Vamos! Festival 2015 – Chocolate Noche at The Chefs’ Academy
Following on from our visit to The Toffee Factory and the excellent Ouseburn Fiesta, the Canny Food family were invited along for an evening of dining at Newcastle College. The Chefs’ Academy is open Tuesday – Friday for lunch, and on a Wednesday and Thursday evening for dinner. Dave Simpson, formerly of Fisherman’s Lodge, oversees the front of house side of things, and the students are given the opportunity to gets hands on experience in a fine dining environment.
The Beauty students were tasked with creating some striking looks for models, who welcomed us to the venue. We were given a cocktail and invited to sit communally for our meal. The sun was shining and the view from the building over to Gateshead was impressive. My cake buddy Laura was also in attendance, so we sat together. Hexham based Little Mexico worked with the students to create the menu, which had a chocolate theme. If you’ve ever wondered what chocolate covered chicken breast would be like, read on!
The starter was served on sharing platters and consisted of Chilli Chocolate Pork Skewers, Black Bean Cakes, Gazpacho, Chocolate BBQ Sauce and Avocado Salsa. Mr. Canny swears there were no black beans in the fritters, which is probably why I liked them! I’m not a fan of any bean, but they were surprisingly tasty to me. Jnr definitely wasn’t a fan of the BBQ sauce, which had the table divided. I think the premise of ‘less is more’ certainly applied to its usage. The skewers were delicious, and we squabbled over who got an extra helping!Main course was Cacao Nib and Fennel Encrusted Chicken with Cactus and Corn Salad. The chicken was moist, and the cacao was not as overpowering as we feared. The roasted fennel seeds gave a warm licorice flavour, which made it more savoury. My favourite part were the cactus and corn, which tasted lovely and fresh against the chicken.We were treated to a performance by Eddie Vega, who got everyone singing along to La Bamba. Once his set was finished the star of the menu was presented to us – The Chilli Chocolate Tarte with Lime and Tequila Granita. The crushed up honeycomb on the plate added to the mix. The tarte could have been sickly, but it was silky and delicious. The chilli wasn’t overpowering either, it just added a warmth. I was so full I had to leave some, which made me sad. In the car on the way home I regretted not taking a doggy bag with me! The refreshing granita also cut through the sweetness, although I ate mine separately to the tarte.
We were impressed by our first visit to the Academy and plan on returning. The food, ambiance and service were all good, and it’s worth noting that the Chefs’ Academy work alongside some of the top restaurants in the NE for special evening events. Follow their Twitter for more information about the services offered at the Lifestyle Academy.
Thanks for reading,
Thanks for the organisers for kindly inviting us along and providing free tickets for this event.
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