By Yasmine Cruz
On Nov. 7th the Calumet staff had the chance to take a look at the Scott Community College culinary program. After the hour-long drive, we arrived at the culinary program building. Once inside, we got to meet with chef and instructor Robert Lewis.
He introduced us to his students and said we were welcome to take pictures and interview them as they made Eggs Benedict.
Eggs Benedict is an American breakfast or brunch dish, an open-faced sandwich consisting of two halves of an English muffin topped with a poached egg, bacon or ham, and hollandaise sauce. The SCC culinary students had one hour to complete and present their creations.
Most students started out by cooking their ham in a frying pan for a nice, brown, finish. After cooking the ham, everyone started working on their hollandaise sauce. To make hollandaise sauce, you need egg yolks, warm melted butter, fresh lemon, salt and pepper, and water. The hollandaise was considered to be one of the hardest steps as you had to be constantly whisking it for up to 15 minutes. If you stopped, your sauce will break.
While whisking it, you either had to have someone add the butter in slowly or whisk with one hand and pour with the other.
After the students finished their sauce, they needed to get their English muffins toasted and their eggs poached.
Once all that was done, they had to put it all on the plate and garnish it in some way. Some students sprinkled chopped parsley or green onions but some got creative. One student took an orange slice and cut it into a flower. Another made a rose out of tomatoes.
At the end of the hour, the chef asked all the students to step away from their stations. The students were to be graded on taste, presentation, their sauce, muffin, ham and egg yolk.
“You’ll get a point for your egg as long as your yolk is runny,” Chef Lewis said.
For the ham and English muffin, both needed to have some color but not be burnt, and they got a point for that. The hollandaise sauce was graded on taste and whether it was broken or not. If something was wrong with either category, the student got a zero.
Despite the sometimes blunt assessment from the chef, the class enjoyed the grading and felt proud of accomplishing the difficult recipe. After the grading, the students had the chance to enjoy the fruits of their labors.