Week 4 recap

As I’m writing this post, I do have my chef’s jacket cut apart into 3 separate pieces in a confident attempt to tailor it to fit me better :). During my stage last night at a fabulous hotel downtown (more on that below), I found that my jacket kept getting caught on the upright oven handles so I figured today was as good as any to tailor my jacket. For any new enrollees, do go and try out the sizes beforehand. I’m also banking on my fact that I will not be gaining any weight in the next several months since I’m bringing in the size of the jackets (which after a month of classes, I am down a pound so far).

Now, on to more serious stuff. Today’s post features pictures taken on Thursday by my partner of the week, Grace (thanks Grace!! ;)). I left my phone at home that day, and these images are not found on my instagram feed. If you want to check to see what else is new, follow me here, http://instagram.com/monica_cakesandoptions.

Week 4 – The good, the bad and the ugly

Week 4 was quite a varied week. We covered several different topics including sauces, butchering poultry and breads/sandwich making. We made quite a few classic dishes using protein such as the salmon rillette, salmon roulade, lemon chicken prepared en papillote, jamboneau of a chicken leg, and southern fried chicken and quite a few rich, buttery sauces – veloute, demi-glace, chasseur, poivrade, bechamel. Also covered off sandwich making, which I honestly do think it is straightforward, except for the preparation we were using for the main events inside these sandwiches.

Good – learning to make bread! I’ve never made my own bread before this week and have learned it is not that difficult to make. We baked baguettes which we used in a philly cheese steak sandwich. We also made pullman loaf, morel mushroom bread and mini-bagels for other sandwiches. And even started on two different pie doughs – pate brisee and pate sucre.

Sample of the baguettes made in class:week4-baguettes

Philly cheese steak and a club: week4-sandwiches

Bad – I wasn’t happy with our demi-glace due to its lack of deep rich colour, but it still tasted ok. You really must brown the onions to achieve the deep brown colour the demi-glace.

Ugly – Wednesday. The day was long and was very taxing and I had my first kitchen injury – I had a small burn on the edge of my palm from grabbing on a hot handle. The day also included menu development which is a great opportunity to cook what you want to, but I don’t get feel we get enough time to research, prep and plan during the day for this. It felt rushed but everyone was able to deliver someone at the end. We needed a grain element and a vegetable element to go together with the duck breast. My partner and I were able to pull through on it, she came up with an easy and refreshing pickled salad using the extra brunoise veggies I had from Monday, and I used the extra grains we over-prepared from Monday in an attempt on an “orange” grain, but the colors from the carrots and oranges that I reduced with a brown stock and made to a puree didn’t take on in the grains. I’m happy to have my brunoise cuts showcased in the dish, it was previously used in a pilaf dish, which the vegetables just mushed in with the grain and was covered by the salmon roulade sitting on top of everything.

More pictures from Thursday:

My partner Grace and I making mini-bagels: week4-grace-bagelmaking

Mini-bagels! Covered up for poaching and baking the next day:week4-bagels

Cucumber tea sandwiches: week4-cucumbersandwiches

Our attempt to stack the highest prawn tub wall yet:  week4-prawntubswall

First stage

My first real experience in a professional kitchen. There were two of us from the school helping the chef to plate 4 courses for 35 guests while the kitchen is still serving the other guests. It was a positive experience (I want to say “lots of fun” but there was quite a bit of work but in to it). A lot of what we have learned in the first 4 weeks of classes proved really helpful – the different kitchen tools and mise en place. A lot of the preparation was prepared ahead, and the chef explained to us ahead of time the placement of dishes and prep work required for each of the courses so when it was go time, it was quite smooth. The menu was inspiring also. I deep-fried pickles, sliced beef briskets, fried beignets and even fried an order of french fries for a table (since I was standing by the fryer). The chef was helpful to explain how he prepared each item and we’ve learned a lot. There are ideas there that I’m jotting down to use for later menu devs.

There will be more stages to come as it is an opportunity to explore and learn from different chefs and kitchens.

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