It's no secret that most avid Yelpers are also foodies, whether they love taking pics of the plate in front of them or are masters of their own kitchen. Imagine the pleasure and surprise that South Bay Elites experienced in an Elites-only class at the International Culinary Center! This world-renowned school has graduated the likes of Bobby Flay, Dan Barber and Wylie Dufresne - just to name a few! Strategically located between Napa and Monterey in Campbell, CA, who knew that we were so lucky to have an impressive, state-of-the-art facility in our own backyard?
For this VIP event, Elites were welcomed into the ICC after-hours for a truly unique food experience. Upon walking into the official cooking classroom, the ICC staff greeted them with charcuterie, cheese and champagne... can't think of a better way to start the learning process! Once settled in their seats, the Dean of Italian Studes, Chef Cesare Casella was introduced to the South Bay Elites. And yes, this Iron Chef competing, friend of Martha Stewart most definitely needed an introduction! He wowed the crowd with a demo/tasting of eggplant caponata. Although a seemingly simple dish, Chef Cesare showed off all the complexities of the ingredients and shared techniques that could easily be used at home. Veronica C "loved Chef Cesare's charm and humor. He kept talking throughout the whole demo trying to explain what he was doing, was always willing to answer questions, and never had a bad attitude. The caponata he cooked was delicious! There was always a different flavor in every bite, whether it was an olive, a caper, raisins.... amazing!"
For the second part of the evening, we were whisked away into the Mountain View dining room for a wine tasting class, taught by Laurie Lindrup, certified sommelier and Director of Catering/Special Events for the ICC. Upon first meeting, you'd never know that this Michigan-turned-California resident holds a Grand Diplôme from Ecole de Cuisine LaVarenne, a Cycle de Degustation from L'Academie du Vin, and a Certificate d'Attendance Patisserie from Le Cordon Bleu (all in Paris).Tres impressive! She led a crash course in Wine 101, everything from where wine comes from to the proper way to sip and spit. After the blind tasting, Peggy S had this to say, " I'm a wine drinker, and I can tell good wine from nasty wine (even though I'd drink them all nonetheless). But the intricacy in the art of wine tasting is beyond belief. We learned about the tasting notes, the color, the smell, flavor, and methods of elimination which leads to being able to (hopefully one day) tell one wine from the other." You're one step closer after that class, Peggy :)
After class was dismissed, Elites were given a goody bag full of pastries from the sweets staff. "It was a great surprise when we were given a small goody bag filled with pastries. My bag had chocolate truffles, and it was really good! I wish I can have more..." gushed Rita V. The overall experience? 5-stars for sure! Lorrie M said it best: "There was food, there was bubbly, there was wine and surprisingly quite a bit of education." Read all the reviews and check out all the pictures on our Flickr page!
Until next time, SYOY!
Abby "trying not to burn everything I cook" S