Advanced Culinary students prepare seasonally inspired dishes

Lentils: “Lentils are a great legume and when stewed they are very earthy and comforting,” said Cecilia Kiker ’14. On top of the soup, Kiker daintily drops pine nuts, golden raisins, and thyme, a trio of seasonal condiments.

If you want to know where the best food at Staples is, you needn’t look in the cafeteria. The best food at Staples’ is found period six, in room 186, on a Wednesday. There, you can find six seniors frantically searing, sauteing, and seasoning six to seven different dishes under the watchful eye of Chef Cecily Gans.

Welcome to Advanced Culinary. Every week the students imagine and design a full menu, and then choose one dish to prepare during their lunch wave (Wednesday). This week, Chef Gans asked them to make their most seasonally inspired dishes, as the first signs of fall are not only showing up on the leaves of trees, but also in the grocery stores, which are stocking up on autumn ingredients.

A fall inspired menu to the students of Advanced Culinary does not mean a cliched pumpkin pie or apple tart. To them, fall means a dark chocolate, raspberry panna cotta dolloped with spiced whipped cream, or roasted butternut squash tossed with lemon couscous. The dishes are assembled and plated with the greatest care. A white table cloth is produced and spread across one of the stainless steel tables in the kitchen, and one by one each student proudly sets his or her dish down to be tasted by Chef Gans.

Each dish is centered around a crucial fall ingredient and as one can see in the photos below, the students of period six Advanced Culinary did not disappoint.

Sarah’s Extra Special Crispy Brussel Sprouts Recipe


  • 3 lbs. brussel sprouts

  • ½ cup honey

  • 2 star anise (whole)

  • 2 tablespoons mint (chopped)

  • ¼ cup lemon juice

  • ⅓ cup olive oil


1. Cut brussel sprouts into quarters, toss in 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper, roast on 375 until crispy (about 15 minutes)

2. While roasting, infuse honey and star anise over low heat

3. In a separate bowl, stir lemon and mint into infused honey, then stir in the rest of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Toss the roasted brussel sprouts in the warm dressing. Serve warm.