Innovative take on the classic Caesar salad

Hospitality House Culinary Team adds subtle spiciness to a traditional dish

Hospitality House Kale StartWinter is upon us here in the foothills of Northern California and for most of us our gardens are lying fallow, awaiting the first inkling of spring. But hardy greens, like lacinato kale, can stand up to the cold. And that’s why Hospitality House Kitchen Manager Jeff Olson is making a kale caesar salad for 400 at this year’s Night of Giving. “We grow a garden outside the shelter and our culinary students use a variety of produce and herbs in the summer to make in-season, cost-effective meals for our guests,” explained Olson.
Last year the garden at Utah’s Place was overflowing with kale and Olson was gearing up for Hospitality House’s biggest event of the year. His culinary team was responsible for a full dinner buffet for more than 400 people. So Jeff dreamed up an innovate take on the classic Caesar: Sriracha Kale Caesar Salad. The subtle spiciness mixed with the creamy dressing provides the perfect foil for the hearty greens.
“It is quite ironic that although I am not a huge fan of kale, this has proved to be a great winter dish for a buffet. The greens look festive, the ingredients are easily sourced and it is accessible even for those that don’t normally like kale,” said Olson.
The three current culinary students will prepare the Sriracha Kale Caesar Salad, Chicken Madeira, Medley of Mushroom Baked Rigatoni and a Red Rice Quinoa salad at the Night of Giving at the Miner’s Foundry on Saturday, December 16. Taste-test the kale salad on the buffet between 6 and 8 p.m. It makes a long day for the students but provides valuable catering and food service experience as well as a delicious dinner for the musicians and Night of Giving attendees.
Olson started the culinary job training program over two years ago and incorporates farm-to-fork menus into his classes. For instance, grilled zucchini hits the lesson plan when home garden donations are at an all-time high. The six-week program covers food safety, nutrition, fundamentals of cooking in the modern kitchen, as well as moist and dry heat cooking techniques, knife-work, recipe, basic mise en place, including basic sauce-making, the six functions of baking, soups, cooking and flipping eggs, pizza and pie making as well as menu planning. Sixty-five students enrolled in the program in the last two years and 67% of graduates have moved into their own housing, are employed or both.
The seed money grant for the culinary job training program expired in October, so if you would like to sponsor a culinary job training session, call 615-0852.
To enjoy this seasonal Sriracha Kale Caesar Salad specialty while listening to over 30 musical groups, join us at the Night of Giving on Saturday, December 16. More info at

Kale Caesar Salad and Sriracha Caesar DressingKale Caesar Salad and Sriracha Caesar Dressing

Yield: 4 Dinner size bowls

Yield: 4 Dinner size bowls

Salad Ingredients

Kale, Lacinato, chopped into 1”x 1vine” squares, 24oz

Croutons, ¾” cubed

Half a baguette 2 oz

Parmesan, freshly shredded

½ Lemon Crown

Dressing Ingredients

6oz. Commercial Mayonnaise

2oz. Anchovy Fillets, minced

1 Tablespoon Mild Mustard

2 Garlic Cloves,  mashed to a paste

2 Tablespoons  Worcestershire

2 Tablespoons Red wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon Juice of a Meyer lemon

2 Tablespoons Parmesan,  crumbled

1 Tablespoon Sriracha Pepper Sauce

Salt and  pepper to taste

2oz. Extra Virgin Olive Oil


In a mixing bowl, combine first ten ingredients and whisk together.Gradually incorporate olive oil in a thin stream,  whisking oil in gradually. Dressing should be light pink/yellow in color. You may choose to add more or less Sriracha to preference. Wrap in a food safe container and refrigerate for up to seven days.