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Culinary School Graduation

We interrupt regular programming to announce a happy event. My daughter, Alex, finished her culinary course. The culminating activity took place yesterday.

Culinary School Graduation

But, wait, wasn’t Alex studying Theater? She was. Until she switched gears. That’s the thing about finding your passion. She discovered, belatedly, that hers was cooking and there was no turning back. As my friend, Kristene, puts it, “I’m sure this just made it official; she was always a chef at heart.”

The culminating activity of the students at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS) was to prepare a buffet for 100 guests that consisted of family and friends of each student.

These were what they served.

Culinary School Graduation: Legacy Buffet: sushi

Alex was designated sous chef for the cold kitchen. She and her group prepared sushi and sashimi.

cacs-Culinary School Graduation: Legacy Buffet: sashimi

And salads.

cacs-Culinary School Graduation: Legacy Buffet: Caesar's Salad

There was Caesar’s Salad. And there was grape and cheese salad which I will post a photo of later with a recipe for my version.

cacs-Culinary School Graduation: Legacy Buffet: Main Dishes

The hot kitchen prepared two vegetable dishes, callos, chicken barbecue and a Chinese fish dish.

cacs-Culinary School Graduation: Legacy Buffet: fish

In the carving station, there was roast beef and lechon belly.

Culinary School Graduation: Legacy Buffet: roast beef and lechon belly

For the carbs dishes, pasta with three sauces to choose from.

Culinary School Graduation: Legacy Buffet: pasta sauces

What I wasn’t able to take a photo of was the seafood paella.

And then, there was dessert.

Culinary School Graduation: Legacy Buffet: trifle and truffles

Trifle and truffles.

Culinary School Graduation: Legacy Buffet: creme caramel

Creme caramel.

Culinary School Graduation: Legacy Buffet: cream puffs

Cream puffs.

Culinary School Graduation: Legacy Buffet: Sans RIval cake, New York cheesecake, chocolate cake

Sans Rival cake, chocolate cake and New York cheesecake.

It took the class three days to prepare that buffet.¬†And how was it? A mother’s bias aside, it was gorgeous. Not perfect (refills were slow and there was a point when they ran out of plates) but it’s the first time for these cooks to mount a buffet of that magnitude and getting all the dishes ready on time was no mean feat. Everyone involved in the preparation and cooking deserves a pat on the back.

The truth is, there was so much food that I wasn’t able to try everything. I kept wishing I had more than one stomach. Speedy’s first destination was the carving table, naturally. Sam didn’t touch any meat but she didn’t shy away from the seafood. My brother (and only sibling) and his wife, Speedy’s brother and sister (godfather and godmother to Alex, respectively), and Alex’s best friend from college completed our group.

Culinary School Graduation

The graduation ceremony was held right there in the dining room. When Alex’s name was called, we stood up and cheered loudly. Well, why not? It was a good day, we had a great meal, and the company was even more great. I think our group was the most boisterous but that’s us.

That’s the class in the photo above. Alex is in the front row, extreme right. The school director, Gene Gonzales, is in the middle of the second row.

We chatted over coffee and, when Alex was free to leave the kitchen, she joined us.

Alex Veneracion

Thanks to my sister-in-law for these last two photos.

I’m sure our faces say everything else that need to be said.

Alex Veneracion