Those of us who have followed Farid Zadi's career — at the Le Cordon Bleu School in Pasadena, where he was a chef instructor for the last six years, or via his blog chefzadi, or through Charles Perry's excellent 2007 profile of the French born chef in the L.A. Times food section — will soon have a whole new arena in which to appreciate the chef. Zadi, who left Le Cordon Bleu a few weeks ago, and his wife Susan Ji Young Park, a food historian, author and expert in French, North African and Northeastern Asian cuisines, are opening their own culinary school next month. Ecole de Cuisine Pasadena will begin classes October 19th.
The school will share locations with Chefs Center of California (previously the Kitchen Incubator), a few miles east of Old Town, Pasadena, in a newly renovated building with beautiful, high wooden beams and an upstairs classroom looking out over the 2,000 square feet of commercial kitchen space. The school will teach French International techniques and principles, and has an instructor-to-student ratio of 1:12. The entire suite of courses, which runs 46 weeks, includes: meat, poultry and seafood fabrication; French bistro desserts, cakes and tarts; wine studies; molecular gastronomy; Viennoiseries; garde manger; and professional food writing. We're not sure in which class Zadi teaches students how to make his stunning Moules à la Moutarde, but it's there somewhere. In the meantime, turn the page for the recipe.
The date of the school's opening will just about coincide with the Couscous Festival, a two day event that Zadi has been organizing for the last few months and which will take place at the school on October 16th and 17th. Park said that it was purely coincidence that the school is opening 2 days after the festival, but it seems fitting. Maybe Paula Wolfert can break a bottle of arak over the doorway.
Mussels in Mustard Cream Sauce (Moules à la Moutarde)
From: Ecole de Cuisine Pasadena
Serves: 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main dish
2 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded (discard any that are open)
2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon flat leaf parsley, finely minced
1. Melt butter in large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until translucent, 1-2 minutes.
2. Add white wine and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the mussels, cover and cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes, shake the pot often to ensure even cooking. Remove cover, take out opened mussels, and transfer to a platter, discard any unopened mussels.
3. Add heavy cream to same pot; reduce sauce by half over medium-high heat.
4. Turn off heat, add mustard, and stir to completely blend sauce. Put cooked mussels back into pot, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, add parsley and stir.
5. Transfer mussels to serving platter, pour sauce over mussels and serve immediately with baguette bread.