to end the meal was a highlight for me.
We were put back to work for a little while longer in the kitchen, but then popped out to the Chef's Garden grounds for a brief tour and to clip some of the edible flowers to use as garnishes at the evening's event.
I could have wandered through their greenhouses for hours.
But it was time to pop back to freshen up for dinner in the rustic and picturesque dining room. Your package includes two tickets to the dinner, but you can choose between sitting for the meal or staying in the kitchen to help finish cooking and plating.
The evening kicked off with the delicate signature cocktail of the evening. I had to get a second, it went down so nicely! Wine, beer, or wine pairings are also available for an additional charge.
Then the courses from JUST started to roll out. This was their version of Crudité, with this amazing vertical Kalamata olive crisp that we got to watch them make.
The Waffle course included crispy chicken, slaw, and a JUST waffle.
Our mushrooms made their second appearance next in the Pasta course with JUST egg noodles (no eggs were harmed in the making of this pasta), lemon beurre monté, and mushrooms. This dish was so good that Mr. H took a crack at recreating it the following week, and it turned out pretty darn good.
The team from JUST couldn't have been any cooler to hang out with that day, and the chefs at CVI were wonderful about working with us even though we're at very different skill levels in the kitchen (a.k.a. I'm useless and Mr. H is a whiz). The servers later that day also embraced us crashing their training meeting, and continued to check on us all evening. I was a little sad to see the day end. But I did confirm that I'm not cut out for a 12-hour day in the kitchen!
It was such a unique experience. One that we'll never forget. But I don't need to see another mushroom for a little while. Mr. H had a blast, and happily cleaned mushrooms a few days later.

12304 Mudbrook Road
Milan, OH 44846


Unknown said...

What a fun experience! Love this!

Bite Buff said...

It was special, that’s for sure! We’re lucky to be able to do something like that not too far from home.