Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm eating leftovers!

YUM!!! We made espagnole at school today. It's a mother sauce made from brown veal stock. From it we made demi-glace (equal amounts of espagnole and veal stock reduced by half) and beef stew. I brought my share of beef stew home with me and some from the group next to me since they didn't want it and offered. It's more than enough for Julianne and me for dinner. She has a basketball game, though, and I'm not waiting to eat. I'm hungry! I was going to make cornbread to go with it but I'm just too lazy. I pulled some slices of homemade bread from the freezer and toasted them.

I am very happy at this school. Being able to bring food home with me is obviously a wonderful feature! The chef instructors don't taste everything and give the feedback that I got before and I miss that. If they are tasting I'm not seeing it. I know if my sauce is too thick or too thin but that's it. Chef Todd tasted and really analyzed the flavor.  He explained what he should be tasting and what I should have done differently. That was helpful--even when he wanted more salt! I remember making something from demi-glace and I hadn't reduced it enough. He could tell it in whatever I made from it. There was a difference in the depth of flavor. I like hearing that and knowing and I miss it. There are ways that we do things in class now that are much more efficient. I don't know if they are just my chef's ways or if they are school ways but I like them. We divide into groups (the four people at each table) and the daily sous chef assigns cleaning tasks. That's very cool. There isn't a too-big crowd trying to do the same thing while someone else wonders around trying to look busy and there is nobody cooking up to the last possible minute so they miss the bulk of the cleaning. We are in those same groups for cooking, too. We make the mother sauces individually but the second sauces and other recipes in our groups. My group is great for working together. We get our mise en place done pretty quickly and everything seems to fall into place. Today, though, the group got annoying. A lot of folks in class have worked in restaurants but none have chef's training but a couple still think they already know everything. One of them is in my group. I feel like he's cooking and just allowing me to help. We were allowed to be creative with seasonings in our stew today. That's fun but after he shot down my idea (a clove) he added his own stuff without talking it over with the group. Then he didn't want to tell me what he put in it. When I pressed he said it was cayenne (I think I heard him tell someone else sugar). It was very hot and had red pepper flakes. If I hadn't diluted it with some from the group next to us and some demi-glace, Julianne probably couldn't eat it. Her throat is still healing. We were supposed to use stock and the espagnole and to thicken with the demi-glace. Neither of those made it in there at all. A handful of flour did besides the flour that we used when we browned the meat. As I'm warming it up now and it thickens I can taste flour. Chef didn't taste it anyway but it's a group thing and nobody should be dumping anything in there without clearing it with the group. They did let me deglaze the pan with sherry. I just hate being blown off like that. I would rather be in a group where everyone is new and they follow directions and are equal. A dude at another table wants to trade if Chef will let us. I don't dislike the people but I'm irritated. That's my soapbox today. Thank you for letting me vent!

Thursday we made veloute' and from it sauce supreme and mushroom pan sauce. Then we made grilled vegetable cous cous and we seared chicken leg quarters. It was all good! And it was still good later at home. I really love bringing food home! Have I said that?

We got our "real" uniforms today. Cool! Saved me a trip to the laundromat because now I'm set for another week. There isn't much that I hate more than the laundromat!

I have an interview Wednesday right after school. Cool! Cross your fingers for me!

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