We said goodbye to Tasting Week 2011 on Wednesday, October 26 at Juana Briones Elementary School. It was the last day, but definitely not the least. We had three chefs visiting the school on the same day, as well as the now famous A to Z salad bar from Food Services.
Chef Charlie Ayers at Juana Briones Elementary School.
Chef Charlie Ayers from Calafia Café in Palo Alto (and former executive Chef at Google), took two classes of fifth graders on a discovery of the fifth taste – umami. This taste was discovered in the 1980s by a Japanese researcher. It is the taste that you find in mushrooms, soy sauce and meat. It is also called “deliciousness” – what a wonderful concept! Chef Charlie treated the children like true scientists and explorers – he had them try a roasted shiitake mushroom, followed by a little goblet of soy sauce, followed by beef stock and a crispy parmesan cracker. The children were very focused on the feelings in their mouth and had lots of very scientific comments to make about the amount of sodium in each bite and the aftertaste in their mouths.
Chef Nathan Beriau at Juana Briones Elementary School
Meanwhile, Chef Nathan Beriau from the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco travelled to the land of salt. He brought samples of salt from many different countries: France, England, Hawaii and the Philippines, to name just a few of them. He explained the origin of salt, its role in food preservation and the extraordinary value of salt a few centuries ago. The children smelled, touched and tasted all the different grains of salt. Then to finish off the presentation he gave them each a chocolate cookie he had made (with a pinch of salt!).
Chef Brendy Monsada at Juana Briones Elementary School
Meanwhile, Chef Brendy Monsada was busy making beautiful salads with peeled cucumbers, orzo, tomatoes, and even blue cheese. The children huddled around him with wide eyes as if he were preparing a magic potion. To finish off his workshop, he let the children choose between a lemon tart or a chocolate tart. The children were absolutely thrilled.
Matt Nagle, Principal, Juana Briones Elementary School, Ivan Bertoux, Cultural Affairs Attache, Consulat de France, San Francisco, Rebecca Scholl, Tasting Week, Romain Serman, Consul General de France, San Francisco, Kevin Skelly, Superintendent, Palo Alto Unified School District
We had several famous visitors during this day. The Consul General of France, Romain Serman, along with the Cultural Affairs Attache from France, came to celebrate the final day of Tasting Week. Since “La Semaine du Gout” started off as a French Celebration in France 22 years ago, Romain was thrilled to see how Palo Alto was adapting the event locally. The children from teacher Halimah Van Tuyl took him to visit their rosemary garden and their own class kitchen where they cook every single week. We also were happy to host Kevin Skelly, Palo Alto School District Superintendent, who thanked the Tasting Week team for bringing such a fun event to Palo Alto schools. As his mother always says “much depends upon dinner”.
Thank you to all the volunteers who made this Tasting Week possible. In particular Armelle Soustiel, Carla Matlin, Florence Thomas, Jian Ma, Lea Bowmer and Joel Barbier. And a big thanks to Alva Spence from Food Services for hosting the popular A to Z salad bar.
We look forward to seeing you all next year!
Stay tuned for more exciting news on the website. We will soon be sharing the Chef’s recipes and the progress of our Palo Alto Hot Lunch initiative.