I love schools. My early 20s saw many a haircut at the hairdressing school that used to be on Cambie St. It was cheap and there is a supervisor there, what can go wrong, right? I feel the same way about culinary school dining experiences. I had a great time at PICA so I was looking forward to trying the cafeteria at Vancouver Community College.
A perfect opportunity appeared on Monday when Cool J, of Lez Reno fame, emailed with an open lunch date. Jax is always up for an adventure!
On the way to the caf, we went past the formal dining lounge, JJ's Fine Dining and thought this sounded like a great idea. They run on the idea that the culinary students are the serving staff and the chefs. After confusing the first student by asking if we needed a reservation or if we could walk in and eat, another student decided we could and sat us.
The best part of the restaurant- watching the chefs make your food on a giant TV in the dining room.
That is not Hell's Kitchen, that is you food being made! So much fun. Watch your waiter leave the room and appear in the kitchen and then pick up your food and come back to the dining room. Truthfully, it kind of messes with my TV/reality borders but it was really cool to see.
They had a really nice lunch menu that I assume changes frequently as the class goes on. Maybe they all learn to cook this menu? Great prices for the food. Everything they brought out of the kitchen looked fantastic. It is fine dining, so it was all presented very well.
It all sounded amazing. After we ordered they brought us some fresh bread that I assume the bakery class made that day. I love moulded butter.
The buns were nice but Cool J did not have one so, being the class act that I am, I wrapped the other two in my napkin and put them in my purse. I will not waste bread.
I know it doesn't make for very exciting blogging but both Cool J and I went with the artichoke and wild mushroom ragu with truffle gnocchi. I want to live in truffle gnocchi.
So good. The gnocchi were really tasty. Potatoes and truffles- yes please. The ragu and cheese had a nice tangy flavour. I don't know if this would be on the menu all the time, but I would order it again.
On to dessert! Cool J ordered the Chocolate Marquise, Caramel Espresso Ice cream.
Pretty. We both thought it was mousse and were surprised that it was so dense. She said it was really tasty. Now that I have looked it up, I know that marquise is a no bake dessert that can be easily moulded. Learning- not just for the students.
I ordered the Pavlova with Fresh Seasonal Berries.
We joked for a while about what was a "seasonal berry" in BC in January. I guess strawberries and blueberries are in season...somewhere. Not working the 100 mile diet with this dessert.
In more learning, turns out, I don't like pavlova. Not surprising as I also don't like meringue. It sticks to your teeth, is too sweet and has a weird texture. Hard for me to comment on how good this was as I didn't know what a pavlova was before I ordered it. I did enjoy the custard and berries and the mango sauce on the bottom. I am sure this was an excellent example of what a pavlova should be as the rest of the meal was top notch.
A very fun experience. I love watching the kitchen action. They have 2 sittings, lunch and dinner. Dinner serving is only from 5:30-6:30 and I am sure you need reservations for that. I will try it for sure!
What can possibly go wrong?