2013 is the first year for the Pasta Making seminar at the Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic. Our friends Kris and Kevin really wanted to attend this, so we made sure to get four spots as soon as tickets became available – turns out that was a good thing because this sold out rather quickly. We knew before hand that potato gnocchi was going to be involved but that was about it – we weren’t sure how “interactive” it was going to be nor how much food we were going to be getting…
We showed up about 5 or 10 minutes before the event began and checked in. We were given a booklet containing all the recipes for the food we’d partake of, a description of the charcuterie, the cheeses, and the roasted marinated & pickled vegetables available before and during the event (we didn’t know that or we would have showed up earlier!), and details of the two wines being served. We were given aprons to put on, and then we were escorted to the ballroom where it would all happen.
Before I start with Nick’s pictures, the lighting in this space was crazy bad for taking photos… these aren’t the quality that Nick usually likes (keep in mind he took nearly 150 photos and these were the best)…
The space was huge, but there were only a few tables and a few high-tops… these were all taken… because we didn’t show up super early. There were three spaces set up for demonstration of three types of pasta making…
Nick was able to circulate and get photos, I spent my time at the fresh pasta and ravioli group. There are lots of photos from this group, partly because there was a lot going on…
Our main presenter was Chef Tyler (he’s been at Il Mulino as Executive Chef for 2.5 years, I think it’s been longer than that since our last dinner at Il Mulino with Lisa & Andy) – he imparted a lot of information, mostly about making basic pasta…
- this pasta recipe contains A LOT of egg yolks, these react with aluminum, so don’t make pasta on an aluminum surface because your pasta will be grey and bitter
- flour – they use farina flour 00, it has a finer grain and that works best for the pasta, all the flour has to be sifted and the recipe works with one kilogram of flour… halving the recipe doesn’t work, and doubling the recipe doesn’t work… they’ve tried it
- they made 42 batches of pasta for the ravioli being served out on the Causeway tonight
- so, after you sift the flour pull a little bit away just in case you need it, you make a well in the center (like Granma Dickens making biscuits!) and add the fluer de sel, then the wet ingredients – start mixing
- being a chef is a lot of math and ratios and proportions (I chimed in that I think cooking is a great way to teach math and fractions)
- okay, so you’re mixing the pasta, how do you know when to start kneading it? when you get streaks on the table (called “nape”) it’s time to to do the kneading
- after you knead the dough to the proper consistency, it must rest for at least 1 hour in plastic wrap in the refrigerator – if it doesn’t rest, it will be TOUGH
I asked Chef Tyler, “What do you want to eat after working with pasta all day?”… He said “A sandwich and a beer, made by my wife” – very cool
The scraps of pasta are used for staff snacks (pasta fried and dusted with cinnamon sugar, made into ugly cut pasta, or the egg whites are made into omelettes or frittatas).
Chef Tyler really likes to hire green chefs and teach… I really like that attitude… teaching and mentoring are an important part of how he does his work.
Would we do this event again! Oh yes! Absolutely! We even have ideas for how to improve the experience for guests (which we hope to share with Chef Cib) and we’re ready to give Il Mulino another try after meeting Chef Tyler. So all, in all, this was definitely a win-win-wine-cheese-pasta experience for us!