Monday, Day 16: Written Quiz on all material, Roast Chicken, Jus Lie a L’Estragon, Pommes de Terre Anna, Roasted Seasonal Squash
7:30 AM – You seal your sauté pan with a little bit of rice bran oil that’s been heated up to a smoke point. Throw the oil away, it’s not usable after that, it even contains carcinogens.
– So, how do you seal your sauté pan when your fire alarms are very sensitive like mine are? (I meant to be funny, everyone seemed tired from the weekend and my alarms at home are truly very sensitive.)
– I don’t know! I’m not teaching Home Cooking, this is a professional program!
9:30 AM – Do you guys want to be here? I don’t know what you’ve been doing this weekend but you all just hang around here without paying attention.
10:45 AM – Hi, how are you? Good that I see you, I wanted to ask you a question. Did you look at your grades lately? Yes, I have. Why? Do you need tutoring maybe? Because that is possible you know, we offer that to students and it makes a difference. Oh, well, I don’t know if I need tutoring… Last time I checked my grades it looks like I’ve got a lot of A’s. Do you think I need tutoring? Oh, really? I must have gotten you confused with someone else! Sorry about that! Haha. But my average doesn’t reflect that yet – I started 3 days later then the rest as you well know, and those days are on 0 but do count towards my average. I’ve sent an e-mail to get it fixed. Ohhhhh, that’s maybe why I thought you needed tutoring. Oh, you’ll be fine once you make-up for those three days! Haha! Make-up for those three days? What do you mean? You need to see the ‘grading advisor’, she will tell you everything about it and when you can make up.
12:00 PM – If you fail to be ready for service on time in the future, we will not have a tasting! I will cancel service! You were all lame today! Do you want to be here? Do you enjoy what you are doing? What happened? I saw some of you going out for bagels and coffee and taking extended breaks. And then service is late half an hour! What’s wrong with you guys? If you’re here thinking that I’m cooking lunch for you, you are wrong, this is a very expensive lunch. You need to get your game going. I’m not interested in what you do this afternoon, but I want you tomorrow to be ready, present and alert! You are only as good as your last performance and today was a disaster!
Tuesday, Day 17: Cutlet de Volaille aux Champignones, Mushroom Stock, Allemande Sauce, Pommes de Terre Lyonnaise, Sautéed Spinach, Fricassee de Poulet a L’Ancienne, Carottes a la Vichy, Riz Pilaw and Brine for chicken for the next day.
I’m in charge of the Fricassee today, together with another class mate. I took a big pot from the fridge with chicken stock and was just about to start ladling some in a smaller pot as I needed it for my recipe. The Chef from next kitchen happened to pass by at that exact moment and he had some consommé over which I could use for the recipe instead of stock! The fricassee came out delicious! I must be a food geek because I was truly happy that I had consommé for the fricassee and was very impatient to taste how it would come out! Yum!
11:30 AM – What a difference with yesterday! Night and Day! Service was on time, you payed attention, you participated, you were here, you were present!
Wednesday, Day 18: Spicy Fried Chicken Tenders, Chipoltle Dipping Sauce, Pan Fried Chicken, Pan Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Grilled Vegetables
Chipoltle is spelled with an L after the O. C-H-I-P-O-L-T-L-E not Chipotle!
Somebody else measured the milk for my recipe and I have a sneaky suspicion it was not the right amount as I had to run back to the cooler twice to get more milk, scald it and thin the potatoes. It took me about 20 minutes to get them to the right consistency and flavor and the Chef asked me what I was doing to those poor potatoes as he saw me stirring them for the last 20 minutes. They tasted good though!
The grading advisor understood that it is a pity I did not know I had to make up for the first three days and will address this subject during the staff meeting this Friday.
The funny thing is that the first three days are: 1) Introduction: to the school, to the Chef, to your classmates, tell something about yourself, expectations both ways, you know, that kind of stuff. 2) ServSafe Manager lectures so that you can sit for the ServSafe Manager exam on Day 4. I did sit for the exam on Day 4 and I am happy to report that I passed! Yay! I have a very nice certificate that says that I am now ServSafe Manager certified and it is good for the next 5 years! Nice one to have in the food industry. It’s a bit strange to have to make-up for days where ServSafe Manager will be on the planning with me already being certified. Besides, it will be a pain! I will have to leave home like usual at 5:30AM in the morning and after my class I would have to join the afternoon class for another 5 hours. I’ll be home at 8PM! With a 2 year toddler and a husband that is away every other week and sometimes two weeks in a row, it won’t be easy. I will do it of course but I will be grumpy, I promise!
