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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Culinary School - Week 6 Central Plains

Feb 14-15, 2011

Central Plains
Day one

The Menu:
Wisconsin Cheddar and Beer Soup
Beet and Apple Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette
Planked Green Onion Whitefish
Mashed Celeriac and Potatoes
Pickled Pearl Onions
Sautéed Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes
Brownie Pudding Cake

The Food:
Chef said that our soup got a little too hot. That caused the cheese to break and make the soup grainy. The beet salad was ok. I don’t like beets but I liked the apple and the greens with the vinaigrette. Cooking the whitefish on the planks gave the meat a really good flavor. The celeriac and mashed potatoes were good. The pickled pearl onions and the sautéed green bean were what you would expect. The brownie pudding cake is one of my very favorite cakes!

Tonight was a busy night in the kitchens. My new team has only 3 people so we had to hustle to get everything done. Our cake was not ready right at our presentation time. If we had been in a real restaurant we would have had to explain to the customers that the cake was delayed and comp drinks or something. Although the cake wasn’t ready at service time, in my opinion it was the best tasting of all the groups.

Beet and Apple Salad

Cheddar Beer Soup

Brownie Pudding Cake

Mashed Celeriac and Potatoes
Green Beans with Tomatoes and
Pickled Pearl Onions

Day Two

The Menu:
Barley Beef Soup
Kansas City Barbecue Ribs
Steak Fries
Cannellini Beans with Tomatoes and Basil
Roasted Chicken with Wild Rice, Walnuts, and Dried Fruit Stuffing
Winter Vegetables with Thyme
Soft Pretzels

The Food:
Barley Beef Soup is a pretty common thing. I grew up with it. This was really good. I liked the Cannellini Bean salad but I think it needed a little more salt. The Roasted Chicken with stuffing was really pretty. The BBQ sauce for the ribs was really good. It paired well with the fries. In place of a dessert tonight we made soft pretzels. The one we presented to Chef was a cinnamon sugar glazed.

I don’t normally eat meat on the bone but I did eat a rib tonight. It was really good. I really liked the bbq sauce we made. The Cannellini bean salad was really easy to make and would make a great side dish for a bbq or picnic. The pretzel we presented to Chef was a really big twist. I would re-think that next time and make a few smaller pretzels.

Beef Barley Soup

Cannellini Bean Salad

Soft Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel

Kansas City Ribs with
Steak Fries

Roasted Chicken with
Wild Rice Stuffing and
Winter Vegetables

Meat off the bone!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Culinary School - Mid Term Paper

American Regional – Midterm Project

February 7, 2011

Catherine “Cat” Cora was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1967. Her heritage is Greek-American. Both her father and her grandfather were restaurateurs in Jackson. She was raised around food and knew from an early age that she wanted to do something in the food field. When she was just 15 years old, she wrote a complete business plan for a restaurant and gave it to her uncle. He reviewed it and was surprised at how accurate it was.

Cat graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in exercise physiology and a minor in nutrition. On advice from her mentor, Julia Child, Cat left Mississippi for New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America. After finishing her training at CIA, Cat went to work for Anne Rozenweig at Arcadia and also for Larry Forgione at the Beekman Tavern. To continue her training, she moved to France to intern for Georges Blanc and Roger Verge; two of France’s three Michelin star chefs. When her internships in France were done, Cat returned to New York to work at The Old Chatham Shepherding Company with Chef Melissa Kelly. After some time, Cat moved west, settling in Northern California. She became the Chef de Cuisine at Bistro Don Giovanni in the Napa Valley, where she once cooked for one of her idols, Jacques Pepin.

Cat has been on many television shows featured by the Food Network, including: Melting Pot; My Country, My Kitchen; Simplify your Life; and Kitchen Accomplished. She is the first and only female “Iron Chef” in the show’s history. She has participated in 33 battles and has a record of 18 wins /14 losses and one draw. Aside from Bobby Flay, Cat has participated in the most battles; even more than Masaharu Morimoto.

Being raised in a Greek family in the South has had a huge impact on Cat’s cooking style. She is known for mixing southern spices with fresh cheese and cured olives sent from the family home in Greece. Her first cookbook, Cat Cora’s Kitchen, was based on these combinations.

In early 2005, Cat founded the non-profit “Chefs for Humanity” with the goal to raise funds and provide resources for important educational and hunger-related causes. Cat was also named a nutritional spokesperson for UNICEF. Last year Cat joined the First Lady, Michelle Obama, as part of her “Chefs Move to Schools” campaign in an effort to provide nutritional guidance and education from professional chefs to schools nationwide. Cat “adopted” an elementary school in her hometown of Santa Barbara, California, as well as the nursery school that her sons attend. She has planted gardens at these locations to help get more nutritional food to the children at these schools.

