Foodie Tuesdays:Lunch at PICA

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A sunny Tuesday morning was spent spent on the docks of the beautiful Granville Island, and a three course lunch commenced in Vancouver’s own finest culinary institute.

This is a review of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, and also a little peek into my life:)

For the foods and baking courses at school, we were all eligible to go on a field trip to the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts(PICA) for a lunch and tour. This field trip alternates every year between PICA and VCC(Vancouver Community College) which also has a great cooking and baking program.

Before actually going, we spent a class learning about proper table etiquette. No elbows on the tables please!

The day began with a short and easy scavenger hunt which we basically had to find around 6 occupations to do with food around Granville Island and write what occupation interested us the most. I picked cheese maker, because I LOVE cheese. And if you don’t, you’re weird :p

After we had some free time to walk around the Public Market, which we all gawked over organic handmade lotions and of course a lot of food!

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I love the Public Market at Granville Island so much! It’s filled with fresh produce stands, cheese makers,meat and seafood vendors(I saw sea urchin!!), fresh made pastas and sauces,fresh baked goods and a gazillon types of bread and pastries, soup markets, and along with that a international cuisine type food court! Also you can find alternating artisan products like art pieces,things for your body/skin,scarves,hats,cards,honey,spices and tea. Anyways if you are in Vancouver, this is definitely a place worth it to check out! I cry for my friend who lived here her whole life and this was the first time she went to Granville Island!

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Anyways, after that we all met up and entered the institute. The front is Bakery 101, run by the baking students. It has few seats that are filled with people enjoying their treats or light lunches. There is a glass display filled with baked goods like muffins,croissants,cakes and tartes made by the students that day. Presentation wise, it’s splendid.

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We continued walking in through another door where we are met with a beautiful small bar, and a modern and western dining space with 4 long tables. The table setting is as you would expect in a normal restaurant,very sophisticated and clean. We sat by the windows, so there was beautiful lighting and a view of the sea and sidewalks.

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Chocolate making!

Chocolate making!

The kitchens are clearly visible, you can see exactly what the students/young chefs are busily preparing. One of the instructors called it like watching a “fish in a fish bowl” because the students are basically on display.

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More photos from the tour:

They grow their own microgreens!

They grow their own microgreens!

Lecture classrooms

Lecture classrooms

World map. Red dots indicate where graduates work. They worked all over the world!

World map. Red dots indicate where graduates work. They worked all over the world!

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Dessert after dessert being prepped

Dessery after dessert being prepped

Cake baking competition apparently

Cake baking competition apparently

By the time the tour ended, we were HUNGRY. We sat down at our seats, eagerly awaiting our food. What sucked was that we were always the last table of the four to be served. What sucked even more was that I sat at the far right corner and was the last person to be served in the whole room. Great for me. But at least because of proper table etiquette no one could start until I started muahah.

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We started with a bread basket. This wasn’t just any boring bread basket, it was filled with like four different types of petite breads. My favorite was the mini round corn breads filled with fresh corn. There was also this large,thin salty cracker thing with herbs and spices. Mini baguettes and these tiny,crispy but hollow on the inside buns that tasted like cheese balls which were heavenly.

The chicken chowder was creamy and flavorful but just too salty for me. There was a perfect balance of peas,corns,carrots, and red pepper and soft shredded chicken. It was served with a parmesan twist bread that was so cool because when you broke it apart, it was flaky like croissants on the inside!

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Finally, the entree came and it looked glorious. I was basically salivating by the time it came. The chicken breast was baked and stuffed with thinly sliced smoked turkey and edam cheese. It sat upon a bacon endive cream sauce, and I couldn’t taste the bacon nor the endive but it was so freaking delicious not a drop was left on my plate when I was done. It was a pretty filling size I guess to make up for the fact there’s no carbohydrates to go along with it, and a few pieces of brocollini,roasted baby tomatoes,yellow pepper,onion and thinly baked crispy potatoes. Overall this entree was delicious. They seem to make chicken breast not boring. And also considering the fact I normally don’t like chicken.

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The dessert. The course everyone was anticipating since when we first sat down. Let me just say it was chocolate x3. But hey no complaints. I started with the caramel semifreddo which kind of looked like a tirumisu but tasted like chocolate cream heaven. When you crushed through the top crust with your fork, it bursts with a creamy filling all the way down to the chocolately melty bottom. The little chocolate swirl in the middle, at first I thought it was some sort of chocolate coffee wafer, but in fact it was jelly! The cannelloni had a thin wafer like exterior and creamy chocolate interior with a thin chocolate cap on top. Chocolate overload much? But again, no one was complaining:P

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Everyone seemed to be ultra pleased with the dessert.

Overall for around 20 dollars, the service and the food was fantastic. The students all seemed very dedicated to their art because they’re obviously there to learn and go into the profession. I would totally go back!

Hoped you enjoy this review of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts,

Happy Eating!

Naomi

For more information about PICA visit www.picachef.com

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