Friday, February 25, 2011

{Living Vicariously} Culinary Student & Food Writer: Marcelle Richards

Marcelle trained me in fine-dining service, during one of my first weeks as a waitress at Fresco, in Madison, WI. Although we were front-of-house employees, both of us far preferred hanging out in the kitchen whenever we got a spare moment. We would talk about food and writing, and daydream about culinary school. 

I've visited and toured a few culinary schools, and each time my culinary dreams become stronger. Smelling the scent of parsley or the pungent sting of garlic as the knife hits it, while students are simply preparing their Mise En Place, is overwhelming for me. It make me want to drop everything I currently own, cross out everything sitting on my calendar, and jump into a chef's jacket and houndstooth pants. I dream of the day when I'll have to say, "Yes, Chef!" I literally ached to be in Paris when I read Kathleen Flinn's The Sharper Your Knife The Less You Cry (great read, by the way). But, like many foodies I talk to, I hesitate to take the plunge. I've made a firm decision that I will be taking the plunge after graduating with my Masters degree, but it has taken me a long time (and a lot of living vicariously) to get there. 

Marcelle is a few steps ahead of me, and is already pursuing her culinary school dream, at  Madison Area Technical College, Marcelle publishes recipes and other writings in The Isthmus, and contributes community-focused pieces to Our Lives Magazine. Her food blog, Gastropacalypse Test Kitchen, offers unique recipes--often with a bit of fusion flavoring--and is one of my favorite sources of inspiration. Her recipe for Buffalo Mac & Cheese is included below.

Culinary school is something a lot of foodies dream of and wonder about, myself included, so I wanted to give you all a chance to live vicariously through a real-life culinary student and food writer. Next week, I'll post a video with footage of Marcelle in culinary school and a one-on-one interview. For now, here's a creative and delightful recipe from her blog.

Buffalo Mac n’ Cheese
By Marcelle Richards of Gastropacalypse Test Kitchen
1.5 lb pasta (macaroni, or your favorite variety)
3 c. half and half
2 eggs
1 lb gorgonzola
24 oz cream cheese, softened
1 lb buffalo mozzarella (cube half, cut other half into rounds 1/4″ thick)
8 oz Buffalo Jack, shredded
salt to taste
dash paprika and cayenne
Buffalo sauce:
3 sticks butter, melted
8 oz. Louisiana hot sauce

Pre-heat oven to 375 degress. Parboil pasta (aboot 4 minutes, not quite al dente). Make buffalo sauce by melting butter and mixing in hot sauce. Blend cream cheese withabout 3/4 of the buffalo sauce. Reserve rest of sauce to spread on top of mac n’ cheese.
Beat eggs, stir in half and half, blend in cream cheese mixture. Stir in cubed mozzarella and jack. Combine cheese mixture with pasta in a casserole dish or cast iron skillet. Salt to taste and sprinkle top with paprika and cayenne. Spread remaining half of mozzarella (rounds) on top of pasta, cover top with remaining buffalo sauce.
Bake until bubbly and slightly crusted, about 40 min.

*See the original recipe posting, and related quip here.

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