Cat is a member of Macy’s Culinary Council. She partnered with the store to launch CCQ (Cat Cora’s Que) at their new Signature Kitchen restaurant concept in Southern California’s South Coast Plaza. Inspired by her own barbeque traditions, Cat designed CCQ as a fast casual concept that defines her passion for global BBQ flavors.

Cat is passionate about teaching families healthy eating habits at home. In 2008 she began working with Disney to create the Video On-Demand series “Disney’s What’s Cooking with Cat Cora.” Cat and Disney also opened Kouzzina (Greek for “kitchen”) at Walt Disney World’s Boardwalk Resort in 2009.

Cat is also a member of Chefs for Seals, an informal group of chefs whose passion for seals is designed to raise public awareness about the plight of seals targeted in Canada’s annual commercial seal hunt. Partnering with The Humane Society of the United States, they are dedicated to spreading the word that by boycotting Canadian seafood we can enact change with pressure on the industry that orchestrates the hunt.

Catherine “Cat” Cora proves that a female chef in a male-dominated field can be every bit as successful as a male chef. Her professional achievements equal, if not exceed, that of many of her male counterparts.

I chose Cat Cora for this project because I have a “girl-chef crush” on her and admire her because She has managed to combine family, community interests, and her passion for cooking into an exciting and rewarding life.

Culinary School - Q4 Week 5, Mid Term

American Regional
Feb 7-8, 2011


Day one

Summary: My mid term paper was on Cat Cora. I admire her because she has really made a place for female chefs. I feel like I did a good job on the written exam. Most of the words were familiar to me.

Day Two

The Menu:
Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo
Alligator Etoufee
Boiled Rice
Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

The Food: This is the first time I have ever made a dark roux. It was so easy. I am glad that I got the chance to do that. I also feel glad that everyone got a chance to cook with the alligator.

Summary: I really liked the gumbo. The color was perfect and the flavor was delicious. Next time I will pay more attention to the oil and make sure that I either siphon some off or add more flour to make it less oil. I was disappointed with the etoufee because I didn’t taste the fish stock before I added it to the etoufee. It was really fishy. Had I tasted it first I would have used chicken stock instead of the fish stock. The bread pudding was good, but next time I think I would take it out sooner.

Chicken and Andouille
Sausage Gumbo

Alligator Etoufee

Break Pudding with
Whiskey Sauce

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Culinary School - Q4 Week 4

American Regional
January 31- Feb 1, 2011


Day one

Black Bean Soup
Ceviche of Gulf Scallops with Floribbean Slaw
Chicken with Tamarind Ginger Sauce
Stewed Pink Beans
Stuffed Chayote with Tomatoes, Mushrooms, and Cheese

The Food: Tonight we are in Florida with Caribbean influences. It seemed to me that there were a lot of red, green and yellow peppers used in the food tonight. I am not a fan of them raw but when they are cooked they had a sweet spicy flavor to them.

Summary: I thought the Ginger and Tamarind Chicken had too much ginger in it. The black bean soup was really good. I know Chef thought there was too much salt and Tabasco in the Stewed beans but I really liked the flavor of them.

Ginger Tamarind Chicken
with Floribbean Slaw

Black Bean Soup
Day Two

The Menu:
Key West Seafood Chowder
Hearts-of-Palm Salad
Pan-Seared Grouper with Black Bean, Jicama, and Corn Relish or Tropical Fruit Salsa
Corn Custard
Key Lime Pie
The Food: Tonight we substituted Scallops and Grouper for the Conch. I have never had Hearts of Palm. The salad was a little too watery for me. That could have been adjusted by straining it before I added the mayonnaise. We made mini key lime pies by using the muffin tins. I thought they were really cute. We served them with a whipped cream quenelle. The black bean and jicama salsa was good; I preferred the tropical fruit salsa.

Summary: I liked the grouper. This is the first time I have ever had it. I usually prefer milder white fish. I really liked the corn custard. It’s really frustrating for me to not be able to taste some of the dishes we make because of my allergies.

Chayote stuffed with
Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Corn Custard
Pan Seared Grouper with
Tropical Fruit Salsa

Pan Seared Grouper with
Black Bean and Jicama Relish

Seafood Chowder

Mini Key Lime Pies