Last week we began cooking through France. But before we began french cooking we had more lecture on our Externships. We discussed a few key topics regarding the Externship. We discussed:
- What to Bring and wear
- What a typical trail includes
- Why you should always taste
The highlight of the lecture was that we were able to have the dialog with a chef that has decades of experience of owning a restaurant and having hundreds of externs throughout the years. Chef David Waltuck was the Chef and owner of the famed Tribeca restaurant, Chanterelle. What a treat to hear it straight from someone that hired people like me in industry.
What To Bring
For the trails, we were instructed to show up in street clothes, never your chef whites. WE are going to work in a clean kitchen, and wearing the clothes that you have worn through New York City, on the buses in the cabs, you get the drift. We were told not to bring our entire kit of over 80 items (me estimate). Instead, only bring the most common items, because you want to be prepared, but you don’t want to bring so much that you can’t keep track of it.
- Chef knife
- pairing knife
- honing steel
- bread knife
- note pad
- pen sharpie
What a typical trail includes
- A typical trail included showing up on time, not too early so that you are not in the way, but not too late, that you don’t have time to change clothes and still be on time
- Write down instructions when given, so that you don’t have to ask them to repeat it, throughout the day. However, always ask for clarification, to confirm you know what the chef is asking for
- Follow the instructions, whether it is to just observe, or peel potatoes. Do as you are directed as best and efficient as you can.
- Work Clean
- Thank the chef after the clean up and the end of the shift, and discuss the possibilities of an externship
What a typical trail includes
Always taste the food. We are cooking, and you don’t know how it tastes unless you taste it. When the chef has you taste something, they are not having you taste because you look hungry, they want you to taste so that you know what dishes are supposed to taste like. So picky eaters need not apply.
After the great lecture on trailing and externships we got into french cooking. Module 3 is all about international cooking and we are starting with France. We started with Normandy and Brittany with heavy dairy dishes.
Homard à l’Américaine (Lobster Stew in a ring of Rice Pilaf)
Côtes de Porc Normande Pork chops with Calvados Cream Sauce
Souffles d’ Alenconen Timbales ( Cheese Souffles with mushroom sauce)
Alsace, Lorraine, and Champagne
Then we headed to Alsace, Lorraine, and Champagne where the dishes are heavy in pork.
Choucroute Garni was the kitchen sink dish with all types of sausage and saurkraut
The region is also has fresh water seafood, so we made a trout dish and since it has a heavy German presence due to its location we made Sautéed Trout with Riesling Cream Choucroute and Späetzle, the German pasta.
Tarte Flambé (Pizza dough with onions, bacon, and a cream sauce)
Quiche Lorraine was delicious and I was proud to be the person that made the crust of Pâte Brisee.
Tarte aux Pommes de Terre
Next stop the land of duck and game meat
Cassoulet was super heavy with beans, lamb stew, pork, duck, and sausage. And yes, that is duckfat,a and finally we topped it with bread crumbs.
My favorite was the Salade Cévenole a salad of duck confit with red cabbage, chestnuts, walnuts, and watercress. This dish was delicious and not nearly as heavy as everything else.
Poulet a la Basquaise was of the Basque region
This was a late post, but, just when you think you are at full throttle with school, they switch gears, and go into Nitro. What was Nitro from? It was one of those car racing games that we used to play on Nintendo, that had you going super fast already, and when the opponent came up on you, you hit the Nitro button if you didn’t use it all. I digress. We have started to cook in a brigade, I’ll explain how that looks in the next post.
Next up we have finished up French cooking, and have moved on to Italy, but I will save that for the next post, but, we did get to make several pastas already, and it was a blast. Stay tuned.