Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Day Seven – 2 more sauces and 2 soups

Ok I officially know why it’s so hard to get 2 basic sauces done and 2 soups by 10pm…utter chaos.

See at home ones ingredients are all relatively close. Not to mention when you make your vegetable soup, when was the last time you weighed all your ingredients? Yeah…we all just go “Ok I’ll chop some onions, celery, carrots, potatoes etc..” Not so in school. Allow me to elaborate….

5:50 pm – All students enter the lab and begin setting up their stations – cutting boards, pots and pans et al.

6:15 pm – Chef Instructors begin their lectures and demos.

6:45 pm – The ingredient cupboard is brought out from the walk-in. This contains 80% of what we will need. Spices are usually above us on our prep shelves or over on a counter clear across the room.

6:50 pm – 21 Students make a dash for said cupboard on wheels.

6:51 pm – The first toes are stepped on…no I mean literally.

7:00 pm – Most have their ingredients – But wait they must all be weighed. The food is here and the scales are way over there! The cold stuff like milk is in yet another refrigerator. It gets better…there are only two ounce scales for 21 students all weighing numerous items – 4 oz onions, 2 oz carrots, 2 oz celery, that’s for the first dish. Then you need another set for a different recipe. Let’s not forget the flour, the oil, all must be measured or weighed. No eyeballing here! This can take an eternity!

7:25 pm – While preparing the first dish the chef begins to demo the next dish. Time for multi-tasking! You have to make the one you’re working on while watching the LCD monitors so you can make darn sure you didn’t miss a special technique. Nothing worse that hearing the Chef call out “Ok? So you do that you’ll be marked down. Is that clear?” and we all yell out “Yes Chef!” and ask the person next to us…what did she just say? Hoping they were paying attention. I mean come on! I have 2 pots on the stove, prepping veggies for another 2 recipes and measuring and weighing…..and I have to listen too?

7:45 pm – Chef yells out that it’s 7:45 to monitor our time, no dishes presented after 10pm and you still have 3 dishes to make – “Yes Chef!” we all yell enthusiastically.

8:00 pm – Everyone desperately trying to get their first dish ready to present.

8:10 pm – The first crash is heard. It’s a pot that fell on the floor from the dish station because someone was too lazy to rinse and wash it and just left it there along with a MOUNTAIN of other dishes. Needless to say we’re all awake now!

8:30 pm – First dishes are being presented and judged. It’s a mad scramble back to your station to start your next dish. But before that you have to take your dishes to the wash area and clean your station. Your station must be free of clutter and debris.

8:45 pm – There’s measuring, chopping, slicing, questions, dish grabbing, stirring, sautéing, more questions, whipping (of sauces not students), straining (again food related not nerves), pureeing, blending, cleaning, plating, eating (if we’re lucky), demo’s, station checks, tasting, sweating (both students and veggies), caramelizing, weighing….and this all happens in about 15 minutes. I would like say breathing…but at this point it’s too much effort.

9:00 pm – Chefs are calling out we have 1 hour to present our dishes! There is like 3 second pause while everyone looks at either their watch or the clock on the wall to verify and then frantic cooking continues.

10:00 pm – All dishes (hopefully) are presented and the clean up begins. We have some on dish duty, some on stoves, and others on station checks to make sure they have everything for the next day. (Would be nice if the class before us did it for us….but that’s what makes us cool and them..well not so cool). And then there are a few who just sit around and don’t do anything and watch us all bust our humps. (Karma baby….just remember karma will come for you…)

10:45 pm – A debriefing by the Chefs and we all say goodnight.

11:00 pm – Mass exodus for the door.

11:10 pm – For me…1.5 hour drive home.


Tonight we made Bechamel Sauce, Veloute’ Sauce, Cream of Tomato Soup and Cream of Mushroom Soup. I got high marks on all 4. The highest you can get is a 20 and no 20’s have been handed out yet that I know of. But I love a good challenge! I got a 19 on both my soups. I don’t know about my sauces because they were not taste tested by the Chefs. They were looking for consistency because we needed the Bechamel for our tomato soup and the veloute’ for our mushroom soup.

I think I shall save my mushroom soup and use that this weekend. I’ll add some braised beef done in a merlot, pearl onions and make a heartier soup out of it.

All in all fun night, busy, but fun.


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