Thursday, May 28, 2009

i dont eat mammals

Today we actually used stoves on our own, hurrah! We made a few different things, including chicken glace, beef and vegetable soup, and clarified butter. Chicken glace was basically 32 ounces of chicken stock that we reduced at a gentle simmer until it was 4 ounces. This is done so it can be a flavoring agent in sauces or soups. A small portion of glace has an extremely concentrated chicken flavor and adds body to sauces. Clarified butter was made by simmering butter to release the water and separate the milk solids and butterfat. It's a completely clear butter matter that results and can be heated to higher temperatures without reaching the same smoking point as whole butter. This way you can use it for saute items without worrying about it burning. 

Here is our daily knife cut tray, I still wasn't perfect on the cuts, but improving and the sizes of julienne were correct, so that was exciting. Each day we get less time to produce the tray with more cuts in order to work on accuracy and speed.

Here is my mise en place for my soup. Mise en place is having all the ingredients/tools prepped and ready to go for making the dish, so you aren't running around the kitchen missing ingredients halfway through the dish.

Here is my completed soup. Definitely not the best thing I have made but chef liked it, at least the broth anyway. He is also the fish ID instructor and refuses to eat beef, saying that he "doesn't eat mammals." The look on his face after tasting his own soup was priceless.

Here is Chef Viverito demonstrating how to create clarified butter. This demo was probably the best example to date of what type of chef I learn most from and what type of chef I aspire to be. It may be simple to give a demonstration about clarifying butter by telling us there are 3 parts of butter: butterfat, milk solids, and water, and its necessary to release water and milk solids to get pure clarified butter. But the manner in which Chef Viverito did it made me understand where his passion lies, in the method of doing it. He explained how all 5 senses are being utilized, you can see the water bubbles coming to the surface, and hear them steam up and release air, or you can smell if it starts to brown. Something as simple as clarifying butter may seem trivial to many chefs, but the passion with which he demonstrated the importance of using all 5 senses or the science behind it helps us get excited about cooking. We learn about why certain things are widely practiced and how to become better utilizers of all of our skills instead of just one or two.

It has been quite a long week and though I love skills, I'm looking forward to finally getting some sleep to fully get over this cold I have had. Tomorrow I will be back to training for my 60 mile walk that is approaching rapidly! 

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