Thursday, July 14, 2011

Volunteering is Good for the Soul

If you read A Nesting Experience regularly, you might remember, a few weeks ago I took a class at CulinAerie as a part of Eat Write Retreat. The class was wonderful, and I knew it wouldn't be my last. When talking to Chef, and CulinAerie Principle, Susan Holt, I learned that the assistants that help in each class are actually volunteers and that they are always looking for more. I signed up immediately. After my first class, I was hooked.

In addition to great cooking classes such as Knife Know How and Couples: Summer Food & Wine Pairing, CulinAerie also hosts private parties and events. This week, I had the opportunity to volunteer for a private event Iron Chef Competition featuring Chef Carla Hall and Chef Rock Harper.

Chef Carla Hall was a finalist in the fifth and eighth seasons of Top Chef. Chef Rock Harper won the third season of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen. Both are phenomenal chefs, and I was so excited to meet them!

Each chef had a team of ten students and two assistants. Each were charged with making four plates of three dishes incorporating pork and wine into each. Each had a half an hour to brainstorm and gather ingredients from the CulinAerie pantry. Each had an hour and a half to cook, plate, and present their dishes to the panel of celebrity judges.

The celebrity judges included: Rj Cooper head chef of Vidalia, who is in the process of opening Rogue 24, a modern day speakeasy set to open at the end of this month; Mary Beth Albright from Food Network Star; 

and Anna Spiegle, food writer for the Washingtonian.

Both teams did a fantastic job whipping up caprese salad, risotto, potato and bacon chowder, pork tenderloin, and bacon bread pudding. I even got to taste a few of the dishes and let me say, Chef Carla's potato bacon chowder and Chef Rock's bread pudding were not to be messed.

At the end of the night, team Black Garlic Microplane, Chef Carla Hall's team, took home the gold.

The event couldn't have been more fun and the perfect example of what a fun night at CulinAerie entails.

If you haven't taken a class there yet, definitely check them out. If you like food, wine, and great people and are looking for a fun place to volunteer, I highly recommend signing up.


  1. So fun! Your fbook photos are awesome - wish there was something similar in Boston! (+1 DC)

  2. That looks awesome! Wish I could do something like that around here.

  3. Too cool! You know, I was hoping to attend the Eat Write Retreat, but something came up that weekend. Hopefully next time! Especially because I would love to check out CulinAerie.