How about a topic on roasting vegetables and/or grilling vegetables. Not only can they then be eaten as is, but they can also be the basis for many other dishes, such as ratatouille, stuffed pastas, pasta sauces, cold plates, hors, etc.
Williams and Sonoma is a good school, usually the turn out is good and they promote their classes well. I would try to be specific in my approach, offering them a proposal for 4-5 classes on vegetables, so you get a series going. This usually works well and insures some longevity. Vegetarian Appetizers and Party Favors, Vegetarian Entrees, Raw Foods, etc...
Since their kitchen is in the works I've got no clue as to what equipment they'll have. I also told them I'd be glad to include products fffrom their shelves. So as of now I have Butternut squash soup with shiitake dumplings (chinese) Eggplant salad with chevre and sherry viniagrette....not sure if I'm going to make tthe eggplant mush by sticking it on the burner and charring it or do a sautee and keep it in distinct pieces. Pasta with heirloom tomatoes and Roasted pepper puree...I love this wiht a hit of heat and alittle orange added
Sweet Potato Flan with caramel apples...may do the Dulce goo on the sauteed apples. We have two hours from start to finish
Figure I can push the market with the variety but I'm concerned about making the flan prior to the demo for sampling. The food budget is nominal 1/2 to 1/3 of what other plschools have.I'm kinda surprised they've not really got a set assistant to run the school, it's kinda a cool thing cus Viking is in town and they wanna catch up.A series of classes is not that appealing to me. I have camp in August for 10 days as well as the Food and Wine gig in Jan. that has to be finished by mid Oct. plus a few parties for several hundred in Sept. not really looking for class work, the energy involved to write recipes and put on the class is not the direction I've been going.
Now to follow up with farmers to see what they got coming out ground at that time.
Sept 15 I just hung up from my butternut source he was questioning when they would be out. So they'll go to the menu and if they are not in season then I'll substitute and talk about seasonality. Absolutely I'll need to make Flans ahead for sampling, it's just with a nominal budget doing multiples is pretty pricy. As to shrooms I don't do classes using foraged wild, unless they are shroomers....the liability is too great. My shiitake farmer is organic log grown , the texture is so different than the sawdust, hay grown varieties....I have about 12 different types of wild shrooms and I guess I could pull a few of the commercially sold ones out. I've not been in William Sonoma in ages, I bet anything there is some frufee dried shrooms or oils that could be incorporated. Part of it too is having availability of whatever I make. What is the point of teaching a recipe then not having the ingrediants available?
Your menu sounds fabulous. What is the capacity of the cooking school? If they don't have a prep staff you will probably need some help getting the sample food ready especially if you are cooking for more than a dozen or so people.
I work in a cooking school and we typically cook everything we can in the back of the house prior to the class. Everything that cannot be cooked is prepped and cooked by prep cooks while the chef does the demo. The chef just demos 1/2 or 1X the recipe. Unless it's a salad dressing or something like that his portion is not even served.
You are absolutely right about having seasonally available ingredients. I would go ahead and write any potential substitutions into the recipes so people don't feel slighted.
I'm sure WS is thrilled you will be featuring their products and of course thier equipment.
Good luck and I hope this helps, Dickie
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