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As many of you already know, we love research & development here at Brenda’s.  There is no better way to keep things fresh, streamline service, stay on top of trends, and keep our ever-evolving menu… ever-evolving.  Earlier this month we did just that.  We packed our bags, grabbed a few staff members, and headed out on an adventure to the Culinary Institute of America located in Hyde Park, NY.  (To say it was impressive is a HUGE understatement.)  The CIA offers top-notch culinary education programs taught by world class chefs, a vibrant campus, and a student run craft beer brewery and pop-up restaurant, as well as four world famous student staffed restaurants. 

Not only that, they also offer food enthusiast courses like 2-5 Day Boot Camps, Cooking, Baking, Beverage, and Wine classes, Chef demos and samplings, and Saturday Kitchens. (No experience required!)  After doing a little research, we opted for Saturday Kitchens.  Not only did we receive instruction and guidance from expert CIA chefs, but we enjoyed a day of learning by doing in the famed kitchens of the CIA.  Whether you are a beginning baker, seasoned gourmet, or just an all-around food lover, the CIA offers fun cooking and baking classes for everyone.

Matt Roy creating making crepes for our top secret recipe.

Matt Roy creating making crepes for our top secret recipe.

In the CIA Favorites course Matt and Jeany created and sampled some of the CIA’s all time favorite recipes, brushed up on, as well as, learned a variety of cooking skills, helpful tips, basic cooking methods, ingredient selection, and plating techniques.    

In the Classic Italian Cooking course Sydney and Cody explored the amazing variety of foods and flavors from every region of Italy, made fresh pastas and classic sauces, and created traditional as wells as some lesser-known dishes.  Melissa got to spend the afternoon making fruit-laden and cream-style pies as well as sweet and savory tarts in the Pies and Tarts course.  For most of us the thought of cooking an entire holiday meal from scratch makes us want to run and turn the calendar to January but not Brenda!  She tackled the CIA Holiday Favorites course. From classic dishes like roast turkey breast with gravy to non-traditional items like sautéed duck breast with Pinot Noir sauce, she created mouthwatering appetizers, sides, entrees, and desserts perfect for any holiday gathering.  Needless to say we made the most of our Saturday Kitchens!  We learned a lot, and we brought back some great ideas!  See you soon New York! We'll be back!  

But… you know what they say about all work and no play….  We couldn’t go to NY without a little side adventure into the city with our fabulous tour guide Brenda McDonnell!  

Greetings from the Empire State Building!!  Left to Right:  Brenda, Melissa, Sydney, Cody, and Matt.  Photo cred: Jeany

Greetings from the Empire State Building!!  Left to Right:  Brenda, Melissa, Sydney, Cody, and Matt.  Photo cred: Jeany

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