Thursday, June 4, 2009

it's worcestershire not worchestire

I guess yelling works. Today we all worked a lot cleaner and chef was impressed with the fact that our knife skills are getting better too. He doesn't even check mine anymore which makes me sad, but I guess that means I'm doing it right. 

Today we made chowda, fish chowder to be exact. First we had to make the fish fumet (fish stock). To do this you sweat some aromatic white mirepoix (leeks, onions, and celery) and then add the fish bones, white wine, and water. It's important to use low or medium activity fish bones (as we learned in fish fabrication class) because they have less fat which creates a lighter stock with less oil and a milder flavor. Today we used halibut and flounder bones to make our fumet

Along with the stock and chowder, we also made our knife skills tray, and some of us roasted brown veal bones for stock and made its pincage. Pincage is using the fond, or leftover drippings from roasting the bones, to caramelize mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) then caramelizing tomato paste into it. These are all added to the simmering bones when they have about an hour of cooking time left in their 8 hour long cooking process. 

I knew I was learning a lot here, but it has all begun to connect itself and I'm becoming aware of all the learning, it's quite exciting. Whenever Chef asks a question in class, I answer, (sometimes wrong), but it reinforces how much I learned from years and years of watching cooking shows. :-D

Here are some pictures from the day.

This is our mise en place tray at the beginning of the day:

(and the fish bones):

And my knife skills tray (aren't those baby cubes of potato cute?):

Here is my fish stock (fumet):

Just bubbling away, with the sachet of spices and herbs:

And my mise en place for my chowder:

(All the while having browned the veal bones and now caramelizing the carrots for the pincage):

Here is Chef Viverito demonstrating how to temper the fumet into our roux. (if you remember from yesterday, a roux is a thickening agent made with fat and flour). Tempering is to add a little bit of the liquid at a time, let it come up to a boil to see the full thickening power of the flour before adding more stock.

My chowder bubbling away (before I added cream):

And my presentation plate. Chef said the flavor was great, but it wasn't light in color enough. (that's because I held back on the cream or else it wouldn't have had the good flavor that it did...):

During our lunch break, I got food from the Asian kitchen. I'll explain this since it might be confusing. As we progress in our studies, we have 3 week long classes and will eventually have Asia, Mediterranean, Americas, etc. When we go for lunch, we can choose any of these kitchens to get food from (where our peers are making the dishes as part of their class). Today I went to the Asian kitchen. Here is their demo table:

And a little glance into the kitchen:

And the chicken salad I got for lunch. Easily one of the best dishes I've eaten here so far:

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