Week 2 started with a drive back into the city. I love to get in early and walk thru the empty halls of this awesome facility. Setting up my station and the even the dish washing station gives me a thrill. Call me corny, but what I realize is that each time I learn something, I get so excited, even if I am struggling with it, I am smiling thru every bit of it.
I was able to get a lot of studying done for my first exam, traveling back from Florida for my day job. With the threat of the Nor’easter I was determined to get back home early. So rather than get on my flight that Friday morning, I went to the airport Thursday at 4:00PM and waited for a 7:40PM flight to be sure I would be in class on time. I made the flight, although it took me to JFK instead of Newark, but whatever, I dodged the storm. I took my exam on food safety and herb identification on time with my class and we will see the outcome this week when we get our grades back.
Bad photo, I know, but I was so excited at school, I forgot to capture it. I’ll do better going forward.
Stock or Broth
Since we are medium dicing everything in site, this week we used the scraps of the potatoes to make mashed potatoes, or potato puree. We learned that you have to cook the potatoes past where you think you should. Cook them until they are mush, and then you add butter and cream. This was the first thing we actually were able to cook and prepare in class. I used the food mill for the first time, that was exciting. I was surprised our chef instructor didn’t give us a recipe. Rather, he told us we were learning about taste, and not a specific recipe, so I went to town. I can tell, I am going to need to add more salt than I think in my recipes, because I thought my puree was pretty good, but once I put more salt in as chef instructed…new level.
I was so excited to learn how to break down and “fabricate” fish. I was less grossed out than I expected, and I can’t wait to practice again. I learned what a fumét is, its a stock. We learned how to use all of the vegetable scraps (except potatoes, no starches in stocks), and once we broke down the fish we used the heads and bones to turn the vegetable fumét into fish fumét (click the link for the James Beard recipe), fancy right?
Finally, one of the unexpected highlights was the Culinary Management class. The 4 hour lecture was a great surprise in understanding the importance of good leadership in your business. What we learned about leadership reinforced the skills and tools that I sharpen daily in my day job. I am excited that that skillset will be helpful in my culinary dreams. I think Culinary Management course work will be in my future.
As I write this I am preparing to head to the city for week 3, and I am so excited to see what is next to learn this week. If you missed the beginning of this journey, please take a look at my week 1 post