culinary school- week 15 - GRADUATION!! (138 lbs)

Gosh, I'm not quite sure how to even begin to describe the mayhem that was Week 15. We had been assigned to teams of 4 during the Thursday of Week 14. Dan, Derek, Jonathan and I had already begun (collaboratively) sketching out the recipes and menus for what would become our practical exam. For 3 consecutive days we would be executing our menus and serving them to the public during seatings that were staggered every 20 minutes. Each seating was peppered with smatterings of restaurant professionals. Because each team's menus were placed randomly at each seating, one never knew if their food was being served to a high profile chef, or to a classmate's kid brother. Our 3-4 course menu (plus fresh breads, amuse bouches and intermezzos) had to change daily, while meeting a lengthy list of ingredient, budget, skill and technique requirements. There were lots of other complexities thrown at us; last minute 'wild card' requests for vegetarian menu items, cakes with icing, the killing and cooking of live lobsters, etc. Each team sent one member out onto the floor to serve during the day's meal. My turn came during the dinner service on day 3, when I was assigned the judges' "table" (a cloth-covered pastry making station with 5 plastic bar stools). The layout was cramped and the traffic flow awkward, making it difficult - no, impossible for me to serve some of the distinguished guests without brushing my bottom up against the backs of some of the other distinguished guests....

I did make myself a necklace in honour of the evening's activities. I've since decided that it is my graduation gift to myself- surely I deserved something, having missed honours marks by a piddly 2.75%.

Somehow, we all survived (and didn't make anyone sick). Wednesday night ended with most of the class crowding into a bar, drinking many libations and blowing off a lot of steam.

Final Practical Prep

Final Practical 1 (First Lunch)

Final Practical 2 (Second Lunch)

Final Practical 3 (Dinner)

Massive Cleanup + Food Prep for Graduation

Graduation Ceramony

culinary school- week 14- (138 lbs)

Really down to the home stretch now....

Pastry 3

Industry Day (Guest Speakers)

Final Theory Review

Final Theory Exam (3 hours in morning)
Final Practical Exam Prep (afternoon)

Day off (coming in on Sunday, instead)

One of our assignments for Pastry 3 was to make a 'Genoise Cake with a German Butter Cream Icing'. An additional component to this excercise was to construct 'coronets' (parchment paper piping bags which we filled with melted chocolate) in order that we could practice decorating our cakes with text and drawings. Chef Ian was clear in his instructions: no licking of spoons or fingers, and no inappropriate language on our cakes.

My classmate Jowen, though never one for profanity, definitely errs on the side of mischievous. The parameters of Chef Ian's assignment evidently inspired him, as illustrated by his birthday cake (below).

culinary school- week13 / part 2 - (139 lbs)

With my post-flu legs holding me upright with little more stability than those of a new born colt, I returned to class just in time for Week 13. Because my taste buds were still shot, I relied heavily on the palates of my classmates to decide on spices and seasoning. The week went as follows:

Asian Menu Development Day

India Buffet

Black Box Exam (Think 'Iron Chef' in 2 hours, and by yourself)

Thursday: (Food Costing Project-1)
Herbed Quail with a Balsamic- Demi Reduction + Roasted Squash Caponata & Basil Apple Salad
Trout Cakes with Fennel Slaw + Minted Salsa, Asian Tartar Sauce & Fried Ginger Threads

Friday: (Food Costing Project-2)
Grilled Quail & Rillettes + Fennel & Carrot Slaw
Ballontine of Cornish Game Hen with Date Stuffing + Braised Leeks & Basil-Lemon Basmati Pilaf
Poached Apple Tart with Crème Patissiere, Toasted Almonds & Blueberry Coulis

Grilled Tofu & Mushroom Skewers

Trout Cakes w. Fennel Slaw & Minted Salsa

Herbed Quail w. Balsamic-Demi Reduction + Roasted Squash Caponata

Ballontine of Cornish Game Hen with Date & Cashew Stuffing

Poached Apple Tart with Crème Patissiere & Blueberry Coulis