The Best of the Best in culinary arts came to Mission College on May 2 when The Magic of Mission took place at the campus’ Hospitality Management Building.
Student volunteer organizers Colin Boyles and Carlos de la Torre created a menu and executed it to perfection at the school’s annual event showcasing its culinary arts program.
“We went up to Chef Haze [Dennis] at the beginning of the semester, before he had a chance to pick anybody and said we wanted to do it,” said de la Torre.
“We wanted to do more of a gourmet menu,” he continued. “We told Chef Haze that we wanted to step out of the box and not do anything simple. For example, teriyaki chicken skewers; we said we wanted to do [tequila] ancho [chili] glazed chicken skewers. Instead of a regular beef empanada we decided we wanted to do a vegetarian one [filled with miso glazed tofu, asparagus and shitake mushrooms] to suit the vegetarians…we wanted everything down the line to be good.”
“We didn’t want to leave anyone out – any type of dietary restrictions,” added Boyles.
In addition to the chicken skewers and empanadas, guests dined on lobster Wellington with pancetta; lamb chops; tomato, avocado, and goat cheese crostini; grilled chimichurri tri-tip with fried plantains; mahi mahi tacos with habanero cream sauce; scallop mango ceviche; watermelon margarita skewers; jalapeno poppers with cream cheese, spinach, and goat cheese; grilled shrimp with artichoke tapenade on flatbread; sweet and spicy pork meatballs stuffed with Oaxaca cheese; miso caramel glazed pork belly with Asian slaw in phyllo cups; stuffed mushrooms with parmesan cheese and sun-dried tomatoes; chorizo macaroni and cheese bites; and frog legs.
“We found the recipes and we tweaked them to fit what we wanted to do,” said Boyles. “The lobster dish, usually when they serve it they take it out of the shell, they chop it up – sauté it up, put it back in the shell, pour sauce over it and serve it. So even when they do it, it isn’t wrapped up in the puff pastry with the pancetta in it.”
While appetizers were served with wine, Phil Ackerly, Theron Schaub, Josh Logan, Kim Silverman, and John Jones from the Society of American Magicians performed close-up magic tricks that amazed and delighted guests.
About an hour and a half into the event, guests were moved into the Mission College Bistro for a full performance by Ackerly plus dessert – a ginger torte with lemon curd and whipped cream, and a dark chocolate truffle prepared by Chef Scott Brunson. Boyles made flavored marshmallows to add to the dessert offerings.
The menu and event were well-received and Boyles, de la Torre, and Jorge Peña, who ran the grill during The Magic of the Mission, are already considering organizing next year’s Best of the Best.
Mission College students run the Mission College Bistro, which is open to the public, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the semester. Visit http://www.missioncollege.org/depts/food/bistro.html for more information.