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Restaurant International serves up a unique coffee-inspired culinary experience

By Apartment613 on November 21, 2013



Post by Devan Marr.

What if we told you that you could enjoy specially selected canapés, a Costa Rican-inspired dinner entrée, a guided matching and tasting of 8 exquisite desserts and 4 exceptional coffees, and help South American children obtain access to education?  Well, tonight, you can!

Algonquin College’s Restaurant International will play host to “Discovering the World of Coffee” a dinner event prepared by the Algonquin Culinary Management students. Expect delicious snacks like ceviche, beef carnitas, and chicharrón, a latin style crackling dish.  From personal experience, the food prepared by this group is always delicious. The full menu can be found here.

But this event isn’t all about the food, or the coffee.  It’s about giving back.  Algonquin has partnered with SchoolBox, a Canadian registered charity that seeks to provide children in South America with access to education. With 6 programs ranging from building basic infrastructure to encouraging school attendance through sports, their resume is impressive.  As of October, 2013 they have contributed to the construction of 49 classrooms, the major overhaul of 2 classrooms, 349 international volunteers, the creation of 15 mini libraries, and 13 Soccer Dreams tournaments.  Most impressive of all though is the 63,249 education packages they have delivered to students and teachers.

For those of you who don’t know, many South American countries are a major producer of coffee, so to this former barista it only makes sense to pair Algonquin’s event with this charity.  But rather than speculate on the how and why, I asked David Keindel, a professor from the culinary programs a little bit about the event.

Apt613: Why did you decide to pair up with SchoolBox?

We wanted to emphasize that this is an event focused on education. An opportunity for the participant to explore, experience and appreciate coffee, [increase] awareness of what goes into producing that cup of coffee, and understand the impact that buying a cup of coffee has on the local people producing their morning cup. Schoolbox seemed like a natural cause to support, people building schools and providing educational support in a coffee growing community, and one that was endorsed by our partner, Equator Coffee.

Aside from delicious food and coffee, what sort of experience can be expected from the event?

There will be a display and discussion on home brewing equipment. There will also be 3 key speakers touching on the following subjects;

  • current coffee trends, a global perspective
  • exploring your tasting skills, a personal perspective
  • a look at in country issues, a production/social perspective

In addition, there will be a “kitchen table” skype discussion with producers in Costa Rica

Is there anything in particular your guests should be on the look out for when enjoying the event?  A certain dish, or coffee you think might stand out from the rest?

Guests should be ready to taste how different coffees can be. Growing regions affect the taste of the bean, as do roasting methods. When combining coffee and food, things happen – tastes are muted, emphasized, complimented or just become fun and enjoyable. (I am particularly fond of the Ethiopian flavours.)

Your website is a little vague on the specifics of the food, can you give us a hint about what the “costa rican inspired entree” might be?

The entrée will be a Casado, the “blue plate special” of Costa Rica. This dish, from my experience, is built upon rice and beans (the Costa Rican staples), with some chicken, always fried plantain, a salad of sorts, and anything else found in the kitchen of a Costa Rican “soda” (roadside restaurant).

Discovering the World of Coffee takes place on Thursday November 21, from 5:45 – 9pm. Restaurant International, Algonquin College. Price: $59. Tickets can be purchased here.