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The beginning of the long Winter Term included a college visit, though not the kind our seniors have been making now for months. One cannot talk about food and cooking without knowing where it all starts, hence our tour of this campus highlighting the Culinary Arts.

We all had a great time learning about the details of culinary school. I was excited to visit Johnson and Wales in particular because many of the chefs at the restaurant I work at in the summer are currently attending or have graduated from culinary school there. 

For as much of a food fanatic as I am, I wouldn’t consider myself to be the best chef out there. Visiting a school where they start their students from scratch (no pun intended) and begin by teaching them the fundamentals of the Culinary Arts is inspiring and makes me feel much better that the best meal I can make is mac ‘n cheese. Students like myself, with little cooking skills, could attend school there and become a chef without any prior knowledge. My favorite part of the day was watching the different classes learn recipes in the main culinary learning building. I was very impressed with the complex as a whole, but especially how real they made the classrooms and other learning spaces feel. Rooms such as the bar setting for mixing class and the large dining spaces overlooking the water made it feel as though we were at a hotel. This provides the culinary students with real life experience to enhance their learning outside the classroom. 

In addition to learning how to cook and bake, I appreciated the fact that students also have to learn management/ public skills and how to run the front of the house as well as the kitchen. This makes for a well-rounded chef who can see the bigger picture of the restaurant, not just the dish they’re making.  The delicious pizza was a perfect way to wrap up the day and try food made by the students themselves. –Justine DelMastro ‘1

  • Chefs in training
  • Cake Decorating
  • Classroom
  • Mixology
  • Brewery Lab

Recently the Culinary Club traveled to Johnson and Wales University to tour the campus and witness various culinary classes that take place within the school. Ever since I was younger, Food Network was a channel that was always on my television. The competitive cooking battles, along with the at home cooking shows, were very therapeutic to me. When we recently traveled to Johnson and Wales, I got to witness the beginning that most of the chefs on Food Network had experienced. Not only did a delicious aroma fill the hallways and cause my mouth to water from the start of the tour to the end, but also I was amazed at the work that the students were able to produce. I felt as if I was on the Food Network channel, watching as the chefs prepared their meals. It was insane to see how food can be transformed into art and how delicate and beautiful it can be made. While touring one of the floors within the culinary building at the university, we came across a display of sculptures crafted completely from sugar. When watching the Food Network channel, specifically Cake Wars, their sugar creations seem surreal and impossible to construct. Therefore, when I saw what college students were able to produce, I was completely astonished.

            Usually when the average high school student imagines college they picture lecture halls filled with hundreds of students. However, Johnson and Wales showed another side of education. The hands-on activities, especially the room where students were practicing their bartending skills, made learning seem fun. After this experience, a part of me wanted to change my major.—Maddie Burt ‘19

A trip to Johnson and Wales University was the perfect way to return from Thanksgiving break and jump into Winter Term. The school is filled with attractive and modern facilities and has “labs” for all types of food processes and prep. Some of the most eye-catching labs to look in on were mixology, protein carving, and a class where students had to mold sugar and chocolate into intricate and creative designs. One of the most notable things about the school is that no kitchen experienced is required to get into the school – all chefs start from square one. Then they even help chefs get footing in the culinary world by aiding them in landing competitive internships. After touring around the campus and ending in their gym students can use as they please, it was time for the long-awaited lunch. Every new hall in the tour had a new smell ranging from cooking steak to baked bread, so this food was definitely needed. The group went to a restaurant called “Red Sauce” where students of the school cook all the food. It served Italian-based cuisine. The Caprese sandwich, filled with some of the most light and fresh tomatoes and mozzarella slices was top notch. Overall, it’s a university that seems to have a tight-knit and supportive community that can inspire any chef to reach above and beyond their potential. —Abby Gibbons ‘19

  • Chocolate Sculpture
  • Bread Floor
  • Juistine, Johnathan, Danny, Sarah, India
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Students were rapt as Chef Manzo humorously and candidly discussed his philosophy of making pizza and doing business. He, along with his wife and partner Christine, enthusiastically answered questions, their obvious passion–and lots of hard work–explaining their success. Federal Hill Pizza is located both in Warren and Providence.

