Ironwood Maine Kitchen Update

This past month we completed our revamped ethnic night dinner series.  Residents were given various assignments from creating and implementing the menu, decorating and creating a lively authentic environment, and giving oral presentations on the selected country.   This is a Farmhouse wide collaboration which allows the residents to be creative and imaginative under the guidance of Ironwood staff.  Each student was responsible for their own individual project, as well as working together to create a cohesive encompassing event.

We started this reboot of ethnic night with the cornerstone of modern cuisine, France.  This country was chosen for its contributions to the world of food and the impact that it has had on other country cuisines.  To put it bluntly, no other culture has surpassed France’s impact on the world as far as cooking technique and the implementation of kitchens as we know them today.

I must say that the residents surpassed my expectations in every way.  Those selected to be cooks poured over every cookbook that was brought in to reference, and each selected a few recipes that caught their eyes.  They were encouraged to push the boundaries of what they were familiar with, and to take chances on selections which would challenge their culinary prowess.  As a group, we met and cultivated a refined, cohesive menu that would flow nicely throughout the night.  Incorporating food restrictions and allergies is always a challenge in a group this size, and through this discussion, we came to a harmonious balance that I would be happy to serve at any of the restaurants I have previously worked at.

Terrine of Duck and Smoked Ham

Profiterole with Baked Brie

Spinach Croquettes

Arugula & Fennel Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Handmade Pasta with Crème Fraiche and Herbs de Province

Steak Diane with Hollandaise & Asparagus

Homemade Sourdough

Pear Tart Tatin

During the coursed-out meal (which was served with pride by the kitchen crew), residents with oral presentations gave short informative speeches on various aspects of France’s culture, such as Art & music, history and government.  The information was well received with a lovely backdrop of a French bistro music and impressing lighting and decorations. Overall it was a memorable night of fun and quality food, and a reminder to all that with persistence and hard work, we can pull off anything we put our minds to.  I am already looking forward to March’s Ethnic Night where we will continue with another ethnicity of undoubted importance to the world’s cuisine, Italy.