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Dartmouth College’s Afro/Black Paris Students Love Cooking Creole in Paris

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

Dartmouth College’s Afro/Black Paris Students Love Cooking Creole in Paris

Students from Dartmouth College’s Afro/Black Paris Foreign Studies Program braved sweltering temperatures last Thursday afternoon to participate in an extraordinary cultural adventure.

Discover Paris! and the Académie de l’Art Culinaire du Monde Créole organized a culinary workshop for these students that served to expose them to classic dishes from the French Antilles, introduce them to ingredients from which these dishes are created, and teach them a few cooking skills as well.

Joby Garnier and Afro/Black Paris groupAfro/Black Paris students with Joby Garnier,
president of l'Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole
© Discover Paris!

 

The students boarded the Mistinguett peniche (barge) at Port de la Rapée on the Seine River just before 1 PM and went below deck to an air conditioned dining room and professional kitchen that had been prepared for the event.

I introduced the eighteen students and their professor, Dr. Trica Keaton, to the members of the Académie’s team – Joby Garnier (President), Nicole Etienne (General Secretary), Isabelle Tulle (Director of marketing and communications), Chef Stéphan Sorbon, and Chef Bruno Fortuné.

Académie TeamAcadémie team: Joby Garnier (far left); Nicole Etienne (upper left);
Isabelle Tulle (upper right)

Chef Bruno Fortuné (lower left); Chef Stéphane Sorbon (lower right)
Images © Discover Paris!


And then the fun began!

The students donned white coats and gloves and were divided into four teams.  Each team prepared a course for the meal that everyone would consume at the end of the event.  Isabelle Tulle, Professor Keaton, and I served as translators for the chefs, who spoke almost no English.

Getting readyGetting ready to cook
© Discover Paris!


The menu for the meal consisted of:

  • Aperitif: Planteur (Planter’s Punch)
  • Appetizer: Féroce d’avocat (Fierce Avocado)
  • Main dish and side: Fricassé de Poulet et Gratin de Christophine (Chicken Fricassee and Chayotte gratin
  • Dessert: Blanc Manger Coco (coconut blancmange [pudding])

Preparation stations for culinary atelierPreparation stations: Planter's Punch (upper left);
Féroce d'avocat (upper right);

Gratin de Christophine (lower left); Blanc Manger Coco (lower right)
Images © Discover Paris!

The chefs taught the teams how to prepare their courses.  The Planteur team members even got a science lesson when they prepared their punch – Chef Sorbon explained that the layers of the multicolored drinks they concocted were due to the varying densities of the sugar cane syrup and fruit juice mixtures that composed the layers.  Because the rum-curacao layer had no added sugar cane syrup, it floated on top.

Making Planteur dégradéMaking a layered Planter's Punch
Images © Discover Paris!


Among other things, students learned how to properly use a knife to chop and dice fruits and vegetables, how to separate the wings and legs from a chicken, and how to prepare gelatin using gelatin sheets.

Collage_Dicing PineappleDicing pineapple
Images © Discover Paris!

They also gained an understanding of how produce that bears the same name but that comes from different areas of the world can be vastly different.

As an example, the avocat pays – the “local” avocado from the French Antilles – is larger and has a flavor that better supports salty and spicy preparations than other types of avocado.



Peeling avocadoPeeling avocado
Images © Discover Paris!


The teams entered a friendly competition – each group had to present its course at the end of the event and the other groups judged the presentations and assigned scores.

 

Presenting Planter's PunchPlanter's Punch team demonstrates how to make the layered apéritif
© Discover Paris!


Féroce d'avocat with coral dentelle and sweet and sour sauce
© Discover Paris!

Fricasée de poulet et Gratin de christophineChicken fricassée with chayotte gratin
© Discover Paris!

Blanc manger cocoBlanc manger coco with diced pineapple and pomegranite seeds
© Discover Paris!


Prizes were awarded at the end of the event.  The dessert team won first place for its Blanc Manger Coco.

Isabelle announces the winning teamAnnouncing the winning team
© Discover Paris!

General Secretary Etienne presented various ingredients while the students enjoyed their meal.  When he asked whether the students had ever experienced such a meal before, the answer was “no.”  When he asked whether they would try the recipes once they returned to the U.S., the answer was a resounding “YES!”

After lots of learning, laughter, and a scrumptious three-course meal, participants reluctantly left the shelter of the dining room to re-emerge into the heat of the afternoon.

Everyone agreed that this gastronomic event was an unequivocal success!

To view the photo album for the event, click HERE.


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