Back from my visit at Harvard to see Stephen (hence why there was no day 24… sorry) and I was feeling quite chipper this morning. Chef noticed and told me to go easy on the coffee because I didn’t need it and it was only Monday morning. Thanks for looking out, Chef Dom! Today we were learning about stuffing. Just when I thought that I luckily skipped out of ½ the lecture on Organ meats Friday (yes we made tongue stew, sautéed liver, and fried sweat breads), we still had to make mousseline today! First we started with stuffed chicken though. Chef taught us how to quarter a chicken the correct way (wishbone out first, wings, legs, breast etc). There is a part of the chicken called the “kill bone” which no joke looks like a dagger that you would stake a vampire with! A girl in my class, Josephine, said she wanted to make a necklace out of it! Can you imagine a jewelry line made out of food bones? Every dog on the street would be attacking you just to get their jaws on that bone (count me out! No… I will NOT invest).
Pandora (my partner) was sweet enough to let me quarter the chicken because I missed the first demo on it in level 1 (was too busy traveling to Vegas… obviously worth it). The sous chef of the day was Chef Damien helping out Chef Dominique. Chef Damien is from Dublin, Ireland and has a fabulous accent to go along with it. He was a great help especially when it came time for me going solo on the chicken- like I knew what I was doing HA! I was more lost than a bunch of Japanese tourist stuck in Liberty City Miami looking for Joe’s Stone Crab on South Beach. Chef Damien was trying to make me feel better by telling me I had only messed up the chicken a little bit (how sweet of him—maybe Chef Jeff warned him I was sensitive).
After we quartered our chicken, we only used the legs (we had to debone them) to then stuff them with a stuffing made up of carrots, shallots, sausage, mushroom duxelles, etc. Then we wrapped our chicken’s in caul fat (stomach lining) which looked like a spider web I kid you not. I felt like spiderman having a field day playing with my web. Once the chicken was wrapped in the caul fat and stuffed with stuffing, we first seared it and then let it roast in the oven. We paired it with a red wine reduction sauce and vegetables that were stuffed with the stuffing and had melted Parmesan cheese over it. NOM-NOM-NOM.
After lunch, we made our mousseline or chicken pate out of chicken livers. Chef had us break up into groups: A) clean livers B) Chop shallots C) Gather herbs/ garnishes D) Gather wet ingredients and spices. Since I’m always doing things for the thrill of it, I decided to clean the livers! They were so bloody and gooey and felt as smooth as dolphins (if you’ve ever gone swimming with them). So, yes I opted to feel the slim and cleaned those bad boys. Chef did a demo and then as a class we got to make a few batches of lard, liver, spices, brandy etc. and sautee them before going into the grinder. I let other people do the work while I watched from a distance and snapped pictures.
(Picture 1: Chef Dom doing his demo. From L: Mytree, Daniel, Lashandra (front an center), Robert, Tyler, and Carlos. Picture 2: Xandra working the Pate and Noah (drove me to Boston)
Xandra decided to handle the task of passing the mouselinee of chicken liver through the strainer. Carlos kept saying “Well at least this is going to prepare you for maternity” (in reference to it looking like poop). I kept saying “It’s DOO-DOO baby” imitating Dave Chapelle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh7B7s3-pGs It’s towards the end of the clip). I then got the job of mixing butter into the pate. My right hand kept getting tried, so I had to switch to my “stranger hand” (Chef Damien was dying laughing when he heard me say this). We are letting the pate cool overnight and will try it tomorrow.
For the duration of the class we had a lecture on food costing and pricing. There are 5 basic formulas that will help you determine how much money food costs you, how much you yield, what you can sell the food for etc. There is SO much math that goes into running a business that I was over the lesson before it even started (math is not my bestie). I polietly raised my hand and asked “Chef, can’t we just pay someone to do this for us?” The whole class started laughing even Chef Nic. He replied sure, but that’s another salary right there that you need to pay! Guess I’m not opening a restaurant anytime soon, but will be looking for a mathematician to do my formulas! Heads up people! Not all at once though.