Chefs from culinary institute share techniques, recipes at Atsugi
ATSUGI NAVAL AIR FACILITY, Japan — OK, so some of the ingredients might not be found in the commissary.
But about 30 base residents now know how to whip up crepes suzette, smoked salmon rillettes pinwheels and lavash with an orange sweet-and-sour sauce — all thanks to visiting chefs from the Culinary Institute of America.
Members of the prestigious cooking and restaurateur school have been coming to Atsugi for nine years to teach food-service and Morale, Welfare and Recreation employees to better their skills.
A few years ago, they added cooking demonstrations for the public. The chefs come up with a theme and prepare three basic dishes from which people can create three additional dishes.
For the basic dishes, attendees in the officers club on Wednesday learned to make crepes, Johnnycakes and lavash, a sweet bread.
A video image of the chefs working in the front was cast on a wall behind them, giving the event the feel of a Cooking Channel special.
“They make you feel like you’re on Food TV,” said Kathia King. “It’s a blessing that they come to Atsugi.”
“We’re a small base,” said Pam Kirby, who planned to try out the crepe recipe. “But it’s nice they can come here. I’ve never made crepes before — they make it look so easy.”
Rodney Clark, manager of Atsugi’s Red Cross, attended last year and learned a few things about pastry and salad. He started cooking a year ago, he said, because “I love eating.”
Besides sharing their mastery, the chefs get a chance to see Tokyo — including the kitchens of a few famous chefs and CIA graduates in the Japanese metropolis and its sprawling Tsukiji fish market.
But they earned their bread during the Atsugi demonstration, with tips on ingredients, preparation (such as how to recycle an expensive vanilla bean) and presentation (there are two sides to every crepe — inside and presentation side).
The chefs also brought trays of food samples.
Clark said the experience was more than tasty: “I wish they did it twice a year.”