Click the link for a flipagram of Hahjir experience at FEEST!
Click the link for a flipagram of Hahjir experience at FEEST!
Click the link for a flipagram of Hahjir experience at FEEST!
Tallulah’s is a nice little restaurant up in Capitol Hill. Most of the food on their menu is vegan/vegetarian but worry not meat lovers, they do have meat options! One of their most popular dishes is a cauliflower that has been caramelized then tossed in a pan with roasted pine nuts and raisins, seasoned with salt, lemon juice and herbs. Doesn’t that just sound mouth watering? If so, you should go to Tallulah’s right now and go have a go at it for yourself!
Guess what FEEST got to do…
Go ahead guess.
We got to help prep the ingredients of that very dish! Then we got to eat it! Yup! That’s something you don’t hear very often, a bunch of high schoolers in the back of the kitchen touching food that other people will eat!? No it can’t be! Well that’s what we did! Chef Walter trusted us to do just that. But before I go into anymore detail lets go back to that very morning when we first got there.
When we first spotted Tallulah’s the first thing I heard was, “It’s a Tumblr style restaurant!” I didn’t know what that means but I guess that’s a good thing right? I mean Tumblr is pretty cool, but hey no complaints here. Chef Walter Edwards greeted us at the door he seemed like a cool guy much taller than I expected, but most of the people I know are short so…
He gave us a tour of the kitchen first. When we went inside the freezer, I learned that by keeping a wet towel over seafood, like clams, helps keep them alive longer. While we were in there their produce guy came and delivered the fresh produce. After the tour, Chef Walter reviewed us on kitchen safety that we were all familiar with such as washing hands, the claw, knife safety, etc.
Wait- did I mention we got to wear aprons which don’t seem to be a big deal but it made us feel more like we were part of it! We could’ve worn chef coats but there were not enough.
Anyway, back to the story, he set up cutting boards with different things to be chopped and after we choose which one we wanted to do, he showed us how we should cut it and helpus if we had any trouble. For example, I had the shallots. I had to dice them into fine little pieces which was difficult at first because when you made cuts into the shallot and start chopping it would fall apart, but after a while with the help of Chef Walt and Elizabeth helping me along the way I was able to cut the shallots with more confidence.
After a while of chopping, we stopped what we were doing and started to clean up, Chef Walter gathered everyone around the stove and showed us the process of the cauliflower dish.
First, the pine nuts were already roasted before we got there. My fellow FEEST intern, Licely helped rehydrate the raisins, then Chef cooked the cauliflower on one side until it was nice and golden brown. He added salt and lemon juice for flavor, also the herbs we helped chop. He then added the pine nuts and raisins and bam! There you had it!
He made four more servings and let’s us eat, he also served us drinks. I asked for a Shirley Temple, which was something new I have never tried. When you first bite into it you get the acidity from the lemon and the savoriness from the cauliflower but then the sweetness of the raisins balance the two and the pine nuts give it nutty crunch that gives the dish body. It was really delicious. Another one of my fellow FEEST interns, Gloria kept asking people if they were gonna eat the rest of their food since she enjoyed it so much.
Eating wasn’t the only thing we did. We got to ask Chef Walter things we were curious about like which culinary school he went to and if it ever got to be like Hell’s Kitchen in there. He thoughtfully answered our questions and made us laugh at times, he was an interesting person to talk to and get to know more about. At the end of the day we took a picture with him and my fellow intern, Mahala being the “Selfie Queen” got a selfie with him of course. :D
The trip to Tallulah’s was a fun one we learned so many things there and got to experience new things there. I will definitely go there again to eat and enjoy the atmosphere there.
Presidents’ Day is usually a day to relax; some people even take the time to learn some history. I, on the other hand, learned something a little on the non-traditional route. I learned how to make a pan seared, caramelized cauliflower with roasted pine nuts and golden raisins. It was with great pleasure that I was afforded the opportunity to learn one of the best selling dishes from Capital Hill’s 5 star neighborhood café with the meaningful name that we all know as Tallulah’s.