Billy & Christine

An Abbey student encounters pizza very frequently—both the hardly biteable ones served at Stillman or the greasy ones delivered by North End Pizzeria. These pizzas epitomize the fast-paced spirit that dominates our student life. Pick up a pizza, devour the cheese,meat, and grease on it, and proceed to the next event. 

But are we missing out the beauty of pizza delicately created by the balance of proper ingredients and the process of cooking itself? Certainly at the Abbey, but not at Federal HillPizza. Last Sunday, our trip to the Federal Hill Pizzeria gave me a little insight into the beauty of pizza. Expecting a simple grab-and-go pizza trip, I was surprised and amazed by the incredible reception and lecture from Chef Billy. 

Chef Billy began with a long talk about his personal experience and the business side of the pizza business,reiterating his philosophy of creating a different mode of pizza business that differs from Domino’s almost assembly-line-like mode. Instead of optimizing hisprofit, he wanted to make the best pizza with the best ingredients. He also talked about the process of cooking itself, explaining the nuances of ingredients and cooking appliances. 

The most exciting part—eating—came after these cool experiences. The freshly-baked Margherita Pizza truly embodied Chef Billy’s cooking philosophy, harmoniously combining some of the best cheese and flour. The savor of Caesar Salad, pasta, and the dessert was also simply beyond the power of my description. 

Sitting on the bus on the way back to our lovely Cory’s Lane, I realized that the trip was not only about tasting the food but also about learning about the philosophy of cooking and appreciating its beauty. The trip offered me a new perspective of pizza, an often oversimplified and underrated food. – David Sun ‘19

  • Billy

Pizzas out of the thousands-dollar Neapolitan brick oven are something else. Unlike that of worldwide chain pizzerias, a bite off a slice of pizza from Federal Hill Pizza is nothing of greasy pepperoni, dense bread, and cheese that taste like plastic. And a note-taking moment from Chef Billy: Federal Hill Pizza uses authentic and original pork pepperoni, instead of beef ones that just make the pizza overall oily. From the buttery and fluffy bread to milky cheese, those pizzas taste fulfilling, but by no means heavy. The most surprising taste experienced was a watery sensation, accomplishing the rich but light texture of the pizzas. 

One cannot help but wonder who the chef behind the juicy deliciousness is. Chef Billy from Federal Hill Pizza is a true character. When asked about his vision for the restaurant, he confirmed his hope for expanding, but also stating the belief that the most important thing for any restaurant is quality. In the midst of the rapid development of the food industry, he firmly holds on to his identity and stays true to who he is. His charismatic confidence and humor will brand his restaurant and educate more eaters, as he wishes.–Evelyn Long ‘19

Chef William Manzo Jr. not only serves up some of the best pizza in Rhode Island, he does so with such charisma and enthusiasm. Hidden behind a seemingly small and innocent pizza shop lies a great hidden gem of Providence. After passing behind the counter,one finds themselves in a whole new restaurant, dark and dimly lit, with an air of romance in the decoration. From the red brick walls to the hanging light bulbs,the interior design evokes a sense of romance which can only be truly describedby the man at the centre of it all: Chef Billy. Even after 30 seconds of hearing him speak, it is evident the clear passion he has for his craft and thelocation which means so much to his own upbringing. He details the lengths he has gone to in order to obtain the most natural ingredients, which leads into the amazing taste of his final products.

The simple Margherita pizza Chef Billy presented had a certain je ne se quoi which differentiates it from others. Perhaps it was the special cheese with butter fat which gave it that extra flavor, or the impressively grand brick oven imported from Italy that made the bread just right, but the compilation of many different factors made the simple dish perfect. It was clear that in making such a basic dish,Chef Billy has dissected every small detail of the process to ensure the best quality. From water pH levels to atmospheric humidity, no factor was considered too small in serving the best dish to his customers.

