On a bright Wednesday morning during our first week of Fine Dining, Chef Ryan laid out all of the bounty from the farmer's market. Our regular field trip had brought candy-sweet sungold tomatoes, bursting fragile blueberries, and enough sweet basil to make the entire kitchen perfume with Italy's essence.
On the cob.
4 ears: 2 Yellow, 1 Red, 1 Purple
We divvied up the tomatoes, microgreens, and tropea onions. We left the popcorn behind.
We readied our stations with compliated buerre blanc, fragile hollandaise, and intricate pork belly confit. And there the popcorn went, untouched.
That turned into weeks...
"Someone should do something with this" Chef Ryan would say every so often, eyeing the lonely cobs sitting on the cold, stainless steel table. The comment was often aimed at the prep cooks who were in charge of feeding the kitchen with family meal.
I'd like to say I stepped up to the challenge. I'd like to say that when my shift came to make family meal, I wholeheartedly grabbed those popcorn cobs and made an incredible batch of rosemary garlic crunchy goodness.
But no. I cowered away and hid behind a braised chicken, mashed potatoes, and cucumber salad.
We all did.
All 20 of my fellow chefs-in-training ignored that popcorn like we ignored the over-churned ice cream in the back of the freezer: tuck it out of brains and hope no one mentions it again.
Over 6 weeks, we took our turns at perfectly-seared scallops, heavenly lemon verbana panna cotta, and tender hand-molded burrata. But none of us asked Chef Ryan for help with the popcorn. It terrified us. How could something so seemingly simple be so daunting?
No more. Let this serve as homage to Chef Peggy Ryan at Kendall College. And serve as a reminder to just ask for help...
Watch my Cooking Video
See how easy it is to cook popcorn, either on the cob or off
All you need is a microwave and a paper bag
Join me at Chicago's Green City Farmer's Market where Nichols' Farm has plenty of healthy popcorn ears
About the Author:
Chef Katie Simmons
Katie is a Personal Chef based in Chicago. She specializes in creating delicious, healthy recipes for those with special dietary concerns like gluten-free, oil-free, plant-based, and low-residue. Outside of the kitchen, she is a Fitness Instructor for Equinox, with over 13 years experience in the fitness industry, and a blogger for Kuli Kuli Foods. For fun, she loves to travel. Some of her favorite trips include 4 days on the Incan Trail in Peru, 10 days of hiking in the Patagonia of Argentina and Chile, and exploring the pretzels and vineyards of Germany