Tallulah’s invited FEEST to not only learn how to make one of the top selling dishes, we learned how to prep everything for the dish we learned what a productive and neat-clean kitchen should look like and we also learned how to make selfie magic. (Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself on that last one.) Although we learned a lot from Chef Walter Edward, FEEST was not blind-sided with a few of the very important techniques used in Tallulah’s kitchen. Such as the “bear claw” and “mise en place” (etc.)
Along with learning a new dish that is completely out of my usual menu, I was highly influenced in a positive way by our host for the day Chef Walter Edward. He was really encouraging, motivational & he spoke with great sincerity. Often making himself relatable, Chef Walter Edward agreed that he strives for perfection but accepts that perfection is often not possible. When asked about his opinion and emotions when a plate is sent back to the kitchen his response is simply breathtaking, “it rarely happens, but when it does I always feel like there was something I could have done better” he then continued to say that everyone has a different sense of taste and sometimes ingredients aren’t listed on the menu but Chef Walter Edward made it very clear that alterations for customer satisfaction has/will never be a problem.
I have never been inside a restaurant kitchen and often when people are taken into a restaurant kitchen it is a short and sweet hi and bye to the commercial refrigerator. My fellow intern peers and I went on a tour of the kitchen, prepared the ingredients for that workday and most importantly we met Brandon the line chef who’s last name shall remain unknown because he’s Brandon THE AMAZING no last name needed! All fun and games aside I personally had one of the best experiences of my life thanks to Tallulah’s, Chef Walter Edward, & the woman who made this all possible, Linda Derschang.
Mise en place simply means ‘everything in its place’ & on Presidents’ Day of 2015, sitting in the kitchen of Tallulah’s neighborhood café, I honestly felt like there was no place I would rather be and nothing else I would rather be doing. Instead of learning the history of the USA, I learned the reasoning behind the name Tallulah’s: it turns out that ‘Tallulah’ is actually Linda Derschang’s daughter. With much love, patience, and energy instilled in Tallulah’s, being in the place that provides a family felt demeanor made me truly feel like everything was ‘in its place’.
Have any of the foods/dishes you ate tonight ever been eaten at your house?
Yes! I have eaten lots of the foods that I had at dinner at my house. One of the of the dishes that I eat most frequently at home is the bannana smoothie. The banna smoothie was my favorite because it tasted very good and I enjoyed helping to create it.
What are your thoughts on the FEEST team changing the school food menu?
I feel happy that FEEST is having the opportunity to change the school food menu. I am a Muslim and I am not able to eat pork or any other meat dish. I believe that if we change the school food menu we will be able to provide Muslim students with more satisfying Halal vegetarian options.
What is your least favorite food on the school menu currently?
My least favorite food on the school menu currently is the chicken sandwich. I personally dislike the food because it is served everyday in the cafeteria. I also don’t eat it because it is not Halal meat and it is not cooked properly. I observed that it is mostly undercooked and has a pink color in it which makes it unhealthy!
Did you experience a good time at FEEST tonight? How has your experience with food changed tonight after coming to FEEST?
Yes! I had the best experience at FEEST tonight. One of my favorite moments was getting to cook the fried rice and learning to cook other foods that were new to me. I also learned the right way to cut properly and handle the knife safely. I am looking forward to coming again and becoming more into FEEST!
Ah, the weekend. Who doesn’t love weekends? Especially, THREE day weekends! Its time to sleep in, relax, that stress-free time to just snuggle with your blanket and let go! But not for FEEST! On Sunday, January 25 and Monday, January 26, we went to Youth Action Day in Olympia, where would be advocating for food justice and the most exciting part- talk to REAL senators who could support the issues we wanted to see addressed. On Sunday, I woke up to the bone chilling morning and slowly got ready to go to the FEEST office. I was the first intern there and greeted Ela and watched as everyone slowly rolled in. When everyone finally arrived, we got into a big van and started our one hour drive to Olympia. In the van, we reviewed our notes on what we planned to say while Elizabeth constantly kept up our excitement by exclaiming, “Oh my god! Look at that!” to things outside.
We expected to be the People of Color organization there, but were pleasantly surprised when we saw that there were mostly People of Color. When you entered the room, we were greeted with handshakes from the members of Legislative Youth Action Council, who were amazing people and youth representatives. The room was filled with excited teenagers who were munching away on muffins and pop tarts. Myself and the other interns walked around introducing ourselves to the other groups and advertised FEEST.
