‘Hey… what’s cookin’?’ In the culinary department at Saddleback College

Listen to the podcast to find out why Saddleback’s president Tod Burnett feels this event may stand out above the rest.

Tasty samples at Food Day were prepared by culinary arts students at Saddleback College. courtesy of Lillian CassidySaddleback's culinary arts student , Jonathan Jones, helps prep on Food Day. Courtesy of Lillian CassidySaddleback culinary arts department prepare food for Food Day on campus in the quad. Courtesy of Lillian CassidyTasty samples at Food Day were prepared by culinary arts students at Saddleback College. courtesy of Lillian Cassidy

Little bites of bread decorated with smoked salmon and garnish were served to those who came to the 11th Annual Family Night, Nov. 12, in the Student Service Center catered by the advanced cooking students who are currently seeking future chefs for the culinary department.

The social mixer was opened to new students interested in coming to Saddleback and to those who have families wanting to see what campus life is like. Topics discussed included financial aid, student preparation, transferring and career choices all while attendees ate tasty foods.

“Family Night is one of the most special nights of the year and [it] promotes 300 degrees and certificates that are currently offered at Saddleback College,” said Tod Burnett, president of Saddleback College.

Burnett hopes the event will promote the different opportunities that the educational departments offer, including the culinary department that fed those who visited.

“We set up to serve 500 people by preparing, making and transporting food,” said Lillian Bodane, culinary lab tech,” and for a potential crowd that big, it’s a huge production.”

Bodane said the department has three times as much to spend for the Family Day event than the recent Food Day event, so Family Day presents itself a “bit fancier.” Food Day was more of a class project designed for first-time culinary art students and the more advanced culinary students prepared for Family Night.

“We are finally a tuned machine,” said Antoinette Marano, advanced culinary arts student.

The students were able to successfully demonstrate what they had learned during the Picnic: Food day held Oct. 20. Food Day promotes health awareness, affordability, care to the environment’s animals, as well as to the people who do the growing and harvesting of the food.

“We had students ask about the program while being amazed by the presentation on campus,” said Kimberly Daniels-Norris, advanced culinary student. “We served roasted butternut squash, apple pie on a stick and meatballs with an Euro-Asian infusion that was developed by Saddleback culinary student, Brandon Hobbs.”

Saddleback instructors from different departments came to the event and had a chance to try pudding tarts with raspberry whipped cream, a top seller.

“The green grape and cucumber-gazpacho shooters without the alcohol made a beautiful presentation with added edible pansies,”Daniels-Norris said.

Bodane commented that the biggest challenge for all campus events is keeping food at  proper temperatures.

Lisa Inlow, the culinary department head leads students through the program which is “everyone’s favorite,” Inlow said. “We have huge plans for developing the program’s growth.”  She envisions coordinating with cafeteria and horticulture department to cook what the students grow. Inlow also wants to work with the business department to create these future plans.

She said she gets excited to see the expressions on her students’ faces when the crowd- pleasing appetizers go around the room.

Here’s the Euro-Asian infusion meatball recipe mentioned in the article.

This recipe was served during the Picnic: Food Day event, Oct. 20, and created by Brandon Hobbs, culinary arts student at SCC.  “It’s a Euro-Asian fusion-delight,” said Daniels – Norris.  “I was the one who made the meatballs at the event.”

Meatball Recipe:

For meatballs:

2 lbs sausage
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbspn Worcestershire Sauce
1 tspn garlic powder
1 tspn onion powder
1 tspn salt
¼ cup milk

For sauce:

½ cup sweet soy sauce
½ cup water
1 cup crushed pineapple
2 Tblpn vinegar
1 Tblspn fresh ginger

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.

*Combine all ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Mix everything together. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on baking sheet 1-2 inches apart. Bake for 20     minutes or until browned and cooked through.

*In a medium sauce pan combine all sauce ingredients. Bring sauce to a boil.

*Reduce to simmer until meatballs are finished cooking.

*Serve meatballs and top with sauce.