Thursday, March 22, 2018

Fine Dining On The Cheap

Shhhhh! I've discovered a secret for fine dining at a price that is less than a fraction of what you would otherwise have to cough out in a fancy restaurant.

The secret, my friends, lies in the in-house restaurants of culinary schools! And lately, I have been enjoying  fancy 3 to 10 course dinners at my sons' university campuses. Haha! A  10 course dinner prepared by student chefs costs less than a bowl  of soup in a five star restaurant!  I am cheap, I know!

I am a messy eater and more of a soup and sandwich girl although I do enjoy the occasional formal dinner in a posh restaurant and  ONLY with people I am really comfortable with.  Haute cuisine served up by culinary students is more fun and less intimidating.

One - You don't have to deal with poncey waiters/waitresses. The rookie serving staff are probably more nervous than you.

Two - You don't have to sweat over the confusing tableware. Nobody cares if you are eating your fish with a soup spoon instead of a fish knife. The other diners who are mostly students are too busy having fun snapping photos with their phones. Heck, I could eat my fish with a pair of chopsticks and nobody would bat an eye! Hey, I am very talented with my chopsticks! I can pick the tiniest bone off my fish with chopsticks, even a microscopic sesame seed! Fun fact -  did you know it's easier to eat spaghetti with chopsticks than a fork? All that twirling with a fork is a sheer waste of effort.

Three - You don't have to dine with pretentious guests. No one rolls their eyes at you if your fork clanks a little too loudly or if your escargot bounces of your plate!

Remember that famous Julia Robert dining scene? It never gets old!

Four -  Who knows, you may even experience the talents of the next top chefs before they become Michelin stars!

Five - You don't need to attend a fine dining etiquette workshop to learn about the right utensils to use. You get all the practice you need!

The downside? The RARE occasion when your steak is a tad underdone. Pardon the lame pun.

My latest experience to share. A Valentine-themed dinner inspired by Spanish Chef Elena Arzak. She is one of only six women in history whose restaurant has been awarded three Michelin stars. Arzak was named best Female Chef in the World in 2012.


It was a 10 course dinner - Amuse-Bouche (3), Starter (2),  Main (2),  Pre-dessert (1), Dessert (2).
The rustic bread and Spanish garlic rolls were really good. At home, just these and soup alone would make a hearty dinner for me.

Gotta love the fun names the students DISHed out for their creations.

Deep fried butterfish in Kataifi

Marinated sardines with balsamic strawberry

Raspberry gazpacho with melon

Yabbies with mangosteen and garlic

Baked egg with yolk veil and chicken broth

Seared red snapper with green and red parterre
Rack of lamb with pea purée, green sponge and fondant potatoes
Lime soufflé with smoked lemon ice cream
Chocolate sponge and mousse with orange parfait
Petit fours - Banana marshmallows, almond biscuits, passion fruit jellies, white bean truffles

Burp! That was a mighty fine dinner. I heard that a Gordon Ramsey inspired dinner is next on their calendar. Can't wait!


Sandee said...

Well that was a fun culinary trip. I would have enjoyed this dinner too. How fun.

Loved the video. I love escargot.

Have a fabulous day. ♥

Unknown said...

My, that seemed like it was one, long dinner! Ten courses!? How can someone eat so much?

I would rather eat a Biriyani whole, in one sitting, than wait for food to be prepared and arrive. But, if I got it free, or for a small entry fee, then that just could be me!

I have now learnt: little helpings, when served over time, help make a giant eater, even out of a little one.

Melanie said...

Wow, ten courses!! What a great idea to dine at a culinary school. I like fancy restaurants but not the prices!

Hena Tayeb said...

ooh everything looks great.

Mary (cactus catz) said...

Wow! I want to eat there! The dishes sound fabulous

A GAL NEEDS... said...

This is priceless! I love this great experience that you had. I'd love to try this sometime! Cheers! BTW, Do you have a Twitter? I like to reference #MyPostMonday featured posts on Twitter and also refer to the bloggers twitter handle.

Indah Nuria Savitri said...

You certainly have great choice up there, Veronica.. I should tru the same trick! Bon appetit!

stevebethere said...

Brilliant I want to experience all that heheh! all that food looked delicious

Have a fulltastic week :-)

NanaHood said...


Lin said...

What a cool idea! I think it would be fun to try all those foods and give them feedback...if they are looking for some. I wonder if we have any of those near here?

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Thanks so much for stopping by!! Wishing you and yours a Happy Easter!!

Kim Carberry said...

What an amazing meal. 10 courses is just fantastic. Our local college do things like this to train their students. It's such a great idea. #bloggersbest

Unknown said...

Talk about feeling like a pair of gym shoes with a tuxedo. That looks so elegant, but that type of culinary cuisine is just not my style. Give me a shake & a burger & I'm in heaven! ~hehehe~

Mum OverRun. Sarah Aslett said...

Ummm this amazing??!! Where can I do this? Ten courses - looks so yummy! #bloggersbest

Sarah Howe said...

Ah this is such a good idea and the food you were presented with looks fabulous! Thanks for sharing with #bloggersbest x

An Apel a Day said...

I never thought to eat at a school. It makes sense though. They are very good to go to for dental and getting your hair done too. You just have to wait longer for things to get done because it all has to go through the teacher.

Your food looks really good!

Both your comments are up on my blog. I taught yesterday, so I didn't get to approving all of the comments. They are up now though. Thank You!

Jumble Tree said...

What an amazing meal! Love a fine dining experience and this definitely sounds like the way to do it! #bloggerclubuk

thisiswhereitisat said...

Holy moly what an incredible meal and really insightful, thanks for sharing X #bloggersbest

Joanne said...

What a fabulous idea! We have a few cooking schools near us and I'm going to have to check and see if they have anything like this associated with them. #FabFridayPost.

Familymakes said...

What a fabulous idea, and not forgetting you are doing the students a favour too - they have to have someone to serve the food to! Anywhere that serves a pre-dessert and two desserts has to be a win for me!! I hope you enjoy your next visit just as much. #FabFridayPost

Tubbs said...

Yum! We've got a cater college near us. I shall have to have a look to see if they have a restaurant. Fingers crossed!

Su said...

This is so weird and wonderful! I really like the look of BUILDING CASTLES IN THE SKY. Yumm!

Thank you very much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

Sarah Stockley said...

Such a brilliant idea! Making me sooo hungry right now! #fabfridaypost

Coombe Mill - Fiona said...

Wow 10 courses, they look delicious but would have to be very small! #KCACOLS

Awdures said...

Looks delish so when are you coming to mine again? I have wine! #KCACOLS

alid said...

I didn't know you could do this, might have to see if our local university does this. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

Unknown said...

This sounds like my kind of dining - no fuss, no etiquette, just nice, relaxed eating! #kcacols

Ann Hickman said...

Wow, well I think the food looks great. I do like to treat us to fine dining every now and again. Taster menus seems to be my favourite! #kcacols

Sarah Barber said...

Food looks incredible! Will have to keep this in mind for when my husband gets back! #KCACOLS