Tuesday, May 12, 2009

chickens are related to t-rex.. and they sure act like it

Today was the last day of new animal cuts (tomorrow is sausage), we covered poultry, mainly fabricating broiler/fryer chickens. It was exciting especially to learn how to debone a chicken thigh/leg because boneless thighs are so much tastier than boneless breasts.

I'm really going to miss this class, Chef Schneller was an amazing Chef to work with for the first time in the  CIA kitchens, and I'm very glad we got him as a professor. It was a lot of information to cover but he gave us great tips about using the information in our future when it comes to original recipe creation, purchasing from purveyors, and training staff to learn a specific set of skills. It made me excited to have my own brigade that I would be able to teach fabricating cuts to, and showed me the great challenge of setting myself apart from the many chefs in the world though paying attention to the details. I think I gained an amazing foundation to build more skills upon as I progress here at the culinary. 

Today we each got several chickens to work on, and here are a few demos of what we later did, trussing and deboning a chicken:

The whole broiler/fryer chicken:

My chicken after I tied him up:

And after I fabricated it into several cuts:

Here's Foie Gras, its highly priced and highly controversial, even illegal in some states. Basically what happens is that: when ducks know its time for a flight, they fatten themselves up, so duck farmers take advantage of this fact. They create an environment that mimics ducks getting ready for flight so they will fatten themselves up, then 10-14 days before harvest, they force feed the ducks further to create a very fatty liver, called Foie Gras.

Some facts I learned today:
  • everything is better fried in duck fat (don't tell the vegetarians)
  • a squab, which is a small game bird, is actually a baby pigeon
  • pigeons force feed their young until they're almost bigger than their parents (like persian moms)
  • chicken nuggets are made from chicken bones that have been sent through a machine where they take the protein out and mix it with other random chicken parts
I would write more, but our final exam is tomorrow so I'm gonna go study how to identify all the various cuts we had to learn and many many facts about several different animal carcasses. Will post more tomorrow!

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