Behind the Scenes on The Block

The Glencliff High School students walked into Moto’s kitchen at 9:30 AM Wednesday morning bright eyed and full of wonder. Sporting their personalized M Street chef coats and hats, the students greeted Moto’s Chef Luke and Chef Marisa to begin their day of culinary education. These three students are part of the ProStart Culinary program, which gives high school students the opportunity to learn about cooking through first-hand restaurant instruction. They also happen to be the reigning regional ProStart culinary champions for the state of Tennessee.    

After learning a little bit about pasta making in Moto’s kitchen, the students participated in a “Chopped” challenge. They had to create their own version of Moto’s Spinach Pappardelle. Whosever’s pasta was chosen by the judges (Chef Marisa, Chef Luke, and Eric, Director of Operations) would have their dish featured as a special that night on Moto’s menu. As the students began crafting their pastas, Chef Marisa taught them how to flambé. Throughout the challenge, Chef Marisa motivated the students to push their creative boundaries, imparting phrases like “be confident in your cooking.”

The students put their finishing touches on their pasta dishes and the judges took their seats in Moto’s dining room. Eric, the Director of Operations, explained how tastings work at the M Street restaurants when chefs want to add new items to the menu. The judges encouraged the students to illustrate the flavors and ingredients in their meals when they presented their pasta. It was a tough decision, but the judges selected the winning pasta.

The students sure worked up an appetite after an eventful morning in Moto’s kitchen. Eric and Gregg, M Street Directors of Operations, took the three students to Saint Anejo for lunch. The chips and guacamole appetizer sure hit the spot.

 Once the students were stuffed full of Saint Anejo chips, dips, tacos, and more, they made their way over to Kayne Prime’s kitchen to learn from Chef Robert Grace. “Has anyone heard of Kobe beef?” Chef asked as the students gathered round the kitchen. Chef pulled out a piece of paper from a laminated pouch and held it up facing the students. He explained that each time Kayne Prime receives Kobe beef, they are presented with a certificate with information about the cow including a stamp of his nose and lineage up to his great grandparents.

Chef directed the students over to a hot water bath with floating ping pong balls on top. The students were filled with curiosity and excitement as Chef began to explain the method of Sous Vide. He went through each step of the Sous Vide process, explaining that it is a French cooking technique that cooks meat evenly.

Perhaps the best part of the day was when the students got to make cotton candy. Used for Kayne Prime's Housemade Bacon appetizer, each student swirled their stick around the cotton candy machine in excitement.

The energy from the ProStart high school students was contagious. They were so eager to learn from M Street's chefs and were so grateful to be in our kitchens. After all, they will be the next generation of innovative chefs!