The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is a national organization of 20,000 members and over 200 chapters. Their membership is made up of professional chefs, food industry-related people and maybe a food blogger or two. Their mission is mainly educational and to provide professional certification (e.g., Master Chef) in the culinary arts.
In the slower months of the year (May-December) when all the winter residents have left, they have a monthly chapter meeting. They are almost always at private country clubs in the area as chefs in these venues make up the majority of the membership. They always start off with a social component followed by an educational presentation and then dinner.
The May meeting was held at Pelican Isle Yacht Club.
This is a private club offering dining and a marina providing access into the Gulf of Mexico.
When I initially started this blog I did not want to include places that the public did not have access to, as they could not eat there. Rethinking this, blogging about places such as these gives readers a window into somewhere they would not normally be able to see.
The social part of the meeting was held in the bar area of the club
and there were some very nice appetizers served. These included smoked fish,
bacon-wrapped shrimp and smoked sausage rolls,
in addition to a variety of fruits.
I really loved the presentation with this, especially the red and yellow beets surrounding a pineapple top.
After everyone was seated in the dining area
matters relating to the chapter were announced and the educational part of the meeting began.
The topic that evening was a demonstration on Spherification, a technique used in Molecular Gastronomy. What is this you may ask? Molecular gastronomy involves cooking techniques that combine principles of food science, chemistry and physics to produce novel culinary dishes. Spherification is the process of shaping liquids into spheres which hold their shape when served. The spheres can be of any size, from that of an egg yolk to caviar.
The methods demonstrated that evening produced Strawberry Spheres
Here is some of the finished product.
The meal served that evening was really good and Memorial Day-themed.
Coleslaw and pasta salad,
Snapper with a mango salsa,
St. Louis Style ribs,
barbecued Beef Brisket cooked for 12 hours in a slow cooker and topped with a mango barbecue sauce
and Coca Cola-marinated fried chicken. The acidity of the Coca Cola tenderizes the meat. It was delicious.
and Apple Strudel were served as desserts.
This was a very educational and tasty chapter meeting of our local ACF, and I cannot wait until the next one.