Back in August, we had the truly exciting opportunity to place a reservation for the dinner buffet at Ernest's. Ernest's is a dining room located within NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) where Hospitality and Culinary Students get to flex their culinary skills. We jumped at the chance when we found out they were offering the Dinner Student Showcase Buffet on Friday evenings until December 13, 2012 for around $25 (tax & tip included in calculations) . We managed to book a Friday evening at the end of October.
Ernest's is a unique dining experience as everyone working and serving is a culinary student. Each culinary student is placed in charge of a certain portion of the buffet - be it a hot dish, appetizer, cold dish, or dessert.
Upon arrival, our party of 6 couldn't help but take a look a careful look around at the delicious spread of food. There was a table filled with assorted breads and cheese, cold appetizers, salads, hot plates, and entire prime-rib under a heat lamp, and a mighty spread of desserts. Best of all, there was a culinary student frying risotto balls on demand. Take a look at the variety of food we had that night.
|Clockwise : a sprout salad, beet salad with mushrooms,|
triangular cold apps: terrine in red & green, potato cake with mango chutney,
combo of sausage and egg and a slice of bread.
Savoury tart with Camembert in the centre.
|This must be Dan's plate as it has braised beets!|
|more food: risotto ball in centre, crab leg, prime rib and a smoked salmon app.|
As can be seen, the offerings for mains that night were quite varied. Regardless, it was evident that time and planning was spent on each dish. Admittedly, some dishes were more thought out then others. As beautiful and well seasoned a dish the crab was, many of us could not get to the meat of it. The prime rib was well seasoned and when sliced was perfectly medium-rare. Certainly, the hit of the night was the fried arancini stuffed with taleggio cheese. These were made right in front of you and as such super fresh!
|Fresh Arancini balls being placed into a pot of|
boiling oil - which acts like a small deep fryer.
|Once the arancini balls are finished their time in the fryer, they are coated|
with a squirt of two or lemon juice. That way the porcini & sage oil that is
tossed on next will keep the arancini balls tasting fresh.
|The finished arancini stuffed with taleggio cheese|
The dessert portion of the night.
|Passion fruit tarts topped with assorted fruits|
and almond tart topped with a gooseberry.
|Mini raspberry Marshmallow cones|
|freshly baked chocolate croissants|
|Freshly made banana fosters with an edible cup.|
|Pate de Fruit and assorted chocolates! White chocolate mojito|
filled truffles, Raspberry infused dark chocolates and more!
|close-ups of more delicious chocolates|
|Passion fruit and chocolate ganache shooter cup.|
Needless to say, as the pictures have done all the talking, the desserts were delectable! My favourites were the passion fruit tart and the chocolate croissant. Though, it would have been nice if the croissant was slightly smaller so we could eat more of the desserts!
I highly recommend taking some time to dine at Ernest's. You get a great value for the price and you're supporting the Culinary Arts at NAIT! Who knows where these culinary students may end up! Your meal may cooked by a future up and coming chef.
When we were last dining at Ernest's for this meal, they had noted that there were a few tables left for their buffets until December 13. After December 13, they will be serving their a la carte menu for both lunch and dinner. However, do not fret if you were hoping to try out the buffet! There will be an opportunity again in the New Year! Look out for updates and details on their website! Checking regularly will definitely pay off!
Ernest's Dining Room