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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Culinary School - Q7 Grades

The grades are in for Fall 2011.  My 7th Quarter brings 2 more A's.  In Nutrition I finished with 112.23%  and in European I finished with a solid 96%.

Next Quarter is my last kitchen class.  It is also supposed to be my last quarter in this program but this program doesn't technically exist my campus so...  I am having issues with the school and the diploma program that I am working on with the Dean of the school.  I will walk in the graduation ceremony March with my friends and beginning in April I will do an externship and receive my diploma in June.  When school starts in July I will return to take the first of 3 classes I have left that are needed for me to get my Pastry degree and I will graduate again in March of 2013.

Culinary School - Q7 Weeks 9 & 10 European

I missed week 9 because I was sick.  It was supposed to be the food of Switzerland.

Week 10 was supposed to be Russian food and week 11 was supposed to be our final but since so many of my classmates were graduating this quarter they had to take their final in week 10.  They allowed all of us to take the final week 10.

We made Borscht, Russian Style Green Beans and Chicken.

Culinary School - Q7 Week 8 European

This week was supposed to be Germany but Chef was almost 30 minutes late arriving and most of the class was about to leave when he arrived so we staged a coup and told him we refused to cook the menu for that day.  He told us that since he was late we could make whatever we wanted using the food from the Germany req.

We all made something and enjoyed a family style meal.

Culinary School - Q7 Week 7 European

Menu: Braised Endive with Almond Cream, Consommé Brunoise, Tomato Clamart, Warm Oysters with Zucchini, Potatoes Parmentier, Chicken Sauté Marengo, Butter Lettuce Salad, Crème Brule

Summary: This week is our last week in France. The food seems pretty straight forward. We are making Crème Brulé. This is one of my favorite desserts to make. I make it at home all the time because it is so easy and delicious!

Food: Braised Endive with Almond Cream – Our endive was a little undercooked. But we had a great flavor on the sauce. It was smooth and creamy.

Consommé Brunoise – My teammate forgot to Brulé the onion and all of our Brunoise was used in the raft. It was kind of bland and needed way more seasoning.

Tomato Clamart – I thought these stuffed tomatoes were tasty although Chef Morgan said that she thought the peas were overcooked and that the dish needed salt, which I don’t understand at all since I finished the dish with a flourish of salt. She also thought I had cut too much off the tops of the tomatoes.

Warm Oysters with Zucchini – The zucchini looked pretty. It was sliced very thinly. The broth needed more seasoning and we need to pay more attention to making sure each serving has the same number of slices of zucchini..

Chicken Sauté Marengo – We needed more seasoning on the skin of the chicken and to plate with more precision. We served this with the Potatoes Parmentier. These should be cooked in smaller batches to achieve the golden color and the parsley should be added at the end.

Butter lettuce Salad – this was a simple salad of butter lettuce with apple cider vinegar and sugar as a dressing. I forgot to take a picture of this dish, but Chef Prime said it was nicely balanced.

Crème Brule – Chef Morgan commented that the custard was spot on. When a spoonful was taken out it should hold its shape and not run to fill the spot. It tasted delicious!

Culinary School - Q7 Week 6 European

Menu: French Onion Soup, Veal Kidneys, Lamb Stew, Stuffed Swiss Chard, Watercress Salad with Endive and Cucumber, Crepes stuffed with Lemon Soufflé

Summary: Things went much better in the kitchens this week. A lot of people were absent so we only had 2 teams. We presented all the food from both teams together.

Food: French onion soup is my most favorite type of soup. Ours was delicious. We did two different presentations of this. The first was the classical presentation with the toasted crouton and covered with cheese then melted under the salamander. The second presentation was the way it was described in our books. Placing the bread with shredded cheese in the bottom of the bowl and then pouring the soup over it. I prefer the classical presentation. Chef said the soup was good but could have used a touch more salt and perhaps a hit of chopped parsley as a garnish.

Veal Kidneys – Chef said that our parsley needed to be a little more crispy. The kidneys were very buttery and perfectly cooked. Our sauce was really good.

