Restaurant 108 Top Chef: Cassiann Foster


Senior Cassiann Foster competed in the third installment of Top Chef with a menu she called Little Italy.

Fierce competitor sophomore Cassiann Foster threw her oven mitt into the annual Top Chef gauntlet on Tuesday, May 1 at Restaurant 108. Foster, having two years of restaurant experience under her apron’s belt, previously participated in Top Chef competitions by helping competitors in their quest for kitchen glory.

We walked through the ordinary-looking classroom door of Restaurant 108 and were surprised to find such a professional looking restaurant setup. The tables were beautifully set with flower arrangements and placemats, and we were immediately greeted by the chef herself, and led to our table.

Not sure what to expect, our waitress quickly came to our service and set down the menus created by Foster herself. Even upon first glance, the amount of hardwork and thought that went into her culinary choices was clear.

Titled “Little Italy,” Foster did provide the customers with a meal that was truly representative of Italian cuisine. She designed a three-course menu: caprese salad or focaccia as appetizers; spaghetti bolognese, chicken parmesan, shrimp alfredo or pesto pasta as entrees; and occhi di bue, bomboloni or tiramisu as desserts.

We submitted our orders and were very quickly presented with our appetizer: the caprese salad. The most noticeable aspect of this dish was its carefully curated presentation. The tomatoes and mozzarella were sliced and layered around each other and drizzled with basil leaves. In the center of the dish was a dab of pesto sauce placed on top of some balsamic dressing.

Next, we were served two entrees of our choice: the spaghetti bolognese and the pesto pasta. The spaghetti was delicious with a very light yet tasty marinara sauce. The beef was blended into the sauce and tied the dish together. The pesto pasta was a game changer: al dente pasta tossed with a mouthwatering pesto sauce and a generous amount of cherry tomatoes and other vegetables. Though Italy is far away, Foster managed to transport a little bit of Italian flavor all the way to our table.

Finally, we wiped our mouths and readied ourselves for dessert. Our speedy server brought out what looked like perfection on a plate. The doughy donut crusted with sugar and filled with chocolate ganache looked like a dessert one would see on an Instagram food account. We dove our spoons into the donut, meeting the first crispy outside, and then reaching the soft gooey inside. Foster did not disappoint.

When our meal came to an end we were sad to leave the restaurant, which began to feel like an authentic Italian bistro. We left, saying “mille grazie.”