Overall, Chef Billy has created a truly special dining experience, integrating his attention to detail with traditional Italian flavors, forming remarkable dishes.– Jonathan Susilo‘19

  • Sponsorship

Upon taking the first step inside Federal Hill Pizza, the smell of brick ovens and cooking pizza dough danced around the room,adding to the both endearing and highly professional atmosphere of the restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island. Chef Billy Manzo, a man with one of the widest varieties of past employment imaginable, found a love for making real pizza, and it shows. His process of gathering ingredients alone, before even attempting to make the pizza, is noteworthy. He researches what ingredients will be the best, from what region of the world and for what pizza. One of, if not the most important factor in pizza is the care that is put in to making its foundations the best quality itcan be. Then, of course, the magnificent brick ovens from Italy cannot be ignored. Every detail is accounted for—the way the bricks were put into the oven, the type of wood used for the fire, and the temperature the dough should be before going into the oven.

            After learning about the intense science, business and art behind pizza, an aromatic smell wafted through the air signaling it was finally time to eat. The star of the day, the Neapolitan pizza. Dressed with cheese that had a slightly savory butter fat and an astounding red sauce on a perfectly cooked dough, each bitewas met with utter harmony. The cheese instantly melted into the amazing gooey texture cheese should be. Combined with the sauce and the crust with a slight crisp to it, it was clear the precise care that was put in to creating that pizza. That pizza tasted as pizza should. And, even with a full belly, it would be impossible or extremely regrettable to turn down the Nutella and fried dough balls. The chocolate spread melted onto the warm fried dough, making it soft but still maintaining a crispy bite. They are dangerously addictive. It’s an experience filled with enticing smells, friendly company, wonderful presentation and, of course, some of the best food any one person could ever indulge in. –Abby Gibbons ‘19

For most Americans, pizza evokes thoughts of quick delivery and greasy cardboard boxes, but at Federal Hill Pizza, one Rhode Island chefs aims to make a change. If only one word could be used to summarize Chef Billy Manzo’s philosophy of pizza, it would be “quality.” This dedication to quality starts first with the ingredients, which Manzo explained needed tobe not only excellent, but more importantly, consistently excellent. Next, the methods must be equally consistent. In developing his “flavor profile,” Manzo said that every conceivable variable, including the composition of the atmosphere, the pH of the water, and even the temperature of the dough before it goes into the oven must be taken into account to avoid huge differences in the final product. Although Manzo’s high-quality equipment, including ovens especially imported from Italy and wood that’s hand-selected from New England trees, comes with a much higher up-front cost, the businessman-turned-chef explained that in the long run, such investments actually saved money as they lasted longer with lower maintenance costs in addition to making better pizza.

            Although some might call Manzo’s attention to detail “obsessive,” the results of his commitment to quality became quickly apparent with the first bite. The first flavor to make itself known was the dough, so often an afterthought in fast food pizza. The wonderful taste and consistency of the warm pizza dough immediately concretized everything that the chef had said, from the Italian double-zero flour to each painstakingly controlled environmental variable,creating a rich and wonderful flavor independent of the toppings. We sampled two different variants of Federal Hill’s signature Neapolitan pizza, one made with shredded cheese, and the second featuring what Manzo describe as “real cheese,” containing over 18% butterfat. Just as the pizza dough had taken on a whole new dimension, so this contrast showed the same phenomena for the cheese,elevating it to a hitherto unknown richness of flavor. Atop this foundation,the fresh toppings provided just the right amount of refined and detailed flavoring in perfect combination. Through his remarkable focus on quality, Chef Billy Manzo not only turns pizza-making into an exact science, but also a fine art. – David Sozanski ‘19

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Culinary Arts Club by Abbeyculinaryarts - 8M ago

It was another lovely evening spent eating like royalty. There on the banks of the pond at Schartner Farms, Portsmouth Abbey students kept company with many of the best chefs in Rhode Island, happily sampling their dishes and washing them down with Granny Squibbs Iced Tea–and they were thrilled to be treated to the drink by an Abbey alumna, Kelly McShane ’05!

Group Shot

It would be nearly impossible for me to pick a favorite dish from the Chefs Collaborative.Starting out with everyone slurping down an oyster seemed to be fitting for the event–trying out something together before embarking on our own personal food journeys. My food journey consisted of trying lots of things and finding three to four items that were mind-blowingly delicious. I actually had to look up a couple of words, which I love, because I wind up learning more about different foods.I looked up what Vermont Chevron, hubbard squash and chochoyote were. At first I thought that last one might have been a typo or something, but it is actually a small ball of corn dough, like a dumpling. The hubbard squashes looked very much like a cross between a melon and a squash, and a Vermont Chevron is a type of goat.

