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Historic feast: CVPA presents Titanic-inspired dinner

Historic feast: CVPA presents Titanic-inspired dinner

Passengers cruising on the ill-fated Titanic luxury liner enjoyed a multitude of elaborate recipes. Everything from rich soups and entrees to decadent desserts starred on the various menus served to travelers.

Chef Joe Trama is the fourth chef featured in the 2020 Region Patio Pitmasters. Video by John Luke. Interview by Eloise Valadez.

The passengers who traveled first class were served a multi-course feast featuring items such as oysters, consomme and cream of barley soup, filet mignon, sirloin of beef, lamb, roast duckling, creamed carrots, squab, eclairs and more.

Trama Catering at The Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster (CVPA) desires to recreate a Titanic menu when it presents a "Titanic Tribute Dinner" April 15 in the ballroom at the center. The event will star dishes that are inspired by the recipes served at the last First Class dinner on the ship on April 15, 1912. The luxury liner sank in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912, south of Newfoundland, Canada. The ship, which was part of The White Star Line, was sailing from Southampton to New York City.

"We've got a lot of fun things planned," said Christine Carbonare, event planning manager for Trama Catering and The Center for Visual and Performing Arts.

Carbonare said they'll not only have a lavish dinner but also a Titanic exhibit, filmed depiction of the final voyage, live entertainment and a drawing for jewelry. The filmed depiction, Carbonare stressed, is not the "Titanic" movie, but merely a depiction in the vein of a documentary-type presentation.

"We'll also have china on display which is a replica of the White Star Line china and (period) clothing will also be on display," she said. Among apparel will be President Taft's Stovepipe hat.

Carbonare said, so far, there's been a good response to this event.

"People are calling and asking if they should dress up," Carbonare said, adding that Titanic fans or history buffs interested in the luxury liner are excited to attend the dinner.

Carbonare said the special dinner has been in the works for the past two months. She added more people have shown interest in going to live events again. The staff at the center, she said, is happy to be serving visitors once again as there's been much more response to the special events they've had planned during the last few months as well as those for the near future.

"We're also seeing people doing more events. The phones are ringing again which gives us hope," Carbonare said.

Joe Trama, executive chef and owner of Trama Catering, said researching the First Class menu served on the Titanic was an interesting endeavor.

"I looked at the menu and then took into account our customers' tastes," Trama said. "I tweaked it a little."

Instead of serving up a consomme and the rich barley soup on the original menu, Trama preferred to go with a Cream of Mushroom and Barley Soup and chose Chateaubriand Roast Tenderloin as the meat option instead of filet mignon, lamb or squab.

"They had creamed carrots and we'll have that," Trama said. The chef said passengers enjoyed eclairs for dessert.

"I'll be serving eclairs with berries," Trama said, adding eclairs are always a favorite sweet for events.

Trama's Titanic-inspired menu will be Cream of Mushroom and Barley Soup; Asparagus, Mixed Spring Greens and Watercress with Champagne Saffron Vinaigrette; Chateaubriand Roast Tenderloin in a Cognac and Cabernet Reduction served with Chateau Potatoes, Creamed Carrots and Julienne Zucchini; and Bavarian Cream Chocolate Eclairs.

In addition to a decadent menu, guests will view an ice sculpture of the Titanic which will be carved by center chef Hugo Perea.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for the event with dinner at 6:30 p.m. There is seating at private tables. Cost for the dinner event is $75. Guests are asked to wear masks when walking around the center. For tickets and information, call 219-836-1930, ext. 2 or visit

Editor Marc Chase interviews Sofia Perez, part of the "Hoosiers We've Lost" project.

The following recipe is from Chef  Joe Trama for Cream of Mushroom and Barley Soup.

Cream of Mushroom and Barley Soup

Servings: 4


1/2 cup pearl barley

4 1/2 cup chicken stock

1 shallot, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons butter

8 cups Crimini mushrooms

1 -2 tablespoons chicken base

1 teaspoon season salt, 1 teaspoon onion powder, black pepper to taste.

2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons flour cooked to a blond roux stage for thickening

Bushmills Irish whiskey and cream (optional) garnish

Fresh dill and fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS: Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven or similar soup pot over medium heat. Add shallots, carrots, celery and cook stirring often. Add mushrooms and seasonings. Add chicken stock, bring to boil, add barley, and simmer for about 20 minutes. When barley is softened, add a little roux a little at a time until the right thickness. Add herbs and finish with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle into bowls, finish with a swirl of cream and splash of Irish whiskey.

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.

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