As a part-time food blogger, I was honored when I was invited to attend this year's RCA Annual Conference & Culinology Expo, held in Portland, OR from March 11–14. I started the conference with an Urban Wine Tour excursion along with 18 other conference attendees. On Wednesday, the conference got into full swing with educational breakout sessions.
I attended “All Sauces Explained” as my first breakout session, and it was one of the best ones I attended. This session included historical information of sauces, much further back than the 1900s thinking of Escoffier that all sauces were derived from one of the “mother” sauces. An alternative classification system applies to modern and as well as ancient sauces and is based upon physical principle rather than recipe components. Since I'm not a chef, the classification of sauces into starch sauces, protein-thickened sauces, reduction sauces, pureed sauces, and emulsion sauces makes sense to me. All sauces fit into one or more of these categories.
The other session I really wanted to attend at the same time slot as the sauces presentation was “For the Love of Cheese.” Fortunately for me and you, my friend Melissa did a great write-up on her blog about this session.
The “Lunch-and-Learn” session provided valuable information on what steps you need to take if you plan to join the ranks of the CRA or CCS certification. The Research Chef's Association Certification Commission presented and then answered questions. Since it was a lunch-and-learn format, lunch was provided for us in the room. It was buffet style, but when you are serving chefs and culinary students, even buffet-style food is incredible. The meal was sponsored by the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council. I was in heaven! Since I don't eat a ton of meat, I do eat lots of peas, lentils, and beans for protein. The cuisine was to die for. Mixed Lentil Ensalada, Roasted Chickpea Pozole Soup, Lentil Tacos de Carne, Spanish Chicken with Mixed Pepper Rajas and Chickpea-Farro Parikash, and Spiced Cocoa-Lentil Cake. I would have had seconds if there had been time and food available.