My favorite desserts were actually some of the first items I tried. One of them was the winter squash financier. There actually seemed to be a lot of dishes featuring squash, probably because the festival was focused on the fall harvest, which I enjoyed very much since I love squash. The winter squash financier   had some very subtle spices that gave it some warmth which was complemented well by the tangy, but sweet, cranberry and the crunchy pumpkin seeds on top. Then there was also a melon and sunflower seed macaron that was easily one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. In the past, I haven’t been much on a fan of macarons because of their chewy texture,but with these macarons, it fit well with the crunchy sunflower seeds. The macaron was sweet and fruity because of the melon, but had a little bit of a crunch and salty flavor from the sunflower seeds, which made them so tasty!!!

Lastly, I’ve always been a fan of croissants, so when I saw that there was a croissant sandwich, I was so excited. There were so many flavors and textures that all blended together so well. When I took a bite of it, I was surprised to taste warm spices along with a couple of other different flavors. Come to find out, there was a pumpkin butter on the sandwich that worked so well with the turkey breast and the crisp and refreshing celery root and apple salad. 

All in all, I was really excited to come to the Chef’s Collaborative, so it was really impressive that I got more excited after I started trying all the unique foods. My expectations were high to begin with, but this certainly surpassed them. I can’t wait to see what else we do during the school year for culinary arts club!—Sarah Costa ‘19

  • Tatum
  • The crew
  • Whole Roasted Vermont Chevron
  • Pork-fat chili Buttermilk biscuits

This past weekend Culinary Club traveled to Schartner’s Farm in Exeter, Rhode Island. They were hosting “The Chefs Collaborative” where various food and restaurant businesses came together o share their food, and drinks, with a vast group of people. The environment welcomed people from various backgrounds. I enjoyed how so many different people came together at Schartner’s Farm all due to their love for food. This experience allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and try multiple food combinations that I would have never thought I would enjoy. My personal favorite was the Chez Pascal, a croissant sandwich consisting of pastured turkey breast, pumpkin butter, and celery root and apple salad. I finished the entire sandwich and even found myself licking the remaining remnants off my fingers. The Chez Pascal was the weirdest sandwich I had ever eaten, and yet it was one of the best I have ever had. This trip to Schartner’s Farm taught me to try new things, because surprisingly you end up liking most of the things you never believed you would. –Madison Burt ‘18

  • Maddie & Tatum
  • Tallulah’s Taqueria: whole roasted Vermont Chevron
  • Nick’s on Broadway: smoked blackbird beef, buttermilk biscuits, chili vinaigrette

As soon as we passed the topiary arch, the energy of the event was evident. From the families playing field sports on the left to observers of the live band of the right, everyone seemed to be enjoying their time and at the centre of it all was the food. Set in the beautiful landscape of Schartner Farms, the Chef’s Collaborative was the opening event for the 2018-2019 Culinary Arts Club.Restaurants and chefs from all over Rhode Island gathered for this event, each offering an amazing dish. Every stand seemed to imbue their dishes own distinct taste and flavor: from classic to contemporary, everything at the event was meticulously prepared.

The event started with the initiating dish: the oyster. Greeting us at the entrance were two buckets teeming with raw oysters, the natural first dish people gravitated towards. Being an oyster lover myself, I found myself coming back for ‘just one more oyster’ several times throughout the night. Another standout was Durk’s BBQ Blackbird farm beef with smoked maitakes and onion top chimichurri over mashed potatoes. The charon the beef seemed to perfectly contrast the juicy inside and the classically done smooth mashed potatoes accompanied the meats perfectly. The maitakes also offered an extra texture the the overall dish and it was highly commendable how chef Jake Rojas was able to incorporate the mushroom into the dish so well.

Overall,the event seemed to foster an amazing sense of community over a shared love of food. From families, friends to even a bus full of school kids, the Chefs Collaborative created a truly special dining experience. –Jonathon  Susilo ‘18

  • Mrs. Bonin & Mr. Calisto
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