After, we all went outside where we participated in an icebreaker. We had to pick a side of a debate (i.e. chocolate or vanilla) and make valid points as to why you chose that side. After debating from some time, my group ended up playing a hand slapping game and making a huge circle in the parking lot! When we got back inside the building, we went into a different room and we were told that each group had to introduce themselves and their organization. My fellow intern, Zeinab Ali volunteered to be the lead speaker to introduce us and FEEST and did a great job. After introductions, we learned a game called, 5 Why’s. 5 Why’s is a game where you keep asking why, so you can get a deeper meaning behind the original question. This was a somewhat difficult game because you really had to think about what you were saying and there were times when you didn’t know whether you found the deeper meaning or not. But it was fun and interesting to listen to people’s thoughts.
Then, Greg Williamson, Assistant Director for Partnerships and Collaboration, from the Department of Early Learning led us on a tour of the State Capitol. He had a lot of energy and was funny in a sarcastic way. He took us to the sundial, where we learned was where lobbyists and protestors came to gather, then to the Capitol Building, which STILL dazzled me even though I had been there many times before.
When lunch was over, all the groups were split up and were in different rooms. FEEST was with another group and the point of all us being split up was that LYAC was teaching us how to be prepared when we had to talk to legislators. We learned how important it was to get our point across in a fast, clear way since they were busy people. Then, everyone gathered back to one room and we listened to two guest speakers who were real senators, Sharon Tomiko-Santos and Chad Magendanz.
For the night, we stayed in the cabins at Black Lake Camp.
The next morning, in the van on the way back to the State Capitol, we studied our notes and practiced what were were going to say. I was so nervous about what was going to happen that day- talking in front of these people that could potentially help make the changes that I wanted to help make! We went into the building, had breakfast and continued to study up. Later, Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen came in to speak about his job and his projects. Afterwards, Washington’s Governor, Jay Inslee was supposed to arrive to also speak, but we had to leave early, because FEEST had an appointment with his wife, First Lady, Trudi Inslee. She is such a warm, lovable lady that clearly cared about what we had to say about the issues we care about that effect our community. We had hot chocolate for us and really great cookies.
It was time to talk to the senators. I ended up talking to each one because I was the only intern talking about converting school lunch kitchens into scratch cooking kitchens. I was nervous the entire time! Especially the second time, while waiting for my turn to present and rehearsing what to say in to my head over and over again, I could feel my heart just ready to burst out of my chest! I even ended up messing up and not finishing but it was okay. I knew I had another chance to do it better than the last. So, at lunch, I practiced with another one of my fellow interns from Nova High School, Gloria. My co-intern, from Chief Sealth High School, Evelyn suggested that we go to the Capitol Building and one of the most amazing, but strangest things happened. This man suddenly started singing opera and his voice bounced off the marble walls making it such an amazing experience! I think after listening to the man sing, it gave me some kind of reassurance of some sort, because at the last meeting I was confident at what I was saying and didn’t stutter as much as I did previously.
Youth Action Day was such an amazing event that I think every teen should at least experience something like it at least once in their life. They say that a lot of kids come out feeling changed and I can agree this has had an positive effect on me. This trip increased my confidence and awareness of the things happening around me.
Our media intern at Evergreen Campus, Mariam interviewed an AWESOME FEEST regular, Sanyasen about her experience at dinner.
This week at Evergreen, we did things a little bit differently. We teamed up to create some cultural recipes to submit to Highline Public Schools to be considered for a school lunch menu item! Here is what Sanyasen thought about this activity:
The tortilla wrap was my favorite dish tonight. I loved the way it tasted and how the spices were on point. It was easy to make and simple to prepare. I really enjoyed making it overall and eating it at dinner.
What cultural dish did you prepare tonight?
Tonight, I prepared the egg dish. This dish took a long time to prepare because it had many ingredients to it. One thing I loved from this dish was that it went well with the cultural bread called Jabaati. The dish was very good in taste although it took the most time to prepare.
What did you learn tonight from these dishes?
I learned a lot from these dishes. I learned that most of the cultural dishes made tonight came from Somali culture and Somali descent.
What dish did you vote to possible add to the school menu?