While St. Patrick’s Day usually brings to mind green beer, bangers and mash, our bailliage had a higher calling as we met at the Midwest Culinary Institute to dine in the Summit restaurant. MCI opened new state of the art facilities in late 2005 and has been showcasing special events to preferred patrons. Selected students and alumni showed skillful talents learned under the demanding faculty to bring our capacity crowd a wonderful meal of elegance and consummate presentation.
The evening started with Champagne and a choice of four appetizers. With this fortification the adventurous in the group left for a guided tour of the various kitchen classrooms with every kind of professional cooking and preparation equipment one could imagine. All instruction spaces are furnished with video screens and cameras for live or recorded demonstrations. Local television production is taped in the 200 seat studio kitchen with remote articulated cameras suspended from the ceiling. Pastry kitchens are furnished with precise temperature control of both hot and cold water. Graduating students gain invaluable experience on every type of equipment that may be encountered in the professional world.
Back at the restaurant we started into the first of many delicious courses, opening with a delicate fois gras torchon paired with a light hearted Aubert La Chapelle Jasnieres from the Loire valley. This was followed by a rich clear consommé enhanced with anise, featuring tiny marbles of zucchini and diamonds of crêpes. Next came a salad with multilayered beet Napoleon and tomato granite that had a great combination of flavors and textures. A Livingston Moffet Chardonnay served off the menu made a great pairing with the salad.
We proceeded to seafood with a perfectly cooked scallop combined over a bed of morchel and prosciutto. Calera Selleck Pinot Noir made a smooth companion for the smoky aroma and earthy mushroom flavors of the crusty, juicy scallop and a bonus Calera Mills bottling was included for an impromptu vertical tasting comparison. To precede our meat course an intermezzo of Champagne and pineapple sorbet arrived in a tall shot glass to refresh everyone’s palate.
Classic Tuscan fare came next in a stuffed veal dressed with asparagus and a crescent shaped medallion of polenta. A glass of Le Potazzine Brunello di Montalcino gave a natural match with notes of leather, smoke and perfume. Topping off the dining extravaganza was an edible confectionary diorama of the Eiffel tower and Louvre pyramid. Adding to the extravagance were dessert wines in both red and white, a Coriole Late Harvest Shiraz and Seifried Sauvignon Blanc Ice Wine that gave the ultimate choices of satisfaction. As we gave applause to the hard working kitchen staff, Cincinnati State Dean and Maître Hotelier Dan Cayse announced that the Summit was planning to open for public dining on Thursday nights, so now anyone can enjoy this new culinary star!
J.T. Mayer, Vice Chargé de Presse