Day 41: Three Months in, Already?
Going into my third month and wanting to pass out thinking about how in a month I'll be half way through with my program. With every new level comes a new chef and a new kitchen. Chef Veronica is her name and floor 2 kitchen is our playground. I got to the kitchen earlier than usual, so that I could introduce myself and then tell Chef I won't be coming to class on Friday (mini-trip to Miami for a wedding). I'd rather not have to take off a day in the first week (trying not to get a bad rep with chef), but I have no choice- I'll deal with losing the 8 points for my absence. Now, before coming into level 3 many people warned us about Chef Veronica's antics (stern, loud, yells, hard on you), but I must admit I LOVED having her today. Not only is her humor right on par with mine (... and my brother Stephen's), but she kept me on my toes, didn't make me feel bad when I asked for her help, and made me laugh constantly without even trying. I'll dive deeper into her humor in a bit. I also LOVE that she speaks clear English and is extremely stern, but fair. I know it's only the first day, but you know what they say, first impressions mean a whole lot.
I started off in the garde manger (appetizers, salads) position today. In level 3, you rotate all week with your team of 4 people doing 4 recipes (garde manger, poissonier, saucier, and pastry). Every day you rotate and switch, so tomorrow I will be at the poissonier station. For the garde manger position, I had to make a chicken consommé with vegetable garnish. Making a consommé isn't all that hard, but for some reason for me when it comes time for the broth to form a raft, mine always gets stuck on the bottom. I went about my business trying to stay with all the other 3 garde mangers who were on different teams and made sure I was doing what I was supposed to. For each position, we must present 4 dishes at whatever time the chef asks us to be done at. Basically, we don't have all day here. When Chef Veronica came over to check on my consommé and see that the raft was properly forming, I closed my eyes and just waited for these words to come out of her mouth, "I'm afraid you are going to have to start all over". START ALL OVER! NOOOOOO! Chef are you sure? There has to be some way we could salvage this consommé (picture me on Grey's Anatomy as one of the resident nurses begging the doctor to figure out another way to save the patient). She said, "Ok, maybe if we lower the heat, the raft will form up". Low and behold, the raft formed and it's all right because I was saved by the bell! I was so happy, I asked chef for a hug, but I got shot down when she said, " It's a little too early for that". HAHHAHA she is so not the show affection type of gal. So, no I didn't have to start all over, but I did have to begin my vegetable talliage.
The vegetables included carrots, turnips, peas, and green beans needed to be cook A'langlaise and then shocked into ice water. My talliage was a HOT MESS! I did not have uniform pieces and when chef saw, she pointed to one out of 80g worth of veggies and said, "This is a macedoine cut, the rest I have no idea what it is". I tried not to chuckle, but I had to agree with her! I then cooked my veggies and let them chill in the ice water bath. Apparently, I didn't need to keep them chillaxing in the water for all that long because chef said, " The vegetables are not vacationing in Florida- take them out" (hahahaha). I strained my consommé, degreased it, seasoned it, and let it cool down. Then I had to reheat the veggies in the consommé stock and then poured the veggies in a bowl with the cleared consommé broth. I was pretty please with my performance, although we had a major almost hiccup along the way.
To present to chef you need to bring up four plates or bowls on a huge serving tray. Yes, the tray that waiters use in restaurants! Heavy is an understatement! The tray was so heavy that I was afraid I was going to spill the broth everywhere. I scurried over as fast as I could over to chef and dropped the tray down. Phew- that was a close one! Worst nightmare would be dropping that tray and soups splattering everywhere. She said it was seasoned well, but my talliage needs some work (duh!). After all the plates were presented, we were able to have a mini break at 1:45! We had to wait till 1:45 to eat lunch, but honestly I didn't even have time to realize I was hungry or that I hadn't sat ALL day! After our short break, chef gathered us all around to try the pastry dishes and discuss/comment on them. We each had to try each person’s pastry pie- Apple tart. By the end of it, I got so full because we had to try everyone’s Chantilly cream. When it came time to tasting Zandra’s Chantilly cream, Chef was choking claiming she felt as though she was drinking the entire bottle of vanilla extract! Haha made me laugh. See what I mean, chef is a riot and doesn’t really know it. She gave us a tip- to always try our food before we serve it. She claims she’s a big advocate of “popping things in her mouth”…. That’s what she said.
Can’t wait for tomorrow- I’m at the poissonier station!