Training Kitchen Ninjas. So says the Oregon Culinary Institute sign at 1701 SW Jefferson.
The day I stopped by a class of students was doing trial by fire in the OCI kitchen and dining room. Jumping into the throes of cooking and serving in a real life professional setting for the very first time. Courage was the order of the day.
I couldn’t have felt more welcome or well-served by staff and students. First, a Hood River Cherry Salad with Arugula, Radicchio, Fennel, Almonds and Goat Cheese with Honey Vanilla Vinaigrette. Bright and beautiful.
Having no ability or desire to resist salmon, I chose Pan Roasted Salmon with Curried Couscous with Carrot, Jicama, Radish and Pineapple Relish. No farmed salmon at OCI.
Sometimes a respite from dessert is required. Today was not that day. Paradoxically, baking and pastry work was my entre into the culinary world many years ago; however, I’m not compelled to eat dessert. To my delight, my birthday celebrations were unending last week, and when offered OCI’s Chocolate Dream Torte, I caved. It was a very good decision. A delicate, flourless chocolate cake with chocolate icing… not overly sweet, just intensely satisfying and a silky crumb. Made all the more wonderful with a great cup of coffee. Note to self.
Creativity abounded. Knives flew. Kitchen ninjas, indeed.
Oregon Culinary Institute, 1701 SW Jefferson St, Portland, OR 97201, 888.OCI.CHEF