The culinary department of Ivy Tech Community College's East Chicago campus is operating as more of a restaurant these days.
Through Dec. 6, advanced culinary students have taken on the role of master chefs, in a sense, as they serve up ethnic and regional fare from celebrity chefs every Thursday.
On Oct. 25, The Times visited the culinary department's dining room at 410 E. Columbus Drive and we were in for a treat of Cajun/Creole proportions.
The cuisine of Emeril Lagasse was in the spotlight and students proved diligent about making sure the celebrity chef's recipes were duplicated properly right down to the exact spices and textures.
"The students are responsible for researching their chef and the recipes," said hospitality program chairwoman Elida Abeyta, who along with chef instructor Beverly Seleb presides over the advanced class and the special dinner series.
During the Cajun/Creole dinner, chef Seleb was on location ready to guide the students with any last-minute concerns.
As Zydeco music played in the background, some students took diners' orders while others were back in the kitchen putting finishing touches on dishes. All tables were set with bright-colored decor and Mardi Gras beads, while photos of Lagasse adorned the walls.
The room was filled with diners and every table was taken as Seleb commented the dinner had sold out a week before the event.
The special dinner, taking the "Essence of the Quarter," featured a Baked Artichoke and Spinach Dip with Seasoned Pita Chips as an appetizer; choice of Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo or Mango Cucumber and Shrimp Salad; choice of Crawfish Fettuccini or King's Creole Fried Pork Chops; and choice of Frozen Banana Foster Ice Cream or Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie.
Servings were substantial portions and there was definitely enough to cart home for lunch the next day. To inquire about Ivy Tech's Dinner Series, call (219) 392-3600, ext. 245
MORE FROM THE KITCHEN OF IVY TECH
Ivy Tech Community College's third annual Chorizo Contest was held recently. The contest, held in conjunction with El Popular, featured creative and innovative recipes made with the Mexican-style sausage.
Earning top honors in the competition were Tiffany Kerns in first place for hush puppies; Michelle Cunningham in second place for shepherd's pie and Pecola Nunn in third place for Oreo Chocolate Chorizo Truffle.
People's Choice Award went to Mireya Flores for Rojas Tamales and Alexis Coronado for Best Table Display.