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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.

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Sophia Hampton
Sophia Hampton, News Editor
Sophia Hampton ’15 can’t quite decide what she wants to do mainly because she wants to do everything. “I can’t tell you what I want to do,” she said, “Because it’s going to change.” Hampton described how, in the past, her varied ambitions ranged from being an editor of Vogue, to being owner of a restaurant, to even being a member of the Peace Corps. Now, however, she has become fixated on another career. After a five week journalism course at Northwestern University over the summer, Hampton decided to take the parts she loved best about journalism- connecting with people through interviews and talking about important issues- and use them it construct her new life plan. With lively passion, she detailed how she would love to be a lawyer. She discussed how she thinks it’s very similar to journalism, since they both would allow her to uncover the truth and “give a voice to the voiceless.” Of course, with Hampton’s ambition, she wastes no time getting started. When she wanted to own a restaurant, she became president of the culinary club.  So when she wanted to become a lawyer, she took up a summer internship at a law firm right after her journalism program. But she playfully acknowledges that her dreams have changed before, and makes sure to add, “Right now I am so down to be a lawyer, but don’t be surprised if you find me in 30 years and I’m a marine biologist.”  

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