FCI Brunch

I'm terribly biased, but I have to give props to my alma mater. The French Culinary Institute will be open for weekend brunch beginning this Saturday, March 28th. Why care? Well, if you're a diner, the three course prix fixe menu boasts a variety of stellar-looking options that will provide fuel to fight the crowds in a weekend Soho shopping spree. The usual brunch suspects appear – the benedict, French toast, steak and eggs – but there are also more exploratory options, like duck confit, seafood sausage and what I would have, a steak tartare with quail egg. The tartare is listed under apps, but the kitchen also offers it as an entree with a green salad and fries . If L'Ecole maintains the high quality that they have at lunch, then $19.50 for three premium courses and coffee/tea is a steal.

Beyond the tartare (I'm such a sucker), what got me excited about L'Ecole's brunch was the opportunity it will provide for students. FCIers level 2 and up can apply. When I was there, we had one "egg day" that wasn't sufficient to teach the difficult and delicate process of egg cookery. Students were expected to eventually master the poached egg, an integral part of passing level 3, but that was it. A cook has to crack a lot of eggs during a brunch service, and it will provide a great learning opportunity for those students who sign up.

I wish all students had to work brunch at some point in their education, because it's atrial that most cooks have to endure in their career. It's not the most fun shift. It’s easy to understand: a cook rises early on the weekend to face a dining room full of (typically) hung over diners and a kitchen full of (guaranteed) hung over cooks. Grouchiness abounds. But, like sore feet and Jameson, it's a necessary evil of the industry that's better experienced sooner rather than later.