The California Culinary Academy hosted a Culinary Scavenger Hunt for my entire department, roaming the streets of neighborhoods such as North Beach, Chinatown and Japantown. Armed with only a pen and paper, we had to answer questions about Italian, Chinese and Japanese foods by raiding local restaurants, cafes and markets.
My team, stationed in Japantown, attempted to find answers to questions like “What is the Japanese name for a chopstick holder?” (amusingly enough, the shopkeeper we asked didn’t know the answer to this one, and said it was just called “A Chopstick Holder”), “Name 5 different Japanese vegetables”, and “What is the process of making sushi rice?”.
Upon return to the CCA from the scavenger hunt, students instructed us on the preparation of different foods native to Japan, China and Italy… well, stereotypically, at least: Sushi, Dim Sum and Pasta. We all donned complimentary CCA aprons (that we got to keep!) and had some hands-on training, supervised by students and staff. The best part? We got to eat our creations. Side lesson learned: don’t wolf down a piece of sushi someone else (namely a co-worker that’s never made it before) makes unless you’ve verified that there is a minimal amount of wasabi in it. I consumed a large chunk of wasabi without prior knowledge, resulting in ultra-clear sinuses and involuntary tears.
Many of us were under the impression that this was our lunch. But that wasn’t all… we were in for a treat! We were subsequently off to the Academy’s Carême Room, where a gourmet buffet lunch was being served (open to the public for a fee every Thursday and Friday). Two rooms, separated into large spreads of hot and cold dishes, awaited our stomachs. It felt a little strange to sample foie gras while wearing jeans and a hoodie, but hey, how often does one get to do so?
It’s things like this that makes me love my job (although not exclusively, but it helps, *grin*). We get to do awesome stuff like this every once in a while, and it definitely makes the work environment a better place to be.
Interested in the program? There doesn’t seem to be any info on the CCA website about this corporate activity, but I’m sure one could find out by contacting CCA directly or calling them at 1-800-739-9700.