Recipe testing simmers into Staples


Photo from the Inklings Archives

Culinary students bake cookies during class, just as Gans’ Connections group does.

Culinary, one of the most popular classes at Staples, has added a new twist to its advanced curriculum.  The students in the advanced culinary class have received the opportunity to do recipe testing for a cookbook containing recipes from student chefs, high school or younger, from all over the country.

Recipe testing takes place before a cookbook is published. Chefs, (or in this case student chefs) must cook all the recipes to make sure that both the instructions are clear and the results are delicious.  The students will cook the recipes and report back if the bread is dry, or the beef is tough or the cake doesn’t sufficiently rise.

“The hardest part [of recipe testing] is always precision,” said Chef Cecily Ganz who teaches the advanced culinary class.  “You can’t give in to the temptation to alter things to personal taste.”

Nathan Francis ’14, a student in  advanced culinary, echoed Ganz’s statement. “Even if there seems to be something that wouldn’t work you still have to roll with it and then report back to the author if something tastes bad,” said Francis.

The compiler of this cookbook, Ramin Ganeshram, is a Westport resident.  After graduating from Columbia University for journalism and completing training at the Institute of Culinary Education, Ganeshram merged her to interest into a decades long career in writing and compiling cookbooks.

Because the cookbook contains recipes from the entire nation, Ganz credits Ganeshram with giving students a chance to work with unique ingredients in order to make delectable dishes from other regions of the country.

Rayna Weiser ‘14 particularly remembers making alligator stew, which is a medley of alligator pieces in a spicy cajun tomato-based stew.

However, the opportunity to recipe test isn’t just beneficial to students in the kitchen.  Ganeshram is an example of a success in the culinary field, which introduces students to other options for post-high school or career plans.

“It’s a rare glimpse at part of a career that is not usually seen,” said Ganz.