Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ok well fish class is over and yes it did get better we still went from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm each day but we were able to get some short breaks and on the last day chef Clark took us to one of the kitchens that he had prearranged with that kitchen’s chef for us to be feed a nice lunch.
Yesterday I started in my first kitchen class called Skills 1 and today we actually got to turn on the stove top burned and boil water. It was part of our knife tray. A knife tray is a skills exercise were we peel three onions then we slice one, medium dice one and small dice one, next we peel and dice three cloves of garlic, mince one shallot, and make tomato concasse, that is to skin (this is done by putting them into the boiling water for about 20 to 30 seconds), seed and cut into quarters two tomatoes, then we chopped some parsley, next is peeling five potatoes and cutting them into lots of different things some fine julienne (that is 1/16” x 1/16” x2” long) and fine brunoise (that is 1/16” cubes), then some regular julienne (that is 1/8” x 1/8” x2” long) and some brunoise (that is 1/8” cubes), then some batonnet (that is 1/4” x 1/4” x2” long) and some small dice (that is 1/4” cubes), then some ½” x ½” x 2 “ long cuts and some medium dice ½” cubes and some large dice ¾” cubes and some ¾” x ¾” x 2” pieces. All that is graded by the chef for size, quality and straightness of cut. The Chef had nothing bad to say about my cuts so I guess I did ok. As a class we also made about 15 gallons of chicken stock and about 8 gallons of beef broth today. To make that much chicken stock we start with 120 pounds of chicken bones, about 22 gallons of water and about 30 pounds of mirepoix ( 2 parts onion, 1 part carrot, 1 part celery chopped into large pieces) and one very large pot. In fact it’s not really a pot but a floor mounted steam jacketed kettle for making stock or sauces in.
I have a writing class mid-tern exam tomorrow that I have been thinking about what to write for it and it’s a challenge as the subject choices don’t excite me but hopefully something will come to me before the test tomorrow.
Only 12 more days of class until summer break we finish class on July 2nd and don’t restart until July 28th. I have big plans for the break and I will provide updates as it gets closer.
Until next time keep cooking and remember drink no wine before it’s time.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hi all
Things have been going good but I have never been as busy as I am now each day seems to get even busier. The amount of material covered in Meat Identification and Fabrication class was to say the least mind boggling. We covered all the basic meat animals both from the muscle (meat) and bone structure stand points. I now know so much more not only about how to cut meats but I now know the reason different cuts are cooked using different cooking techniques. If that was not enough now we are in Seafood ID & Fabrication class and the amount of information to cover is many times more than Meat class. For example its 6:15 Saturday morning and I am up working on my computer to get a little ahead for next week. We star are days in class at 8:00, the first thing we do is to clear the ice off the fish in the cooler and bring out one of each fish in stock for the identification demo then we need to bring out the fish we need to fabricate (scale, debone and skin) for all the kitchens on campus for the afternoon classes (afternoon classes make dinner for all the students and faculty). Next we do a review of all the fish to be able to identify them and then we put the ones we do not need away before the fun begins. Now it’s time to scale and cut the fish. We spend the next several hours working on the fish. Once we fish that it’s time to bring in and ice the fish shipment for the day and clean up. By now it’s about 12:30 or 1:00 so time for our lecture and tasting. Chef lectures for a couple hours and then we taste small pieces of a couple of different fish finishing at 4:00 (notice I did not mention and breaks or lunch)
In meat class my days started at 5:30. I had class from 7:00 to 1:00 then homework until dinner then after dinner more homework until 11:00 then sleep. Now in fish class its up at 6:30 study and breakfast till class starts at 8:00 and so far fish class has run till 4 even though it’s only scheduled till 2:00. On Wednesday and Friday I have writing from 4:0 to 5:30 then its dinner at 5:30. After dinner it’s homework till I go to sleep between 11:00 and 11:30. I have no time to do anything but school work. I understand that once I start in the skills kitchen things will slow down a little. Well it’s time to run I have some more home work to do.