Caldwell Cuisine offers community India-themed night out

Apr. 22, 2014 @ 06:14 AM

Chopping peppers, squeezing lemons, dicing onions, about a dozen Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute Culinary Arts students hustled around the different stations in the kitchen during a practice run of their big night cooking Thursday for the India-themed Caldwell Cuisine dinner. Some students read the recipes while others weighed cup after cup of slippery black-eyed peas. Still others bustled from table to table with freshly washed vegetables ready to be sliced.

Each Caldwell Cuisine features food from a different culture to teach the students techniques, and India is no different, said senior Chonda Cook.

“The spices they use are different. There’s a lot of prep that goes into the spices,” she said.

On the menu as starters are Sabzi Molee, or mixed vegetable curry with naan bread and Lobhia Ka Salaad, or black-eyed pea salad. For entrées, diners can choose between Tandoori Chicken with Sour Mango Chutney and Masaledar Sem, or spicy green beans, or Lamb Curry with Onion and Roasted Tomato Relish served with a lemon saffron rice. For dessert, the students will prepare rice pudding.

Cook, who used to work in the furniture industry before attending CCC&TI, said that the Culinary Arts program has helped her hone her skill.

“You can have a recipe, but if you don’t have the technique, you’re not going to have anything," Cook said. "You never stop learning this. It’s something new every day, some new technique.”

Thursday's Indian meal will be final Caldwell Cuisine for the semester. Chef Bob Williams picked out the themes for this semester’s global cuisine class, starting with France, then Mexico and now India.

“Mexico was one of my favorites because I went out to culinary school in Arizona. Mexican food here is kind of ‘Southernized,’” Williams said.

The Culinary Arts program provides training in sanitation, baking, global cuisines, food production, hospitality supervision and more. Graduates can go on to be line cooks, station chefs, and with experience, sous-chefs, executive chefs and service managers.

Student Margaret Pritcher, who graduates in May, explained that the night before the event, the class will prep the meal. All the vegetables will be chopped, all the entrées cooked, and the dishes will be prepared as much as they can be. The night of the dinner, the students will pull everything together, transport the food to the Civic Center from their kitchen at the Caldwell Early College High School, bring the food to the right temperature and make the plate presentations.

“It’s stressful, but it’s fun,” Pritcher said.

Transfer student Bennie Davis enjoys the rigorous routine of the kitchen.

“It’s not really that hectic to me because of all the time I spent in the military. It’s coordinated like the military,” Davis said.

Caldwell Cuisine will be Thursday at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $21 plus tax per person. There is a limited number of seats, and tickets will be sold until all seats are filled. Call the Civic Center Box Office at 828-726-2407 or go to to purchase tickets.