Since this is in the past, I'll publish a month at a time to make it easier (for you and me)
June 1, 2004
Master and Commander No more; maybe of fava beans!
Well today was my first day of free labor. Well at my other job that I hold I "command" a crew of up to 7-8 people to do my bidding. It was kind of strange to be the low man on the totem pole and know absolutely nothing.
Kinda learned where eveything is, stuff for cold app, hot apps, veggie and all that. Prepped some chives, strawberries. Learned the difference betweek Daikon sprouts and Arugula sprouts. Cut some bread for croutons. An oh I peeled lots and lots of fava beans.
I read how many chefs only order from the best purveyors. So I guess someone has to prep all that stuff if it does not come out of a can.
Then I learned a lot of the students are going arrive to do their internship ill prepared. So hopefully this will get me to be a leg up on those people.
We'll see how it goes tomorrow.
June 2, 2004
Stuff I learned today:
1. Debeard mussels
2. Stuffed some piquillo peppers with brandade.
3. Learned what brandade is.
4. Made 100 toasted bagels topped with pesto, sauted fennel bulb, and supposed to be thinly smoke salmon and garnished with a little chervil.
5. Folded some pot stickers.
Man slicing that salmon so that it is transparent, whew that's a pretty tough task for a newbie. Believe me it was not the knife either. The sous chef showed me how to do it with my knife. Then after I got frustrated the chef let me use a sashimi knife and then another flexible slicer. Still my cuts were like 1/8 inch thick, insted of 1/24th. Oh well, I will just have to practice my knife skills at home.
Then I folded (attempted) to fold some pot stickers. I always read the the dishwasher probably knows more than you (me-newbie). Well our dishwasher showed all of us how to fold the potsticker. That was one of the most frustrating things I have done yet. So I gues I will have to buy some now and practice a home.
Dim sum anyone? Take care
June 9, 2004
What I learned:
I learned that old people like me need to be in better shape to stay in this game (and who are not sick and dehydrated). My frickin' shoulder was tired after whisking like 12 eggs.
I used to do San Shou. A form of Chinese kickboxing similar to Muay Thai. Damn I am tired. So tomorrow I will update my journal with more details.
June 10, 2004
Things I learned today at the restaurant:
1. This I kind of knew. I made a marinade used traditionally for bulgogi (Korean BBQ) but it was going to be used to marinate Kobe Beef instead
2. Blanche Fries: I am so used to the term blanche, to boil something in water like veggies, bacon. I knew you were supposed to cook fries twice. I guess almost everything is cooked close to completion and finished off when the customer arrives.
3. Roasted some plum tomatoes.
4. To use the steel after most cutting jobs.
5. A tomato is a fruit, but I guess to paraphrase: because someone did not want to pay taxes on it because all vegetables are taxed. And that genetically it is a fruit, but the US Supreme Court ruled that everyday use is as a vegetable even though it is a fruit, so one has to pay taxes on it. Or something like that...
6. How to make our Caesar salads and green salads
7. The proper whisking technique so my shoulder does not get tired. (Have not mastered this one yet)
8. Used a food mill to make mashed potatoes
9. Breaded some croquets
10. Learned some of the side dishes (pea sprouts, arugula)
11. Learned an appetizer (mussels and clams in a white wine sauce)
12. Always use hand towels to grab any pot or pan.
13. I am going to have to do more shoulder exercises to get in shape!
Tell you about the wineries we went to today later!
June 13, 2004
Lodi Winery Visit:
For those of you unfamiliar with the Lodi region of CA, it is as far North as Napa/Sonoma and if you go east from there its about an hour away.
If you get a chance visit the Jewell Winery:
They are only about two years old. They do not grow their own grapes, but buy the best grapes in bulk and make their own wine.
Unlike Napa/Sonoma where you have to pay for most tasting its free. We got to try at ALL the wines, it was 11 overall. They are missing the port and the Barbera from the website.
I really like the style. All the reds were smooth, not too many tannins. Even though most were young they were very distinct the Petit Syrah smell STRONGLY of blueberries and the Merlot had some definite pepper to it.
The best thing all the wines are 9.99 or less, except the Barbera which was 19.99. And with 12 bottles or more a 25% discount. So we bought 12 bottles for gifts and ourselves for about $100.
