What's Old Can Be New Again

There are certain dishes a chef becomes acquainted with at some early time in their career that eventually seem to fade away from their consciousness for one reason or another; maybe the dish is just too fussy, or too out of date, or impractical in too many situations. Occasionally though, the forgotten dish will have actually been good enough in the first place to merit a second go around at some time in the chef’s later career. The dish in question will often elicit a comment such as “I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last made this”, or “Why is it that I don’t make this more often?”

As a chef instructor at a Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, I think it’s possible that I have more opportunities than most to experience this phenomenon, the reason being that I demonstrate and teach to my students many very classic dishes, some of which tend to be left behind by the steady forward march of culinary evolution.

Just the other night I experienced this first hand. When I started out in the hospitality industry, I was working for a catering company, making food for large functions and parties…food and recipes that were chosen specifically for their ability to do well sitting on a platter on a buffet table for the duration of the event. One dish that was always very popular among guests, servers, and cooks alike was the venerable whole poached salmon, served chilled, and covered with thin slices of cucumber applied in such a way as to look like the fish’s scales. Easy to prepare; no sweat to transport; a breeze to serve; visually stunning; and supremely delicious. It had it all!

Once I moved away from the world of catering and buffets, though, I never really gave the whole poached salmon much thought…until last night. A beautiful, ultra fresh (smelling of cucumbers and melons), ten pound salmon came in on the product order for my class, and it was my task to demonstrate in front of them the technique for poaching it whole and decorating it for the buffet table. Needless to say, my previous experience at the catering company came in handy, and the finished product was a thing of beauty. As my students drooled over the jade-green scaled treasure, anticipating its soft, tender, poached to juicy perfection flesh, I made them wait patiently while I whipped up a mayonnaise-based sauce to accompany the fish. Into two cups of hand-made mayonnaise I combined a quarter cup of mashed anchovy fillets, three cloves of finely minced garlic, the juice of half of a lemon, a handful of fresh chopped dill, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and half of a grated seedless cucumber. We stripped the salmon to the bone, and I was one very happy chef to have rediscovered how glorious this simple and classic dish really is.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
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            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            • Online Courses
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
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            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
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            • First opened its doors in 1980 as the Academy of Medical Art and Business.
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            • 7.5 acre campus is located in the foothills of Blue Mountain, north of Harrisburg, PA.
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            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.