During a recent dinner at Ivy Tech's East Chicago campus, guests were welcomed into Le Pelican Restaurant.
The event was just one of the special dinners created by students in the Customer Service class, part of the culinary department's curriculum. The class was taught by Chef Beverly Seleb, adjunct faculty culinary instructor.
Students in the class create dinner menus, research recipes and are responsible for serving and welcoming diners to every event.
The Jacques Pepin-themed dinner, held in April, featured a diverse menu which included French American twists on dishes such as Spring Rolls, wrapped with avocado, sun-dried tomatoes and served with roasted red pepper dip; a Pepin salad, featuring sliced beets, crumbled Blue Cheese, tart apples, mushrooms, and walnut pieces mixed with a dollop of mayonnaise; and hearty vegetable bean soup with leeks, carrots, turnips, celery, cannellini beans and topped with Gruyere cheese.
Main entrees included olive-tomato cod served with seared polenta and steamed asparagus; and beef stew in a red wine sauce. Cheese spread was also served with homemade bread. On the dessert menu was a choice of berry custard or plum galette.
All of the recipes served were taken from the cookbooks and shows of celebrity chef Pepin, who started his culinary career in France. Student Emily Metro of Ivy Tech was in charge of researching Pepin and his culinary history.
In her research bio on Pepin, she states he honed his craft at his parent's restaurant Le Pelican in France and also trained at the Grand Hotel de l'Europe and at various restaurants in Paris. Pepin also served as a personal chef to French heads of state.
Pepin has written various noted cookbooks, and has hosted hit television cooking shows, including the popular "Jacques and Julia Cooking at Home," filmed with the legendary Julia Child.
Ivy Tech's latest dinner series, Seleb said, was a success with the public. Many of the sessions sold out immediately.
Among other chefs in the spotlight this season were Paul Prudhomme, Stephanie Izard, Wolfgang Puck, Alex Guarnaschelli and Paula Deen.