I was back in the city this weekend to attend a cooking class at the Natural Gourmet Institute. It's been quite awhile since I've been there, and it was great to be back. I remember my first experience cooking in a commercial kitchen many, many years ago and feeling thrilled to use all the fancy equipment and experience the hustle and bustle of a production kitchen. It's like being on the set of "Chopped."
Chef Ann Nunziata, pastry chef of the renowned all-vegan Ravens Restaurant, was our instructor. She offered a wealth of knowledge and tips for baking with natural ingredients such as maple sugar, coconut oil, and applesauce. We made a wide array of desserts including ice cream, brownies, cookies, scones, cake, and cheesecake.
I think my favorite was the Lemon Cheesecake with Pecan Crust and Cherry Compote.
Our two teams also produced Pumpkin Crumb Cake, Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies, Cinnamon Chocolate Pecan Brownies, Orange Cranberry Scones, Chai Spiced Ice Cream and Peach Ice Cream.
If you ever want to learn about natural foods and get some experience cooking in a commercial kitchen, I highly recommend taking a class at the Natural Gourmet.