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Local Flavour: A kitchen classroom
When SDSS culinary arts instructor Gerald Worobetz began teaching kids about food over a decade ago, his goal was to make everybody a chef.
But one day he took a class trip to Southlands where potatoes were being harvested. One student seemed confused.
I’ve never seen any potato trees down there, she said.
“At that point with my students I knew we were losing where our food comes from,” says Worobetz, who runs the culinary arts program at SDSS.
The goal now is a little more basic. He wants to teach young people to recognize the difference between good food and unhealthy food.
“By cooking your own food you control the quality over it,” says Worobetz.
Keeping things basic doesn’t mean students at SDSS can’t put an artistic flair into their menu. The finished product is designed to be as aesthetic as it is appetizing.
“It takes time to learn how to cook, especially with the volumes we do here,” he says.
The school cafeteria serves fresh foods daily to students. The type of fresh depends on the time of year.
It could be strawberries to end the school year in June or potatoes in the fall. One of the first things Worobetz does with his class in September is go and pick blackberries off the local bushes. He uses the trip to watch the class to see who works well together and who shows enthusiasm.
Then they freeze the blackberries and incorporate them into recipes throughout the year, often in cinnamon buns or muffins.
“I always tell students you can taste the summer in them,” he says.
The programs teaches students all basic kitchen cooking techniques and principles if for no other reason than it will open doors for them. An estimated 84 per cent of people between the ages of 15-25 will work in food service industry at some point.
For this week’s Local Flavour, Worobetz shares a Pacific Rim inspired Salmon Tartare recipe, great for an appetizer.
Pacific Rim Inspired Salmon Tartare
As in all things in life this recipe is only as good as it's ingredients. Fresh is best.
1 lb skinless wild B.C. salmon diced fine into 1/4" cubes. Use the top half portion of the filet, it's lower in fat but the belly will work too. Pull any pin bones out with a pair of needlenose pliers. If you don't have a sharp knife put the salmon into the freezer for an hour or so to make it easier to slice and cube. Keep chilled. Keep your knives sharp and reduce accidents.
3 tbsp finely chopped shallots or red onion
3 tbsp capers. Surfine are best. Smaller is better here.
3 tbsp fresh peeled finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Japanese soy
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon Juice
2 tbsp good olive oil
More fresh crushed black pepper than you think is safe
Combine all ingredients and mix for a minute and add to the salmon and combine for another minute. Serve right away letting everyone spoon the tartare on to quality (Carrs) crackers, toasted pita triangles or, toast points.
Keep chilled surrounding the serving bowl with ice.
Enjoy with any good white wine or even better Champagne!
You can make everything in advance and put it together when guests arrive if you need to.