I was not sure of what to expect with this class. I signed my husband and myself for the “St. Jacques” course not knowing what that entailed other then seafood. “St. Jacques” is a scallop. The class was started by Michelin star Chef Olivier Roellinger who after owning his restaurant for many years decided to close it down and open a culinary school to help share his experiences and love for the riches of the sea & spices. Chef Olivier is known around France as the man with a Vanilla Bean cave and his own line of exotic spices. He has written several books about his passion for food and the spices he has found on his travels around the world.
Chef Olivier’s number one Chef Emmanuel Tessier gives the class. The class is conducted in French however, you can pay a little extra and get a translator. They only allow 6 students.
The first thing we learned was how to open fresh scallops. You can here the scallops clapping as we learn the proper way of opening them. This was a difficult task as my husband cut himself because the scallop fought back! We shucked about 6 kilos. Then we learned how to remove the scallop “intestines” to be used in a “chili”. The chef believes in using every part of the scallop and not letting it go to waste.
The class had us prepping the ingredients and then the Chef showing us how to cook them. It was more of a demonstration class. The recipes are all from the former Michelin star restaurant owned by Olivier Roellinger.
For each course the Chef prepares and shows us how to present the dish. The first dish is the scallop carpaccio with ponzu sauce ( Japanese). Second dish scallop tartare with a pumpkin seed salad (French). Third dish a pistachio rice pilaf with vanilla bean ( Uganda vanilla bean) and scallops steamed with a marsala type of sauce (India). Fourth dish was the “chili bean” this was made with the intestines of the scallop ( Tex-Mex). The Chef explained he wanted to takes us thru a culinary adventure around the world. The left overs were given to each person to take home. However, we gave ours to a local french women in the class as we had no way to refrigerate the scallops and items in our hotel.
The class was more about cultures and learning the flavors of those cultures then a “hand-on” experience for everyday cooking. The recipes are very labor intensive and require a lot of prep time. If you are looking for hand-on experience this is not the course for you. If you want to learn about food and other cultures and don’t mind a little prep here and there then this is your class.