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Published September 15, 2010, 12:00 AM

Chef is ‘relished’

Jon Ashton showed Gordon Ramsay the door Tuesday morning. Ashton, the celebrity chef for Relish magazine, was dispensing career advice to culinary arts students at Minnesota State Community and Technical College when culinary arts instructor Kim Brewster playfully placed before him a life-sized cardboard cutout of Ramsay, the notoriously acid-tongued chef.

If you go

  • What: Women’s Showcase, featuring cooking demonstration by Relish celebrity chef Jon Ashton
  • When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16
  • Where: Fargodome
  • Tickets: $10; (701) 241-5419; www.fmwomensshowcase.com

Jon Ashton showed Gordon Ramsay the door Tuesday morning.

Ashton, the celebrity chef for Relish magazine, was dispensing career advice to culinary arts students at Minnesota State Community and Technical College when culinary arts instructor Kim Brewster playfully placed before him a life-sized cardboard cutout of Ramsay, the notoriously acid-tongued chef.

Ashton made a great show of tossing Ramsay’s cardboard likeness into a backroom, much to the delight of the 30 students in the audience.

Ashton’s actions were all in fun, but they also underscored his career philosophy.

“If you treat people poorly, half your staff goes out the back door,” the British-born chef said. “Try your hardest to not be unkind to people. Try to understand people and see where they’re coming from.”

Ashton’s presentation to students was one of several around Fargo-Moorhead on Tuesday. During his MSCTC appearance, he also talked about food-industry trends and enlisted a student helper to demonstrate a shortcake recipe based on his grandmother’s trademark scones.

Ashton, who prefers to be called “Jon” rather than “chef,” encouraged students to be true to their roots and not to get too caught up in the “haughty” side of haute cuisine.

He also asked each student in the class to talk about their career aspirations, then offered opinions and encouragement. He commended a student who wanted to combine an art background with pastry-making, raved about Malaysian cuisine when one student revealed Malaysian roots and praised a young man who said he wanted to run a greasy spoon.

He reminded the students that they would be more apt to succeed if they loved what they were doing.

“I was never meant for TV. That was something I never imagined,” said Ashton, who has appeared on “The Today Show” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” “I just had this passion for food.”

After the presentation, Abigail Passolt, a first-year culinary student, described Ashton’s presentation as “awesome.”

“He’s really down-to-earth,” Passolt said. “I liked his advice about keeping a good attitude in the kitchen and keeping a level head. So often, you’re encouraged to be pretentious in this field, or in any kind of arts.”

Shortcakes with Macerated Berries

3 cups bread or all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar, divided

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

Finely grated rind of 1 orange

1 cup butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup whole milk

1 large egg, beaten

3 cups fresh seasonal berries

3 cups vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt or whipped cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest, whisking to blend. With your fingers, blend butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add cranberries and milk to flour mixture; stir just until dough comes together. Do not overmix.

3. Divide dough in half and shape each into a ball. Pat each into a 6-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Roll to 1-inch thick. Cut each circle into 6 triangles and place on baking sheet. Brush tops of scones with egg. Bake 25-30 minutes, until firm to the touch and golden.

4. Combine berries and remaining 1/4 cup sugar, slightly mashing some of the berries to release their juice. Let stand 30 minutes. Split scones and serve with berries and ice cream. Serves 12.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525

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