Johnson & Wales University - Providence, Rhode Island

The book A1 Diner was celebrated at a special event at the Culinary Archives and Museum on October 1 at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. The event was a day of food and discussion, and a crowd of diner fans learned about the A1 and shared their own memories of diners past and present. Sarah gave two information presentations about the book, and Richard Gutman, a leading authority on diners and the director of the museum, answered questions about diner history and architecture.

Chef Frank Terranova of the university’s culinary team prepared a recipe from Sarah’s book to share with attendees. Chef Terranova chose to make the Salmon Loaf with Egg Sauce, a traditional New England dish which has been given a slight twist in the A1 kitchen with the use of fresh rye bread crumbs (rather than the white bread crumbs called for in the traditional recipe). That additional flavor element pairs wonderfully with the dill in the recipe, and gives the salmon loaf its own special personality.

Chef Terranova spoke to the group about the recipe, pointing out that one of the things that makes it delicious is the use of fresh salmon. A dedicated professional, Frank told us that he got up at 6am that morning to poach the salmon! To make sure there was enough for the crowd, he tripled the recipe. There was plenty of salmon loaf for the group, but somehow it all managed to disappear by the end of the event. Those of us who are interested in home cooking appreciated Chef Terranova’s comments on the fine points of the recipe, contrasting its traditional preparation with current approaches to similar dishes. For example, he mentioned that today’s chefs would be much more likely to create a cream sauce by reducing the cream rather than with the traditional roux, as called for in our traditional salmon loaf.

Sarah Rolph and Richard Gutman

Sarah Rolph (behind the counter) and Richard Gutman at the Johnson & Wales event on October 1, which took place in this area of the Culinary Archive that looks like a diner. Here, Richard is holding a precious artifact that he surprised Sarah with: a newspaper advertisement from the early 1940s for Heald’s diner (forbear of the A1).

Many thanks to Chef Terranova for his contributions, and to Richard Gutman, museum curator, and Heather McDonald, museum outreach coordinator, for a wonderful event.