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The Man Who Made Sticks Glow

Glowing Sorbetina Star
Going through pictures and organizing them onto a backup hard drive I ran across this picture from a few years ago.  I cooked a dinner for a rather famous alumni of the college who had spent a lifetime studying, and developing applications for bioluminescence. Shamefully I can't remember his name even though they named a building after him on campus.  A building, mind you, that I walk by every day...ah the vagaries of memory.  Anyway,  his main contribution to humanity (among other less flashy contributions) was the glow stick. Beloved by campers, spelunkers and ravers the world over, the little device that glows when you snap it was the brainchild of a scientist graduate from West Michigan.  

When word came down that he was retiring and would be in town for a brief visit to the biology/chemistry department housed in the building with his name on it the powers that be decided that they should give him a proper send off and an honorary degree to boot. The dinner was an intimate affair numbering only the man;s family and various college luminaries - about 50 people. In honor of his achievement I decided that I would serve the dessert course of raspberry sorbet in stars made of ice illuminated by...you guessed it...glow sticks. Truth be told, this idea wasn't totally mine, I stole some of it from the chef who was head of the pastry department at the Chicago French Culinary School. But I added a few things to it. Even so, I always try to give credit even if it is partial.

At the end of the meal, the lights were turned out in the dining room and 25 servers marched out and simultaneously placed the glowing stars of ice in front of the diners two at a time. FYI - the act of serving a course with simultaneous precision like this is called Russian Service. So...applause all around, kudos and all of that. The guest of honor was thrilled and we were thrilled also to give him a happy memory.

Coming across this picture gave me a little jolt of joy. As I wind down my time in the kitchen and do more of my cooking through other cook's hands, I pass the catering mantle on to my sous, I look forward to him having moments like this to cherish from his own career. Its a pretty thought, that.