Texas peaches will soon disappear from the Hill Country roadside stands, removing star performers on local restaurant menus such as Peach Melba. Named after an Australian opera singer, Peach Melba was the invention of Auguste Escoffier, a nineteenth century entrepreneur who introduced the ice cream and peach dessert to the Paris Ritz. Demonstrating his creative culinary imagination, he convinced farmers in the Rhone Valley to grow thin-stalked, green asparagus for the British who paled at the white, stocky asparagus on the Continent.
Escoffier’s innovative spirit was evident this week at the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Austin where a new Agricultural Learning Center drew the attention of Austin’s food community. Making the connection between food preparation and food production, the school’s new farm-to-table venture will launch culinary students out from the kitchen and into the garden as they learn how to connect what’s in the ground to what’s on their plates. The school is part of a larger movement in food education to connect growing food to making and eating food. Auguste would be delighted, as will be the employers of the new Escoffier graduates. To learn more about the school’s new project, visit http://www.escoffier.edu/.