Lunch at the Genesis Center

Sometimes being a food blogger is a tough job – like when you have to leave work for a 6-course lunch paired with wine.

Which is just what I did earlier this month, when I was lucky enough to be one of the judges for the final presentation of the Genesis Center‘s culinary program. The students in the program were divided into two teams and each chose their own theme for the meal. The lunch I attended was themed “French Infused Pan Asian” and consisted of six courses and a mid-meal sherbert. For a glimpse into the first of the two lunches, take a look at this Providence Journal article.

Some of the Savory Selections
Some of the savory dishes: onion & garlic soup, crab-stuffed scallops, stone grilled duckling

The Genesis Center provides job training and adult education alongside a child care facility which enables parents to take advantage of the classes. They have classes such as English as a Second Language and Citizenship for immigrants and refugees. Their culinary arts program is an intense 13-week training geared to place students in the culinary field. It’s led by Chef Branden Lewis, who has a contagious enthusiasm that seems to be very effective in inspiring his students to create unique and artful food.

The other judges and I were impressed with both the presentation and the flavor of the dishes. All were memorable enough that I find it hard to pick a favorite! But if I absolutely had to single one out, my favorite flavors were found in the stone grilled duckling, served on top of spinach ravioli and sweet potato fritters, with a refreshing cucumber salad on top. The meal was paired with wines from Newport Vineyards, which were well-chosen and eagerly consumed.

Some of the Sweet Selections
And some sweet: pina colada sherbert, half of an apple duo, jalapeno lollipop

Here’s what the team presented:

Firsts – Pacific Creamy Onion & Garlic Soup (photo)
Leek, Onion and Garlic simmered in a creamy chicken broth and topped with a nest of leeks & lumpfish caviar

Seconds – Sate Chicken & Mandarain Orange Salad
A bed of mixed greens, toasted cashews, oranges & crispy noodles topped with a peanut, shallot & sweet soy sauce marinated grilled chicken skewer

Thirds – Seared Crab Stuffed Trio of Scallops (photo)
Dressed with creamy corn puree, sweet confit shallots & served between a layer of sesame green beans & Mustard sprouts

Fourths – Stone Grilled Duckling (photo)
Served atop tomato jam & spinach raviolis, crisp sweet potato & corn fritters, shallot vinaigrette and a creamy beurre blanc sauce

Pre-Dessert – Pina Colada Sherbert (photo)
Pineapple & Coconut Sherbert topped with raspberry rum couli

Fifths – Apple Duo (photo)
A sweet & creamy apple tart paired with spiced apple butter ice cream, blueberry compote, granola and caramelized sugar splash

Sixths – Coffee Service (photo)
French pressed coffee with a trio of petit fours: Candied bitter oranges, chocolate truffles and jalapeno lollipops

6 thoughts on “Lunch at the Genesis Center”

  1. Holy god, those scallops look divine. The lollipop, notsomuch. I’ve had spicy sweets before and, yeeeah, I’ve never been a fan.

  2. Aaron: I liked the lollipop – it lasted all the way back to work and some. You probably haven’t heard of it because it’s a small program, but they have a great fundraiser every year you should check out called Food For Thought. It features food from a lot of area restaurants.

    Amy: I know, I was really blown away!

  3. Stephanie,

    Wow, you honor us with this write up!

    Thank you so much for your post and for being our test subject. The students had a lot of fun and couldn’t believe all the attention they got. They just graduated by-the-way, and are on their way out into the industry…

    …and with that, I’m taking a deep breath because I start again on Monday with a new fourteen.

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