Friday, June 12, 2009

practically perfect

I definitely didn't have time/brain capacity to take pictures today. It was the last day of skills 1, so we had a practical exam where we had to make clarified butter, hollandaise, mayonnaise, consomme, espagnole, and vegetables. It was all simple enough as long as we had a good mise en place plan/timeline/all the right tools. I was anxious driving to school, but had a moment where I felt so blessed that my exam consisted of cooking, something that I take so much pride and pleasure in on a daily basis. I'm so incredibly lucky to be at the CIA doing what I love everyday.

I got in around 6:15am, so I could start gathering ingredients for my recipes and stay on track with the rigorous timeline I made the night before. We got into the kitchen around 6:30, I gathered all the pots and tools I needed, then proceeded to weigh out all the ingredients for the 6 recipes we had to do. It's always important to have the mise en place ready to go, that way, cooking time will be spent at the stove instead of milling about the kitchen looking for ingredients, measuring, etc... which is very beneficial when there are 13 newbies cooking 6 different things on a time limit.

Everything turned out great, and even though Chef didn't let us start until 7:30, I finished exactly on time with the timeline I had made (good thing I built in a buffer zone). I presented my items around 9:30 and Chef had positive complements for them all. He even took the carrot/celery root julienne garnish out of the consomme bowl and looked at the ends to make sure they were square! Since I was done pretty early, I spent the rest of class bagging up 20 or so gallons of stock from the huge kettles the PM class had been cooking the night before. 

After lunch we had our written exam, which was pretty straightforward and stressed mainly ratios, such as for a gallon of stock, you need 8# bones, 1#mirepoix, 1 sachet, 6 quarts water...

I was to head home this weekend, so I quickly hustled to the train station after class only to hear that "no trains are leaving Poughkeepsie due to police activity in the New Hamburg area." Since this would mean I'd miss my connecting train in the city, I thought it best to come back, relax (I've been up since 4:30!), and get everything ready for skills 2 on Monday. Have a great weekend everyone!

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