Carcass. Bones. Knuckles. Spines. Blood pockets. Gills. Thighs. Skin. One might think that I am about to describe the scene of a crime, but no I am not my peeps. These are the things that interrupted all of my five senses, as I walked through the doors into the culinary classroom at 8:45 am. Low and behold today we are learning how to make stocks. Stocks are the essential foundation to making sauces. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse then having to cook carcass, my dearest Carlos comes up to me, “ Wow, Eliana (heavy Dominican accent as he pronounces my name), you look like you had a lot of fun last night.” At first, I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or not, but since my facial expressions can be read like a book, he reiterated what he meant, “You look sooo tired”. Why jeeze! Thanks Carlos for telling it to me straight up.
So, we learned how to make brown, white, fish, and vegetable stock. Each one of them requires a different amount of cooking time and vegetables. We worked in teams of four today. I was with Noah Shapiro, Josephine (who thought Robert and I took her strainer when in reality she had it in HER BAG the ENTIRE time!), and Robert (my sidekick). Noah was great with math so he handled all the measurements while Josephine was rolling her eyes and blaming everything on Robert and I. Robert and I did all the dirty work. We were the ones to cut all the skin, blood pockets, and fat off the chicken bones and then we completely cleaned the fish carcass- took out the eyes (the fish had two eyes on one side and none of the other!) and then clean all the intestines and guts. Thanks to my expert fisherman, Tio Edgar, I knew how to man handle those fish perfectly! Our stocks came out great, but the beef (brown) needs to simmer for about 8-12 hours.
After we learned and created our own stocks, we had an assignment to practice tournage potatoes (the skill I was whining about yesterday- and no I’m still not a sensai master with turning huge potatoes into tini mini footballs with seven sides). We had to first blanch them, then sauté them, and finally roast them. Then Chef Jeff did a power point lecture on what we learned to reinforce the skills.
Chef Jeff antics of the day: He told us he wanted our potatoes to be “Snookie” (Jersey Shore tramp lady) brown. Then he said something to me, but didn’t hear me correctly and thought I said, “I am traumatized”. Instead I said, “I am competent” but he didn’t hear that and made a joke that “I am dramatized”. Also, forgot to mention- I told you he comments and makes fun that I am always leaning on something especially the counter- sorry but standing up from 9am-3 pm with only 30 minute break makes me want to ask myself “What are feet? Because I can’t feel them”. I forgot if I told you this or not, sorry if I did, Chef Jeff asks me “What was your major before this?” Me: “Communications/Broadcast Journalism”. Chef Jeff: “ Nothing with drama in it?” Me: “Well, now that you mention it, I was in drama magnet in school and a theatre major for the first month of college”. Chef Jeff: “Ah-hah, I KNEW IT! I have to introduce you to some people”. Pshhh- don’t hate that I’m the ELLE WOODS OF COOKING SCHOOL. I wish I could take credit for coming up with that, but my friend Sami gave me that namesake- The Elle Woods of Cooking School- thanks doll!
First week of culinary school is done-zooooo. I cannot believe it. I must say I’ve learned a lot, but still have no clue what I am doing. I’ll surprise you ALL, even you Carlos.
Toodles! Have a Yummy weekend!
-EW. (stands for Eliana Wittels/Elle Woods)