New England Culinary Institute
I recently had
the opportunity to visit the New England Culinary Institute
in Vermont. Located on two campuses in the Green Mountain
State, the New England Culinary Institute offers a two-year
program for students.
The emphasis is toward hands on instruction,
with each year divided into two terms. The first six months of the first year is dedicated
to instruction in fundamentals, i.e., food chemistry,
sanitation and the second six months is a paid, working
internship with a chef. Their placement program for these internships
puts the students in some of the greatest restaurants
in the U.S. The
second year emphasizes more advanced culinary techniques
again followed by a paid internship for six months.
New England Culinary Institute was founded in 1980.
In addition to campuses in Montpelier and Essex Junction,
which is just outside of Burlington, they also operate
several restaurants around the state, including the
one pictured here, which is located in Burlington.
students are required to work for two weeks each semester
in one of their restaurants and during this stint, they
work as chef and wait staff. We ate at one of their
restaurants called Butler's, in The Inn at Essex. Our
server was a second year student who was heading out
to San Francisco to do her second year internship at
Citizen Cake. She was very informative as we picked
her brain about the Institute. We started our meal with
Vermont Herb Goat Cheese with Crostini and Tarragon
Tomato Vinaigrette. My husband nearly licked his plate
he thought it was so good.
This was followed by pan seared Atlantic Salmon with
Spring Vegetable Ragout, including purple Peruvian potatoes,
fresh Fiddlehead ferns & Jerusalem artichoke hearts.
Surrounded by a Sorrel Sauce, it was an absolutely wonderful
combination of flavors. For dessert we had Vermont Mascarpone
Cheesecake with Sundried Cherries plus a Chocolate Meringue
Almond Jalousie & Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse. We gave
the chefs & servers an A+ for such an excellent dining
The next morning
we took a Pasta & Sauces class at the NECI Commons
restaurant in Burlington. The class was mostly demonstration, but we
all participated in making our own pasta dough. There
were 15 students in the 90 minute class, taught by an
enthusiastic and very personable young chef, Joey Buttendorf.
She made cheese stuffed Ravioli, Pesto and Marinara
sauces, which we enjoyed tasting at the end of the class.
If you have
a trip to New England planned in the future, try to
eat at one of the restaurants staffed by the New England
Culinary Institute, and if possible, take a class. They
offer several different "Whisk Away" culinary events
from March through June. It will be worth the time and
effort. If you would like more information, you can
visit their web site at
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