Birmingham's Culinard: Gumbo, Elvis and entremets

Jul 11, 2012

Birmingham chefs helped raise over $35,000 at a recent sold-out charity event called Gumbo Gala 2012.

Chef Antony Osborne, Dean of Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College, served as a judge for the event. Chef Osborne is also president of Birmingham Originals, a collaboration of local restaurateurs and community members who promote the region's unique flavors and locally produced food.

The event included 10 local celebrities serving as sous chefs partnering with 10 local chefs from Birmingham Originals. In the photo above, top: Culinard students Amanda Ellis and Demisha Miller, Culinard pastry chef instructor Matthew Dyer, Culinard graduate and cancer specialist Dr. Luis Pineda, and Chef Osborne.

Money raised at the event goes to provide support services to 148 residents who live at Birmingham's Episcopal Place.

Back on campus, the talents of Birmingham pastry students were on display.

Their instructor, Certified Pastry Chef (ACF) Chef Thomas Mair, said, "These are considered modern day entremets or cakes you would find in a typical high-end pastry shop or hotel. They are fine examples that showcase the talent of our young pastry culinarians."

Finally, what happens when professional chefs and chefs-in-training reimagine quintessential Southern foods?

A Southern Comfort Buffet!

In mid-June, Culinard students finishing their last term before externship prepared a feast to celebrate the newest crop of Culinard graduates. About 170 guests, including faculty and staff, enjoyed a Southern Comfort buffet in the Culinard Café located at Birmingham's Palisades campus.

The menu included Mini Shrimp Po'boys, Crab Hush Puppies, BBQ Shrimp Shortcakes, Deconstructed Hoppin' John, Pulled Pork Sushi Rolls, Spinach and Smoked Oyster Vol-au-vent, Tomato, Bacon and Mint Tartlets and Spicy Shrimp Salad in a Red Potato Cup. Beverages included Raspberry Mint Julep Shooters and Spicy Papaya Sunrise.

Desserts at the event included Red Velvet Cake, Sweet Potato Fritters, Raspberry Cheesecake Bites, Pecan Opera, Caramel Bonbons, Key Lime Tartlets and Elvis Cake (peanut butter and banana, if you have to ask). Frozen treats like Malted Vanilla Ice Cream, Peach Tea Sorbet, Black Walnut Ice Cream and Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Ice Cream were served to cool the warm summer evening.

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