FCI Culinary Alum and Staff Contributor: Erik Murnighan
Hear about The French Culinary Institute's special travel program offered to Alumni in Southwest France!
Alumni are given the chance to join long-time resident of Southwest France, cook, and writer Kate Hill for a one-week advanced program at The French Kitchen, her 18th-Century farmhouse and cooking school in Gascony. Alumni Erik has just returned and shares his experience:
The trip was fantastic. From the Chapolard’s pig farm to Patricia’s duck farm, the Sabadini’s Blond Aquataine cattle to Guy’s incredible armangac, we saw the origin of the incredible meals we prepared and ultimately consumed. The Gascon countryside is beautiful and Kate was a fantastic tour guide. We ate everything, including kilo upon kilo of fois gras, magret of duck, saucisson, sauciseche, crepinettes, roast suckling pig, pates, terrines, horse – yes horse, veal, and some of the best produce I have ever eaten. The wine was fantastic and we always made sure to start off our evenings with some local aperitfs, including Floc which is a Gascon specialty. The weather was beautiful and we really learned a lot about the connection between the land and the meal – that has a lot more cultural significance in Gascony than it does in the US and it was wonderful not only to learn about it but to participate in it. The alumni who attended had a great time and they were a pleasure to spend a week with. The people we met were incredible – I was really taken by how proud they were of their respective craft and how they wanted to share that pride with us and tell us why it was so important to do things the old fashioned way.
They invited us into their world and provided wonderful memories.
PS- I have included some photos of farmers we met along the way... Also you can read more about our day to day adventures on Kate Hill's blog.