Galveston College will offer a very different kind of French lesson Oct. 14, presenting a menu with a French accent as part of its major fundraising event, “Cabaret Au Lapin Agile-Paris” on the college’s campus.

“We were thinking about doing a cabaret-style event, and there it was, an actual cabaret in Montmartre, the Lapin Agile,” Galveston College development director Maria Tripovich explained. “On their sign, the agile rabbit is standing in a saucepan holding a bottle of wine, and he’s either going to drink the wine or be cooked in the wine, depending on how agile he really is.”

The cabaret evening will kick off the capital campaign for a new Nursing and Health Sciences building, a facility that will have a culinary component of its own. “There will be more of a fusion of culinary and nutrition sciences,” Culinary Arts Program director Paul Mendoza said. “The majority of the population now eats more than 50% of their meals away from home, so it’s up to us in the food service profession to make good, nutritious food that still tastes good.”

Mendoza’s culinary students play a big role in the event, plating and serving an elegant menu designed and prepared by Shearn’s Restaurant chef de cuisine Cedric Geddes, executive chef Felipe Gonzales and pastry chef Bethany Boedicker. “Shearn’s and Moody Gardens are making a fabulous gift to the college by donating all the food, alcohol and staffing, except for the Galveston College students, for the event,” Tripovich said. “We’re very grateful for their support.”

The relationship between Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center and Galveston College is a long-standing one, with the hotel hiring many students and graduates of the Culinary Arts program. “The students from Galveston College are very well trained, and it’s a pleasure to bring them in to work here,” Richard Ternstrom, Moody Gardens director of food and beverage service, said.

Ternstrom also devised the signature drink for the cabaret evening. “It’s a little twist on the classic French 75, adding a little St. Germain to the gin and Champagne,” he explained.

The French influence continues throughout the dinner, which begins with Parisian-style appetizers such as prime beef tartare and crab soufflé. The main course features a petit filet topped with seared foie gras, accompanied by potato mille-fueille, thin leaves of potato held together by cream.

A dessert trio of chocolate beignets, flourless chocolate cake and vanilla pot de crème keeps the French theme moving toward the grand finale of Café Chanson, a performance by Houston’s Music Box Theater.

The evening is a tribute to the late George Frederick Black, who served as a Galveston College regent from 2004 until his death earlier this year. “George loved last year’s gala, and we’re dedicating this one in remembrance and in honor of his service,” Tripovich said. “He was a strong advocate for facilities, and, after student housing, the nursing and science building was a high priority.”

A limited number of tickets to “Cabaret Au Lapin Agile-Paris” are available at (409) 944-1303 or 944-1306.

Bernice Torregrossa: bernice92@aol.com.

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