350 students discovering authentic taste

November 29th, 2010 | Posted by greg in Classes & Demo

On the initiative of a very passionate teacher, Benoit, we were invited to be host of “La Journee du Gout” (The day of taste) at South Island School, in Hong Kong, showcasing authentic taste to about 350 students. When I write ‘We’, that would be Hong Kong’s finest chefs getting together. In the short history of the Michelin Guide in Hong Kong, there has never been any single event gathering so many Michelin starred chefs, pastry chefs, sommelier and maitre d’… Best of all, this was not done on the ground of competition or fame, but rather to give students an opportunity to discover what authentic food tastes like.  It was just great!

The day was organized in workshops and each of us held a classroom where we would hold 30 minutes sessions with 30 students at a time… and all of this in French! :) We then held an interview session with the students.

The workshop ranged from cheese, vegetables, fruits, chocolate to lemonade and of course Bread… so you figured it out, Mark and I did the workshop about bread. We showed them a quick presentation on the origin of taste in bread, on fermentation, flours and a quick part on nutrition linked to whole wheat breads. We then demonstrated kneaded dough and the gluten network as well as fresh yeast and a fermented poolish.

Lastly, we’d asked the students to bring a piece of bread they usually consume to discuss about it and compare it with the rustic sourdough baguette we brought in. In the end, it was not about telling students that what they have been eating for years was wrong, but rather to demonstrate and show them what exists out there and what are the values of authentic bread. The students were very receptive and a really great crowd to interact with. Most students brought in square packaged industrial bread, loaded with emulsifier, trans fat and preservatives. Point taken. To my knowledge, it was the first time such an event was held in Hong Kong.

It was at an international school, but now, I allow myself to dream and wish we could do this in more schools, local or international schools, in Chinese or English and for the quality of authentic Chinese and western cuisine… keep posted!

Students were a great crowd and we had a lot of fun – Thank you! :)

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