Tuesday night I went to a meeting of the CIA’s Gourmet Society even though I had just emerged from my 6 hour long Hearth Breads and Rolls class and was exhausted. I went because I wanted to see Certified Master Chef Thomas Griffiths demo his “Contemporary Approach to Creating Healthier Cuisine.” I won’t try to hide the fact that, as a baking and pastry student, I am very fond of Unhealthier Cuisine, and I felt this demo might be a refreshing pause in the endless stream of flour, butter, sugar, etc. that makes up my culinary education.

The chef grabbed a few sous-chefs from the audience and put them all to work producing his “Summer Chicken Barbecue Plate,” which did not look anything like what you would expect to eat at a summer barbecue–the food may have been similar, but the plating was very sophisticated (inspired, the chef told us, by the work of Michel Bras).

After dry-searing the chicken, the chef made a sauce using the fond in the pan, plus shallots, white vinegar for deglazing, brown chicken stock, and honey. No tomatoes in this barbecue sauce…”Because I didn’t feel like tomatoes.” He also made warm swiss chard with bacon, ”corn off the cob” coulis, and marinated watermelon–marinated in honey, champagne vinegar, canola oil, and basil. Garnishes on the plate included honey comb and grilled peach segments.

The disappointing part? No tasting for the audience! But he did hand out the recipes, so over my summer vacation, I will definitely be trying at least that marinated watermelon.