We were invited to attend this event held at the newly remodeled campus of the Portland outlet of world-renowned cooking school, “Le Cordon Bleu.” The Ronald McDonald House Charities partners with the school to hold benefits to help raise money for this valuable global/community charity.
The mission of the charity is to provide comfort, safety and advocacy in a home-like environment for families with critically ill or injured children who must travel to fulfill their health care needs. The first Ronald McDonald house opened in Philadelphia in 1974; today there are 305 houses in 52 countries, plus various other accompanying children’s health care programs.
Le Cordon Bleu is the world’s largest hospitality training college, serving more than 20,000 students on five continents. While the origin of the concept can be traced back to 1578, the first school opened in Paris in 1895. Present ownership is in the hands of owner, André J. Cointreau, a descendant of both the Cointreau and Rémy Martin liquor dynasties.
The 18 schools in the US are operated through a partnership with Career Education Corporation.
The schools offered advanced training in the culinary arts, as well as hospitality management.
The Portland partnership between the school and the charity is mutually beneficial; the school’s students get “real world’ experience in planning and executing events, while the charity is afforded the opportunity to raise funds for its valuable work.
The theme of last night’s event was “Food of India”, and included a short demonstration before enjoying a five-course meal at the school’s “Technique” restaurant. Master Chef Anjali Wynkoop led the demo and organized the dinner, based on specialties from her birthplace.
The starters were a peppery-soup, hot and satisfying, served in a teacup, and prawn fritters, served with tamarind, mint and cilantro chutney.
Chef wowed us with her entree of “Murg Chettinad”, chicken prepared in traditional manner of its origin; Chettinad is a region of Tamil-Nadu, one of the 28 states of India, located in the far southwest of the peninsula.
The chicken is marinated and sauteed with coriander and black pepper. We learned in the demo that turmeric, a common herb used in Indian cooking (from which many dishes obtain their “yellow” coloring), is not used in India for its color or flavor, but rather as for its preservative qualities in keeping meats palatable for a longer term. Another choice ‘tidbit’ Chef proffered was that in India, you can tell if it’s a special occasion (birthday, wedding, anniversary) merely by the fact of whether or not meat is served at the meal!
The side was one of our personal favorites, Paneer Korma Bhaji, soft cheese with a medley of vegetables and cashews in coconut sauce, and dessert was an aesthetically pleasing mango and cardamon kulfi (ice cream), with a hunk of flavorful pistachio flat-bread.
The entire event was organized and hosted by the Ronald McDonald Charities event coordinator, Rylee O’Brien, who demonstrated repeatedly why she holds this position; the event was flawless. Kudos to the student/staff of the school for their execution.
The Ronald McDonald House holds events like these throughout the year, and you can check their schedule or get on their mailing list here.
But don’t wait for an event to support this valuable community resource, check out some of the numerous ways you can help the Ronald McDonald House.
To find out more about the programs and classes offered at Le Cordon Bleu Portland, visit their site.