The fourth annual CaterArts Master Culinary Catering Conference, put on by The International Catering Association, was held this year in Louisville, Kentucky on August 8-11. We sent Chef Brooke to this prestigious conference to bring back the latest culinary techniques taught by some of the nation’s top chefs.

Opening night started with a party for all the attending chefs. The theme of the night was “The Art of Food”, the menu for which was the result of a collaboration of chefs from coast to coast. There were many trays passed around, and the servers wore t-shirts explaining the dish on the front, with the chef creator(s) on the back. Some of the dishes included: Pulled Pork Mini Tacos with Mango Salsa and Micro Cilantro by Chef Jason Mezrano of Kathy G Company, Grilled Vegetable Towers including Grilled Polenta Cake, Sauteed Spinach, Grilled Eggplant, Tomato Jam and Mushroom Duxelle by Joanne Purnell and Ken Barrett, as well as a Peanut Butter Captain Crunch Crab Cake and Black Garlic Petit Filet with Wasabi Mash and Edamame Succotash by Chef Mark Baldwin.

Chef Brooke shares some of the new and interesting things she experienced and learned: “One of the classes I took was called ‘Old Spice’, which went over the importance of salt. Even though it may be the oldest spice in the world, there are still new ways to use it. One use that I learned was to grate a large piece of Himalayan pink salt at the table, very similar to the way a large wedge of parmesan is grated at some restaurants.”

Chef Brooke also attended the “Mixology” session where she learned some trendy drink recipes for evening events, such as the “Rosey Palmer.” This drink is rosemary-infused lemonade added to sweet tea vodka.  Another cocktail that she learned how to make was a “Green Tea Lemon Drop” martini.

In her final class, Chef Brooke was exposed to “Molecular Gastronomy” which has been featured on shows such as Top Chef and Iron Chef America and experienced by diners in some of the best restaurants in North America. Created in this class were Caviar pearls and “dippin’ dots,” where classic dishes were deconstructed and brought back in a whole new texture, shape, form and flavor using liquid nitrogen and other chemicals.

Now armed with vast knowledge of emerging trends in the culinary industry, Chef Brooke is more ready than ever to create new dishes and drinks for Artisan by Santa Barbara Catering’s clients. Dishes that will be the talk of the town!