The occasion felt mostly happy, perhaps due to an open bar and generous wine and champagne pours at the tables. There were lots of hugs and folks reuniting and catching up. All guests were comped for the event, which seemed like a nice gesture. I've heard that the price to attend the CCA is now over sixty thousand dollars and that enrollment is down, which is one reason the Polk campus is closing. My thirty five thousand dollar culinary education now sounds like a relative bargain compared to that steeper cost.
It would've been fun to see more fellow CCA alums in attendance. Guests included: Julie Tan, Roy Salazar, Herve LeBiavant, Serge Bled, CCA President Jennifer White, Tim Grable, Mike Weller, Chef Leo (recently retired after teaching eight thousand students!), Stephen Gibbs and Molly Fuller, Holly & Jean Yves LeDu, Emily Adams, Francesca Perata, Larry Michaels, Michael & Rose Rech, uber food blogger Amy Sherman (who had returned from a trip to Italy that afternoon), Beth Klein Seligman. Invites were sent out only seven days before the event, and what cook is able to escape work on a busy Friday night on a holiday weekend? Buffets were set up, but the room only seemed to have a third of its usual buffet contents. There seemed to be too much pates and meat, with a smidgen of Ceasar and fruit salads. I looked for endive appetizers, which were a buffet standby when I was a student. No go.
The menu: charcuterie, assorted smoked meats and fish, gallontines, ballotines, assorted pate and salads, fresh (moldy tasting) seafood selection, cheeses and fruits, hot entrees including prime rib, kobe beef, and trout. Desserts were flaming crepes, giant flaming Baked Alaska, chocolate and cheesecakes, and mini fruity/creamy pastries. Perhaps the best part was watching the teen aged daughter of Larry Michaels easily slice off the cork of a champagne. Chef Herve LeBiavant had a bigger sword, and took three tries. Next came the flaming Baked Alaska, which looked more than thirty feet long.
Baked Alaska, anyone?