I know it has been a bit of a hiatus, but I have been in reflection of the final lessons of culinary school and post culinary school.  In the past months after school, I have been in the Union Square Events prep kitchen every weekend.  More to come on that awesome experience.

The final weeks at ICE (Institute of Culinary Education) included our lesson on fermentation, curing, charcuterie, and hors d’oeuvres.  We made so many things that I have always been curious about but never had the nerve to order on a menu.  I was always curious about the charcuterie plates of various forcemeat and sausages.  Forcemeat is a mixture of lean meat and a fat emulsion, so if you have had a terrine, or even a pate, then you have had forcemeat.  Oh sausage typically counts as well.  I will be making my own sausage for my recipes that call for sausage soon.

We tea smoked chicken and marinated fish and smoked it.  I have to say, I didn’t think I would like the smoked fish but, I really enjoyed it.  I want to try it on my own very soon.  Smoking is a great healthy way to eat your proteins.

Pairing this Apple Fennel Salad was amazing with the smoked fish.  The salad was a simple mix of sliced up head of fennel sliced up or julienned tart apple, olive oil and lemon juice.  I know, its so simple, but amazing.

If you are looking for a way to prepare duck, besides confit, or pan roasted, making it into a pastrami is a really cool way to have duck.  The Duck and all of the smoked items are a lot of work for likely a delicious sandwich, but delicious nonetheless.

I look forward to practicing charcuterie trays on a smaller scale for dinner parties.  One of the final lessons we had in the culinary school was remaking famous and super talented chef dishes, using all of the skills that we had been learning and practicing in class.
We made dishes from Thomas Keller, Marcus Samuelsson, Anita Lo, Eric Ripert, and David Waltuck.

Plated Perfection

We made a play on the Thomas Keller Per Se Salmon tartare with creme fraiche and sweet red onion cornet, and it was funny because just like a week or two prior, I treated myself to a dinner at Per Se, so when we got to make 1 of the several courses of the dinner, it was like I was in on a secret of the restaurant world.

I was introduced to the sous vide technique in making some really tasty dishes.   We learned a lot about plating and making multiple plates to look exactly the same.

One of the trickiest things to learn was to prep the food, without over cooking it, and keep it hot for plating and serving.

We learned the magic of a waffle chip in making this duck dish.  This dish had duck sausage, duck breast and duck confit, a nice light dish. 🙂

Chef Anita Lo’s fois gras dumplings were rich and delicious.

Making the meatballs and arancini, and pork buns made me feel like I was cooking for a catering event, so that was really exciting to prepare, since I want to grow my skills into high end catering.

We had the chance to be mad scientist and play with chemicals to make spheres with fruit purees.

Final Practical Exam

The final practical exam included a fish dish and cooking a filet medium rare, I impressed myself by being on temp.  It was awesome bringing everything that we learned together


It has been quite a ride.  Thank you for joining me on this journey, it is only the beginning, but I have enjoyed every class, every early morning, every exam, and practical.  The chef instructors were great, and the facility at ICE was outstanding.  I have no regrets, except that I did’t take this leap sooner, but everything is a lesson, and I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue my passion.  Some people don’t realize their passion to have the opportunity to pursue it.  I have more to share, I spent a few months working with a great team in one of the best catering  kitchens in New York City, and I will share that awesome experience.  Until then, follow me on instagram.