Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Bricks, mortars

Just a quick update tonight with a couple photos. Since my last post we've been in the kitchen 3 times I think.

First day we made mayonnaise and tartar sauces which we added to more salads, prepared with our rapidly improving knife skills. I don't think anyone had any hitches with this one, except for maybe one or two mayonnaise sauces that were irreparably split.

Yesterday we learnt the toughest of all the vegetable cuts which is 'turning'. Basically the idea is to cut a barrel shaped piece with pointy ends out of out any sort of root vegetable.The size is variable and has to be cut with a short curved knife called a paring knife. The shape is very similar to the lead end of the fishing sinker in the picture below..... yes this honestly was the first thing that came to mind when thinking about how to describe the shape, I am a proper Kiwi after all!
The barrel has to have 7 sides and of course all of them have to be identical in size and length, we also found out we have to prepare 5 portions of turned vegetables in our final exam so getting these little buggers perfect is crucial. It was tough for me in the beginning but I got the hang of it slowly with practice, I had the size and shape ok, but uniformity was not present at all. More practice needed!

Anyway back to the food. We prepared a mushroom duxelle, which is like a slowly cooked dryish mixture of button mushrooms shallots and parsley that lends itself well to stuffings for meats, it's a match made in heaven for chicken. I love mushrooms so I demolished mine when I finished while waiting for others to finish up. Taste-wise mine was spot on but it wasn't finely chopped enough, a common theme in the last couple days; food tasting good and seasoned well, but more attention to detail needed for the small things.

We also made a tomato concasse, and with our turned vegetables (in this case mouli and baby onions) we cooked and then glazed. All went well, apparently in the time we spend at Le Cordon Bleu we'll prepare 2 million portions of glazed vegetables so it's important to get the glaze right, not too, not too salty.

Today, between all of us we must have produced and surpassed the entire schools' veal and chicken stock needs for at least the next month or so. Stock day went rather well apart from a large stripe on my hand where I grabbed the handle of my veal stock pan after it came out of the 200 degree oven, ouch! We made veal stocks and chicken stocks, nothing difficult here, the former to be finished off in the production kitchen because they need a minimum of 6 hours simmering and our time in the kitchen limited to 3. We also continued with our learning of the 'mother' sauces and made bechamel and basic tomato base sauces, nothing plated today so no photos of food still, sorry!

I do have two other photos for you though, one of me in my full kit in the kitchen and the second is me with the glorious invention.....the beard net. I couldn't be bothered shaving this morning and of course Chef instantly noticed my 1 day of stubble growth, and hence I got to experience the much maligned obstacle to beard glory. It was a revelation! I completely forgot about it. It totally wasn't a big deal at all despite looking ridiculous. I think I may have been wearing it wrong in this photo, who knows? I've noticed loads of guys in the superior courses with them I may just follow suit, kitchen is for work not fashion after all. Five more minutes sleeping in > shaving every morning I think....

Tomorrow poulet


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