Have you ever watched "Ratatouille" (you know, that animated film with the cooking rat) and wondered what it really looks like behind the scenes of a top restaurant? Or, maybe, like me, you've wondered what a chef school looks like. I've always been curious about that. Not that I'd actually want to become a restaurant chef as I'm under no illusion about the gruelling hours combined with high levels of stress that are found in most top kitchens...
Anyway, in New York, the BlogTour team had the chance to go behind the scenes of the International Culinary Center and its restaurant L'Ecole. We took a tour of the school and had the chance to get a tiny glimpse of what studying there entails. From trainee pastry chefs to advanced chef training and business studies, it's all being taught at this school. It has one of the top reputations in the world which is certainly not easy in such a competitive industry. As an enthusiastic hobby cook, it was amazing to have the chance to see real top chefs (to be) at work, see the kitchens and the quiet concentration they all worked with. There was none of the loud and chaotic atmosphere I would have expected. Instead it was friendly and calm with everybody working on various parts of food preparation or sitting in class.
The dinner was - as expected - probably one of the best you can have. The food was beautifully presented and tasted fantastic. I had chosen the 'Pan Seared Long Island Duck Breast with Cherry Sauce' and it was just wonderful. We were offered matching wines with each course and the service was friendly without even the slightest hint of snootiness that can be found in some restaurants. Plates of the dishes we hadn't chosen were placed in the middle of our large, round table to give everybody the chance to try not only their own dish, but also sample some others.
It was a really great experience, a fabulous meal and one where I left the restaurant happy and without being able to think of even the smallest criticism. L'Ecole is located at 462 Broadway and really worth a visit.