Friday, December 14, 2012

Culinary School: Week 15

It's over! My first semester of culinary school is over! I almost can't believe I actually did it. But then I look at the grease burn scar on my forearm and scar I have on the top of my middle finger from the time I nearly cut it off, and then it becomes real again. It's physical proof that I did it.

This week in classes I had finals and catering events. In baking for my final practical exam I had 4 hours 45 minutes to make a batch of dinner rolls, a dozen ginger molasses cookies, one pound of creme anglaise, a pumpkin pie, a pie shell, a batch of eclairs and creme puffs filled with pastry cream. For some dumb reason I forgot about my baking pie during the practical and it was completely over cooked so I had to remake it. The eclair dough didn't puff up in the oven so I had to remake that as well. In the last 15 minutes of the practical I was literally sprinting around the kitchen. I pulled my remade pumpkin pie out 2 minutes before the time was up.  It was a beautiful thing, I finished! In cooking for the final practical the chef gave us two components of a dish: sole fish and beurre blanc (sauce) - we had to make a meal including a starch and a vegetable to go along with our fish and sauce. We had 15 minutes to plan our entree using what we have in the kitchen. Before we started we had to turn in the name of our dish so that the chef could see how well we stuck to our plan. I decided to make a pan seared sole fish over vegetable couscous topped with lemon beurre blanc and toasted almonds. It was a really good dish with lots of flavor, and it was cohesive - I was completely thrilled with the outcome.

I have learned so much this semester. More than I've learned in any other semester of school. I soaked in all of the lessons and tips and techniques like a sponge. My cooking habits and skills have begun to evolve, I feel more confident experimenting in the kitchen and have learned to trust my own instincts over the instincts of the person who wrote the recipe. Culinary school has taught me a lot about myself. I have experienced frustration, and anger, pure excitement and joy. This program has brought out a lot of good in me. It has helped me to realize that I can be a leader. And that I can do hard things. I was pushed to the edge of my comfort zone, and to the brink of exhaustion and I was able to come out feeling successful and improved. I gained 10 pounds, I learned to poach an egg and how to fillet a flat fish. I learned how to make buttercream frosting and baguettes. I learned that simple is usually better and that almost everything could use a little more salt. With the first semester of culinary school coming to a close I look forward with excitement for what's next.

Final Practical Exam Plate for Cooking
Final Practical Exam Tray for Baking

1 comment:

  1. you are SUCH A ROCKSTAR. i am so proud of you!!!!!!!!!