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While there’s no Lumière or Mrs. Potts to serve you, sitting down at a Culinary Vegetable Institute dinner feels much like the “culinary cabaret” one would expect from a 5-star restaurant in a major city except it’s smack dab in the heartland of Ohio.
We had no idea what to expect during their most recent event in honor of President’s Day, the White House Cookbook Dinner. We had only a small preview of the dinner menu – all of which was in French. As someone who is not willingly adventurous when it comes to food, I was slightly terrified but mostly excited about unexpected treats would fill our bellies for the evening.
The table at which we were seated consisted of couples that had attended previous events. They raved – and I can’t say that word strongly enough – about the kitchen’s Executive Chef Liaison, Jamie Simpson. There’s no doubt that with his skills and creativity, he’ll quickly become a highly sought after chef.
It was evident that Chef Jamie Simpson took immense pride in his work and even made time to personally speak with, and answer questions from, a few of the attendees that approached him after our meal.
At The Culinary Vegetable Institute, he designs dishes around what is available on the farm that day and is highly committed to micro seasonal cooking, according to the Institute. His creative use of vegetables and the way he garnishes is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
The White House Cookbook Dinner
The menu for the Culinary Vegetable Institute White House Cookbook Dinner was based on The Original White House Cookbook 1887 Edition. It’s the same meals, adapted for the modern age, that the First Family, as well as countless American statesmen, foreign dignitaries, and celebrities, would have been treated to while President Rutherford B. Hayes was in office.
The evening consisted of a 10-course meal that was perfectly portioned and elegantly served. There were plates laid before us that featured culinary adventures such as L ‘Huître (a perfectly prepared oyster, something I’ve never had), a stunning Consommé d’ Hiver Royale (Royal Winter Soup), Saumon with Sauce Bearnaise and Pomme Dauphine (Salmon with Bearnaise and crisp potato puffs) and more of the likes of which I’ve never tried but ate heartily.
I wish I’d taken more photos; I wish I’d eaten more food. I also wish Chef Jamie could come live with us, but hubby put the kibosh on that rather quickly. Does he not realize the benefits of having a live-in chef of this caliber?
From dinners such as this to cooking classes to culinary workshops, the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Huron, Ohio always has something amazing up their chef’s whites sleeve. And honestly, there was likely no other place that could have persuaded me to eat most of the items on the White House Cookbook Dinner menu.
Thank you to the Culinary Vegetable Institute for hosting my husband and I. We had an amazing time and he’s already talking about several of the events the Institute has planned!