– You made that food at home? (I was showing pictures to the Front Office Coordinator). Sent me those pictures, I’ll post them on our FaceBook page!
Thursday, Day 19: Deep Fried Potatoes, Apricot Bourbon Grilled Chicken, Tempura Vegetables, Seasonal Mixed Green Salad
I’m standing in front of the stove, gently stirring in the Apricot Bourbon Sauce very little and very weak corn-starch slurry to thicken it a bit. The flavor was good, the consistency could be better as Chef noticed after tasting it. So, I’m adding a little corn-starch slurry like the Chef said and I’m daydreaming while stirring the sauce with a spoon!
I hear a loud voice behind me and heavy fast steps.
– No, no, no! What are you doing?
I turn around startled, the Chef is right next to me and grabs the spoon I was stirring the corn starch slurry in the sauce from my hand. With the greatest urgency he shows me in one hand the spoon up in the air and in the other hand up in the air a whisk!
– This is a SPOON! And this is a WHISK! You WHISK the corn starch slurry into the sauce! What happens otherwise? It goes to the bottom of the pan as a rock! And when does the corn starch thicken the sauce? I’m asking YOU: WHEN DOES THE SAUCE BEGIN TO THICKEN?
– When it’s reached boiling point Chef! (me answering the question while the Chef is whisking the sauce like life was depending on it splashing sauce on the stove). I’m sorry Chef, I should’ve known better! Thank you for showing me Chef!
Friday, Day 20: Knife skills practical, Seasonal Mixed Green Salad, Filet de Bouef Richelieu, Entrecôte a la Bernaise, Pommes de Terre Frites en Allumette
The practical for today is one carrot cut in as much julienne as you can cut in 10 minutes. I did the whole carrot and separated what seemed better julienne for the Chef to evaluate. The rest I just wanted to show for the quantity and could also join in the salad. Chef was pleased, he said my yield was good and complimented me again on my mis-en-place.
I’m walking from the cooler to my workstation with herbs that need to be chopped in my hand. One of my team mates has taken my workstation and the one next to me and is writing the recipe for a Marinade for Monday down. “Excuse me, I need my workstation, could you please move your notebook on the next one. I have to chop those herbs on my cutting board”. He looks at me like I’ve offended him. Does not move and slowly tells me “I will. One second. Ok?” I don’t get it. Have I said something wrong? His own workstation is just across from mine and is free.
The Bernaise sauce was really good and tasty! And it’s so easy to make! I only assisted with the mis en place, my team mate made it as he wanted to practice the hollandaise again. Now that I know how to make a proper Hollandaise which is the base for the Bernaise sauce, I’m sure I’ll make it more often.
Chef chit chats with me about the weather, it’s going to snow tomorrow he says. I tell him that I was planning to serve my dish that I’m making for the scholarship video competition outside. He says that in Colorado the weather changes quickly and it might be sunny on Sunday.
I have an appointment with the Chef at the end of the class today to show him pictures of how my parmigianno reggianno frico’s turned out after he advised me on how to put together the dish for the video competition. They are a bit too big for the serving plate. I’m sure he’ll give me a better idea on what to do with them so that I can still keep them in the dish.
Well, it was kind of a mixed week. Some nice things and little successes, but also a few bummers and annoyances. The fricassee came out really nicely, the Bernaise sauce was very tasty and almost perfect in consistency and I loved the Entrecôte, it’s one of my favorites! Not a fan of the deep fried stuff though. We had an extensive discussion in class about fried foods, nutrition values and health issues related.
I’m glad we did better the rest of the week in comparison to Monday which was a complete disaster! But we recovered, job well done to everyone in my class, by Friday we were stars again!
Chef ended the week on a good note
“You are only as good as your last performance! Last Friday you were rock stars too, like today, but you all know how Monday went! Unless you remain focused and humble and keep the pace up you will not do well on any day. I hope you know that I am here to teach you and although I might seem hard on you at times, it is only ‘tough-love’, I want you to learn and I want you to be the best you can be!”
And that is the end of week 4!
I am looking forward to week 5! I’m thinking that after week 5 it’s only one more week with this Chef and then we’ll move on to another module and another Chef. I will be a bit sad to leave this Chef and also of course enthusiast to meet the next Chef.
But first things first, on to next week – Beef week! The sirloin has been set in marinade last Friday, it will be nice and tender and juicy and ready for Boeuf Bourgeoning on Monday!
A tout alors!