On Wednesday night, the kitchens at Gateway Community College — yes, there are multiple, glinting with clean, stainless steel surfaces and zillion-burner stoves — were abuzz with activity, Shell and Bones’ new chef Arturo Franco Comacho darting from one end of the space to the other to check dishes that students were preparing for an audience of around 40. The cause for celebration was a sort of in-house affair: another round of Gateway’s C.O.O.K. series, a fundraiser that brings in local chefs to design a meal — and then have Gateway’s culinary and hospitality students present it, from start to finish.
The cool thing, of course, is
eating the food watching the students learn — because you get to learn right along with them. While Comacho was coaching students on how to cut spring onions paper thin or plate rare pan-fried steak on a yucca patty, he was also demoing the recipes for attendees, who pay a fee that goes to the program.
Pretty cool, right? In the same week that’s seen the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology (ConnCAT) roll out its own ambitious culinary arts program (from which Gary Winfield had some gorgeous photos this week), it feels like those who want to learn about food in New Haven are in a really good city to do it. Several of the students shared how exciting it is to learn new recipes from someone who can do them in his sleep — but is candid about messing up — while for others, it’s the distilled joy of going right from start …
… to finish.