Lamb Stew – the sear on our meat was really good. It could have used a little more salt and the portion size could have been a little smaller but the flavor was really nice.

Stuffed Swiss Chard – The rice was a little undercooked but the dish was well seasoned. We need to watch for consistency when plating. The sizes were not all equal.

Watercress Salad with Endive and Cucumber – This salad had good flavor. Need to watch to make sure that all components are evenly dressed.

Crepes stuffed with Lemon Soufflé – This dish was really delicious. It would be the perfect ending to a meal that was heavy with meats and other rich foods. The crepes were nicely browned and the filling was very delicate.

Culinary School - Q7 Week 5 European

Menu: Ratatouille, Soupe de Legumes aux Petite Coquillages, Le Blanc de Poisson Belle Mouginoise, Filet de Porc Farci Lyonnaise, Salade de Poire, Mousse au Chocolat

Summary: This was a hard week in the kitchens. It seemed like every team struggled with timing and the food. I know my team did. It was just a very disappointing week for me.

Food: Ratatouille and Filet de Porc Farci Lyonnaise – Our Pork was a tad overcooked. The Potatoes we served with it were very salty. I thought the Ratatouille needed more seasoning. It was just kind of blah.

Soupe de legumes aux Petite Coquillages – I didn’t get to taste this soup because of the shellfish but Chef said the scallops were perfectly cooked and the flavor of the broth was very good but that the clams and mussels were not cleaned properly. They were a little sandy and chewy.

Le Blanc de Poisson Belle Mouginoise – Chef said the fish needed to be trimmed up a little more and be handled with a little more finesse. The vegetable were nice. Chef said they had a nice bite.

Salade de Poire – This was a nice light salad. Chef said the vinaigrette was very nice and the whole dish was nicely seasoned but that we need to tighten up the knife cuts.

Mousse au Chocolat – This was perhaps, our biggest failure of the day. The flavor was good but the texture was completely off. I think the problem is that the chocolate started to seize before the whipped cream was added to it. I was so disappointed at my team’s epic failure of this classic French dessert. This is such an easy dish to make and being advanced students we should not be making stupid mistakes like this.

Culinary School - Q7 Week 4 European

Menu: Zuppa alla Pavese, Gnocchi de Patate in Salsa di Parmesan-Reggiano, Vitello Tonnato, Osso Buco Milanese, Cicorietta Saltata con Pancetta, Risotto alla Zafferano, Panna Cotta

Summary: The recipes this week are fairly straight forward. Why anyone would ruin a nice piece of veal by covering it with a tuna sauce is beyond me.

Food: Zuppa alla Pavese – Our soup was ok. I thought it needed more salt. The crouton was really hard. Chef suggested a little bit of vinegar to brighten up the taste with some acidity.

Gnocchi de Patate – I really liked this dish. The sauce was delicious but it was a tad on the thick side. We need to make sure that the gnocchi is actually hot when the dish is served.

Vitello Tonnato – Chef said we had an interesting presentation. The veal was nicely cooked. It was light and refreshing. It maybe could have been better if the slices of veal were thinner. Chef said it was a good job. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of this dish.

Osso Buco Milanese – Chef said our veal was a little bit undercooked but I thought it was nice. The flavor was really good. Chef liked the gremolata but I thought it had too much lemon in it.

Cicorietta Saltata con Pancetta – We were not given any Chicory for today’s menu. Instead we were given endive. I liked ours a lot but Chef said it was over cooked.

Risotto allo Zafferano – Our Risotto was on the dry side and the rice was very undercooked. I have seen this happen before when someone tries to rush the cooking of risotto. It needs to be some slowly adding the stock slowly one ladle at a time allowing it to be fully absorbed each time. It also needed more seasoning.

Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries – Our Panna Cotta didn’t have time to fully set up so I ended up serving it in a glass similar to a zabaglione. I made a blueberry coulis and used that to decorate the plates. I thought it turned out very pretty.