Tuesday Class - Concepts and Theories of Culinary Techniques:School is off to a roaring start. In Concepts and Theories we discussed Stocks and Sauces and talked about our weekly homework assignments. We have a vocabulary list for each week that relates to whatever we are doing in Fundamentals that week. Chef said we could do them one per week or we could do them all at once. He doesn't care, as long as we do them.
Week one vocabulary list:
Concepts & Theories of Culinary Techniques Vocabulary Assignment Week 1
Aromatics – herbs and/or spices added to enhance the flavor of other foods.
Batonnet – food cut into little matchstick shapes.
Bouquet Garni – a bundle of herbs tied together and inserted to flavor during cooking and removed prior to service.
Brigade System – refers to the staff in the kitchen under the chef de cuisine.
Broth – a thin liquid made from long simmering meats or vegetables.
Brunoise – cubes of 3mm x 3mm x 3mm.
Chiffonade – stack and roll leave (basil, spinach, or other leafy green) then sliced into thin ribbons.
Demi Glace – a rich brown sauce, a mix of half brown stock and half brown sauce reduced by half.
Dice – small cubes with six equal sides.
Entremetier – prepares soups and other items not involving meat or fish.
Garde Manger – pantry chef, in charge of cold foods and salads.
Julienne – foods cut into stick shaped pieces.
Mince – foods cut into very small pieces where uniformity doesn’t matter.
Mire Poix – a chopped mix of onion, celery and carrot for flavoring stocks and stews.
Mise en Place – French for everything in its place.
Paysanne – food cut into small flat square, round or triangular pieces.
Peel – a tool used for taking pizza and other foods out of the oven.
Remouillage – reusing bones from one stock to make another.
Rondeaux – a shallow pot with straight sides and loop handles.
Roux – a mixture of equal parts of butter and flour used to thicken sauces.
Sachet d' Epices – a bag of spices tied in a cheese cloth used to flavor stocks and other foods.
Slurry – a thickening agent containing a starch and cold liquid.
Stock – a thin clear liquid made from simmering bones or vegetables with mire poix.
Tang (of the knife) – the metal part of the blade of the knife that is inside the handle.
Salamander – a broiler used for browning or glazing food.
E. Coli – a bacteria that makes people sick and can possibly kill. Often found in raw vegetables and meats.
Heel (of the knife) – the rear of the knife blade. Used for things that need more force to cut.
Rivets – the rivets hold the handles onto the tang of the knife.
NSF International – the organization that provides HACCP. For food safety, water quality and public health.
Paring Knife – a short knife that is used for detail work.
Serrated knife – used for cutting bread or tomatoes, and things that are hard on the outside and soft on the inside.
Chafing dish – a metal dish that is heated to keep food warm.
Convection Oven – a oven that has a fan that circulates the warm air around the food for even cooking.
Wednesday/Thursday Class - Fundamentals of Classical Techniques:
We report for inspection at 5:15pm. After Chef checks us over and approves our uniforms we are admitted to the kitchen. We are preparing Chicken stock tonight. This is the first time we get to use our knives. We will be chopping Onions, Carrots, and Celery for our mirepoix. A LOT of Onions, Carrots, and Celery. No, Really... A LOT. While chopping my stack of 10 lbs of onions I cut my hand. It was just a tiny cut so I washed it out, put a bandage on it, gloved it up and went back to work. Not 10 minutes later, as I was using my knife like a scraper (as Chef told us to do) I cut myself again. This time it was much bigger. I casually put down my knife, picked up my rag and walked over to the TA in the class. I told him what I had done while maintaining pressure on the cut. We walked together to the sink and I took off the glove and bandage from the first cut (i had sliced right through them) so he could see the wound. He looked at it, suggested it might need stitches and said he would go get Chef. Chef came over and looked at it and asked if I wanted him to call 911. Of course, being me I gallantly refused to be the first major casualty of the class. We cleaned, and bandaged it up and I went back to work. My teammates never even knew what had happened because I was so calm about the whole thing.
After the stock was simmering and all the vegetables were chopped we took a tour of the kitchens, trash areas, and stock room. We returned to our kitchen for some french fries and proceeded to clean the kitchen and do dishes.
We are released to go home at 10:40pm. My feet are killing me!
We report for inspection at 5:15pm. After Chef checks us over and approves our uniforms we are admitted to the kitchen. Tonight we are making Beef stock. We bring in the beef bones we prepped the night before and toss them into the stock pot. Fill the whole thing with cold water and set it on the stove to bring up to a boil before reducing it to a simmer. Once the vegetables and the sachet d'epices is in the pot we are once again chopping carrots, onions and celery. Chef calls us all over to his table for a lesson on kitchen equipment. He picks up items one by one asking the name of the item. After I answered the first few, Chef begins saying "anyone else?" or "not you!" to me. We finish the lesson on equipment and Chef does a demo on making Supremes for us. I have been dying to learn how to make a Supreme. A Supreme is when you take an orange, cut off the top and bottom and then remove all the skin, and pith from the outside by peeling it with your knife. Then you run your knife along the membranes to cut the sections out. This leaves the orange sections with no skin or pith on them. They look lovely as a garnish or in a salad. :) I make it through this class without any blood shed! We have done all the required chopping and then cleaning and we are released from the kitchen at 9:30 pm.
Again, my feet are killing me but I had fun in class. I am looking forward to next week when we take on the mother sauces!
Until next week,