Diary: September 8, 2002
Posted 08 September 2002 - 06:58 PM
My next paper is due tomorrow, on the subject of Swiss chard. I wrote it on Monday since we didnít have class, but I never found the wholesale price of the vegetable. Also, I couldnít determine the French name for the vegetable; I found four or five names from various sources, and none of those sources smacked of credibility. For these reasons, I was delighted to come in this morning and see a crate of Swiss chard sitting in the kitchen. The price was listed on the invoice, and since it was on todayís menu I got the French name as recognized by the school. This put me in a great mood from the beginning.
We learned a fish sauce which is like several sauces in one today: bonne femme, a glazed fish dish, has a sabayon, a fish veloute, and a vin blanc as its major components. We also learned how to make Parisienne potatoes, which are shaped like spheres. I ended up handling the potatoes, and I produced a big pile of asteroid-looking potatoes from using a melon baller to scoop them out.
We prepared lunch for the pastry class today, so we got a chance to talk to some of them. One student sat at my table. She came from a writing background too, so we talked about writing and food writing. I didnít get much of a chance to speak with her because I was trying to coordinate the Swiss chard and the potatoes for lunch service, but Iím glad I had a chance to see her and some of the other new students close up. At one point I couldnít find the communal pot of demi-glace for finishing the potatoes; the last time Iíd seen it, it was on a table where about 8 pastry students had since congregated to eat. So I went and asked them, ďHas anybody seen a pot of demi-glace?Ē I immediately realized that they were unlikely to know what demi-glace looked like and started to explain, but then I realized that it wasnít on the table and that somebody from another team had it. I apologized and hurried off. I feel a little sheepish about this since I donít like to make others feel like they donít know what theyíre doing when theyíre brand new.
I spent my post-lunch break frantically trying to find an image of Swiss chard that includes the root system for my botanical sketch. I did not have any success, and was eternally grateful to Rachel Perlow for saving my ass from going to the library for last-minute research.
In the afternoon, we talked about confit. Chef Peter explained the history and the process of confiture of duck, and talked about the two steps (curing with salt, and cooking at a low temperature). He then broke us into teams for tomorrow and sent us to make puff pastry for tomorrowís menu. I worked with Jonathan and Em to make the worldís fastest quick puff before heading home to add the last bits of info to my paper.
Friday, September 6
Evaluations again today. I met with Chef Francois this morning and we talked about my performance, my strengths and my weaknesses. Iím still doing quite well, but I slipped a little on my test grades (which I knew already). Iím now number 3 in my class. Something to work towards. I wasnít too upset about my ranking, since I know I am doing well and I feel as long as I do my best the rankings arenít super relevant. The rest of the discussion with Chef Francois was about what I can use to sell myself for a potential externship with a chef. He hinted that my enthusiasm and my participation are my best assets.
I spent my lunch break in the pastry kitchen attempting to make parchment pastry cones. My goal was to get a bunch of them made and then keep them in my locker so I can use them to practice piping on lunch breaks over the coming weeks. I did get a little better at bag-making through the practice, but I still lose about 25% of the bags I attempt by not making the opening tight enough. Itíll only come with practice. Sometimes I wonder if there is any new skill that will come naturally to me, that I can do well at the first time I try it.
Diary of a Cooking School Student
Foodblog: 34 Hungry College Girls
Foodblog: Expecting a Future Culinary Student
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Posted 08 September 2002 - 07:04 PM
And . . .
The price was listed on the invoice, and since it was on todayís menu I got the French name as recognized by the school.
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Posted 09 September 2002 - 06:20 AM
Posted 09 September 2002 - 10:34 AM
Sometimes I wonder if there is any new skill that will come naturally to me, that I can do well at the first time I try it.
For me that would be eating but no one seems willing to give me a good grade or any recognition for it (other than my Cuban girlfriend's mother who is ecstatic when she sees a man eat extra helpings of her cooking)
Posted 10 September 2002 - 08:18 AM
I know it's pedantic, but i think the french name for silverbeet is blettes, not bettes.
Maybe just a typo on your part...