Culinary School Here I Come (40) Week 15, Au Revoir French Menu, Ai Pono Awards & Silliness.

Amuse Bouche – Roasted Kabocha Pumpkin Bisque with Prosciutto Crisp & Creme Fraiche Swirl.

This week was a short week of service for us. We had no school on Monday as all the culinary students worked on the Ai Pono awards (see later) and Friday was Good Friday, so Wednesday was our only day of service and the last day for the French Influence menu. Our stations did not change so I won’t bore you again with the Vol-au-vent but here are a couple of photos from dishes that I didn’t get to show you last week. A bientot mon ami.

Confit de Canard – Sous Vide Confit of Duck Leg with Dried Cherry Jus, New Potatoes Lyonnaise & Parisian Fennel and Orange Salad.

I can sometimes be a wealth of random information. I am also taking a Food Science class in Nutrition and have a few interesting details to tell you about. First, water covers about 3/4 of the surface of the earth, of that 3/4, nearly 97% is salt water, therefore only 3% is fresh. Of this 3% of fresh water, only 1/4 is available for use, the rest are located in polar and glacier ice. Useless information, perhaps.  Second, Does your pee smell funny after you eat asparagus and does it affect all? Yes and no. If you can smell the sulfur containing compound excreted in urine, then you are the 1 out of 10 people born with a gene for detecting the odor of the 4 in 10 people who excrete the chemical compound. Useless information, perhaps. Finally, in less than 10 years, you will be able to go to a lab and complete a set of genetic tests to identify your personal disease susceptibilities and will be armed with a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid to help prevent your disease. Useless information, I think not!

I mentioned earlier that all the culinary students worked the Ai Pono awards. Maui No Ka Oi Magazine honors the best in the culinary world on Maui with these awards. It is also a benefit for the Maui Culinary Academy so our attendance was mandatory. Personally, I think there were too many people around. Anyway, I was a server and was pretty underwhelmed with the food, I gotta say. First off, the “professional” kitchen staff didn’t prep enough Ahi Carpaccio, so they were scrambling to make a couple extra for my team and for another 15 or so orders. If your count is 273 then prep for 280, not 260. The Beetroot Sorbet was a bomb. I didn’t get to taste, but most came back uneaten. I even asked the Chef of the Year Award winner Sheldon Simeon what he thought of the sorbet. He said it was way too salty to be a palate cleanser. The main course was a Seared Sea Bass and Braised Short Ribs. Both were served on super hot plates which caused the sauces under the proteins to melt, turning the dish into a swimming pool of ingredients. By the time I walked out from the service station to my table (hand carry military service), everything had slid around and the two different sauces blended into murk.

Just a few of the winners:

Restaurant of the Year – Capische at the Hotel Wailea

Best New Restaurant – Star Noodle

Chef of the Year – Sheldon Simeon – Star Noodle

I must check out Star Noodle next time I have a house guest.

There was one little pet peeve that I must get out of my system. The awards were held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Wailea. One of the highest end hotels on the island. The tables were beautifully set and there was a beautiful flower centerpiece…

…but why in hell did they allow this centerpiece to be topped with this dead reed like stick?

Did anyone notice this but me? So much for attention to detail!

A lot of planning goes into my nonsense. I did need a cue card for this production of Seasonings, Flavoring and Aromatics.

As you may know by now that I’m a bit of an overachiever. Case in point, we are 2 weeks away from end of the semester and I am all done with assignment and tests in my Nutrition class and just waiting to take the final. I’ve submitted every assignment due in my Supervision class except for my final power point presentation on Stress in the Workplace and How to Relieve it, and of course, my final exam. So, I’m in prep mode for Summer session. Yes, I will be attending a quick 1 month Beginning Baking course.

Isn’t this book beautiful? I got my book already and have begun my reading. I’m happy that I’ll be doing this over the summer because; 1. I won’t have to be in class at 6am (start time during the fall). I slide in at a comfortable 8am. 2. Done in a month. 3. I’ll be able to take the complete Advanced Baking I & II and graduate in 2012. It’s expensive though but hopefully the scholarship that I’ve just been awarded will help cover it. Yes, I will find out on May 3 what scholarship I received and how much. I will definitely update on that. Dinners this week were interesting. I re-purposed some of the mushroom sauce I used for my Vol-au-Vent into this Pan Seared Salmon with Mushroom Cream Rigatoni and Steamed Broccoli.

I picked up some Italian parsley and Arugula at the Farmers Market so I decided to make an Arugula and Parsley Salad with a Lemon Vinaigrette to go with the Beans & Onions and Panko Crusted & Baked Chicken “Fingers”. I prefer to bake these and not fry but I can never get the panko to brown. Until, today when I was watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen. You just brown the panko in some oil and seasonings before breading. Can’t wait to try it next time.

I wish I could get paid based on the amount of words that I write. I’d be a millionaire. Next week, Italian Influence. I wonder how lucky I will be. Will I avoid the dish pit again?

About tinfoilduck

I had this wacky idea to go to culinary school, while maintaining another full time career. I will be blogging about the program and how it affects me as I try to manage my daily life and how I try to keep everything together.
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