Today began our week working with a partner at one kitchen station making two of the same category dishes. For example, if you are at the pastry station today you made pate a choux and apple tart. I was at the poissonier station, so Jack and I (my partner) made the skate in a buerre noisette sauce with capers, lemon, and croutons along with the Oratta or Barramundi with the Sauce Americane. We all had to make the sauce Americane yesterday for our second mock midterm, but this level is all about learning how to cook consistently very well. Therefore, a lot of the dishes are repeated, but require the necessary essential skills for making pretty much any dish.
Jack and I work very nicely together because he actually enjoys having a built in radio station. He is super laid back and very go with the flow. I was afraid I would be too overpowering, but I think we balance each other out. When it comes time to plating, I am all over his behind about bringing the plates in on time, when normally he wouldn’t realize that we need to put the pedal to the metal and run our engines into high intensity. Both of our dishes turned out fabulous! A lot of the critiques that chef gave us about our mock midterm, we tried to correct them. I still haven’t managed to get reheating my mussels at the proper temperature in the shells because some were hot and then some were cold. A lot of times in the kitchen, we pre cook the food and then right before we are about to serve it, we reheat it to ensure that the food is hot in order to be served. Jack and I also both forgot to sprinkle our herbs into the sauce before he laid it on top of the fish, but luckily Jack came up with an ingenious plan to put the herbs in the leftover sauce and then just add a little of that on top of every plate giving it the illusion that we had herbs in our sauce! Smart and resourceful man that Jack is!
Chef also had one to one meetings with us today about our progress these last two weeks in level 3. I was for the most part very happy with the feedback and agreed with chef on many accounts. My flavor profiles are there, I have a great spirit, I am eager to learn because thanks to my mom she now knows now that I had no prior cooking experience before this, I nail the dishes most of the time, and she enjoys my good attitude. What I DIDN’T like is that she said some of the sous chefs who have worked with me before say I complain a lot and I am not focused. I was utterly confused because I thought that I have improved SO much! I think it was Chef Chris who was always in our class level 1 or the other chef that witnessed/caused my meltdown in level 2 final (not Chef Dom) over the Crème A’langlaise who told Chef Veronica about me. How annoying because they have preconceived notions about me being a pain in the butt and are spitting it onto Chef Veronica like poisonous venom from a snake. (Disclaimer: I don’t know which Sous Chef told Chef V, but it has to be one of 4). She could tell that I was less then pleased about this and then told me to be open about criticism. I am open, but it knocked me down a little bit because I really was making an effort to be more focused and on point this level and here they go raining on my parade. I should have started singing ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ from Funny Girl by Barbra Streisand. Maybe that would have showed them or actually showed them how unfocused I really am. Wahh!
Today we began prepping for tomorrow’s station where Jack and I will be moving onto the sauicer station to make Poulet Grand Meire (Grandmother’s style chicken) and Beef Bourguignon or to use American terms “Beef Burgundy”. We had to make our marinade, so that the beef could soak up all the juice and get drunk in the red wine. Chef Veronica today told us her whole life story, well pretty much relating to her life as a chef and painter. The only reason why she opened up was because I mentioned to her, after our elevator ride where she told me some information about her personal life and life as a chef, that everyone in class should be privy to this information. Now, not that we all didn’t admire here before, respect her so much more and loved getting to know her more on a personal level. Her passion for teaching is so obvious its wonderful to have her as a mentor and teacher.