I know you can buy Charles Shaw for $1.99 and the Syrah made the last cut at the international wine competition in NY, but my pallate does not like that wine.
June 14, 2004
First day of class.
I am glad that it does not look like there are any really young students in my class. Its a pretty small class only 10, I think. There is even a married couple in the class. The younger guys all seem to have experience somewhere.
I on the otherhand was the trivia master (so I hope I did not look like a big nerd). ie. I was the only one who knew who Careme', Escoffier, James Beard were and the name of Alice Waters restaurant. I even knew that Jeremiah Tower was an apprentice there (100 extra bonus points :)
I do not think that there are other people interested in French cooking as much as I am. We shall see. So we did a little history and cleaned up the herb garden.
THEN I had to drive 30 miles to cover the luch shift for a couple of hours then drive back to my other place of work until 7:45 pm and now I gotta do homework.
Whew! with my day starting at 5:45am, its been kinda long.
Till next time!
June 15, 2004
Today we started by working on the garden. I never thought this would be something I would do while in school, but I guess we have to get fresh herbs from somewhere!
So we learned about 150 basic ingredients terms inpreparation for the product ID section. Then we started the ServSafe section. Dry stuff, but a necessary component. Common sense for the most part. Our teacher said he would give us $5 if we could beat his score of 98%, so we shall see.
Then we sampled a French menu the older students cooked. Rabbbit, escargot, vegestable soup. It was OK, but who am I to complain? If I was at a restaurant I would not have been happy, but I know they are learning too. Besides they used canned escargot?!
At the restaurant:
1. Made my first pastry ever: Apricot tart with a honey glaze and them made apricot custard.
2. Actually made chicken stock for the first time.
3. The chef and I washed all the dishes because the a.m. dishwasher called in sick.
That's it for today!
June 16, 2004
Another dry day of ServSafe. We had fun though. The class which is down one already seems to be gelling well. The one guy who dropped really did not fit in. He honestly said when the Chef asked him why he was there, "I have no idea.!?!" He did not even taste any of the food yesterday. Oh well, good luck to him. I hope he finds himself.
Anyway who eats walrus on the continental US? It was mentioned that undercooked walrus meat can give you trichinella. Eskimos?!
So today we ate a beef stew, cream of cauliflower and shrimp and scallops over hollandaise. The beef and soup was undersalted, a little salt added. Hmm so much better. The scallops were cooked perfectly.
Have you read "Soul of a Chef?" It is really good. I want to be like Chef Thomas Keller, maybe in 15 years. Its not too far away I could sell my first born for an apprenticeship. We'll see what the wife says.
Did I mention these 15 hour days suck?
June 27, 2004
We have an assignment due Thursday to create a menu for out imaginary restaurant. The final goal of the project is to determine cost and price out the menu. Most of the recipes are from "Professional Cooking" by Gisslen since they are already costed out, but I have used some reciped from the French Laundry, Farallon, the CIA and Cafe Boulud. I would like to do more, but finding the prices for some items is difficult.
APPETIZERS AND SOUP
Purée of Green Pea Soup with Mint Cream
Salad of Belgian Endive, Scallops, and Walnuts
Potato and Leek Soup with Sorrel
Asparagus and Lobster Salad
Escalope of Salmon and Sorrel
Roasted Monkfish Wrapped in Proscuitto
Crispy Sea Bass with Spices and Coriander Jus
MEAT AND POULTRY
Herb Roasted Squab with Mousse of Foie Gras
Lamb Medallions with Thyme and Garlic Cream with Zucchini Sauté Provençale
Roasted Rib Steak with Golden Chanterelles, Pommes Anna, and Bordelaise Sauce
Duck Confit and Salad of Mixed Cabbage and Apples
Roast Loin of Pork with Sage and Apples
Sautéed Veal Sweetbreads and Shiitake Mushrooms
Vegetable Ravioli in Lemon Grass Broth
Eggplants Bayaldi with Sautéed Mushrooms
Chocolate XS Cake
Truffled Crème Brulee
(Pleasse order 20 minutes in advance)
Chilled Melon and Mint Soup
Three Courses 25, Four Courses 35, Five Courses 45
Tax and gratuity not included. Private dining rooms available. Kindly note that an 18% service charge will be added to parties of eight or more. At Sensations Restaurant we request that all cellular phones be turned off during your visit.