April 1, 2010


Soup Dumplings

Scooping Cream

L'Ecole Kitchen

Cutting Meat

Watch & Learn

Culinary Kitchen

L'Ecole is the official restaurant of the French Culinary Institute, but the name literally translates to "the school." As far as I can tell, the only way that you would know that students are actually the ones preparing the food is to peek into the kitchen. While only FCI students who are nearing the end of the curriculum cook at L'Ecole, the rest of the students study in the same building.

Many months ago I learned that my friend M was cooking in the kitchen and I made it a point to dine at L'Ecole before she graduates. I invited B, A and C to dine with me (knowing that I'd need help in finishing the extra tastings). M's team created a platter of "soup dumplings" (as shown above) that was a really nice reinterpretation of the dim sum classic.

After the meal, M took me on a tour of the kitchen and the classrooms upstairs. We passed class after class of students listening, peeling, slicing, and kneading; keep in mind that it was past 10PM at this point! Culinary school, especially at FCI, is no joke. It's hard work and long hours. The diligence will almost always pay off in the end though... especially for patrons of future FCI-graduate restaurants.

For now, patrons should take advantage of the great-valued prix fixe ($42 for 5 courses) at L'Ecole. The portions are generous and the tastes are innovative. Below is the set that I ordered:

Amuse/Canape: Soup Dumpling

First Course: Squab Consommé with Caramelized Butternut Squash

Fish Course: Pan-Seared Bass with Artichoke and Buckwheat Crêpes

Meat Course: Braised Short Ribs with Sweet Potato Purée and Celery Root Crème

Fourth Course: Digestif Salad

Dessert: Pumpkin Sponge Cake with Milk Chocolate Mousse & Apple Chips

More mouthwatering pics can be found here.


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