Culinary School Here I Come (43) Summer Break…well sort of!

Yes, you read it right, summer break. The catch is I have (had) only 2 weeks then it’s back to beginning baking for a month, then the real summer break begins. It hasn’t been much of a break as I have been working with some out of town clients. I mentioned in earlier blogs that in addition to going to Culinary School, I am a real estate agent. Gotta pay the bills somehow.

So I’ve spend the last few days showing this nice couple some homes in the Upcountry part of Maui. I gotta say that it was nice to spend some time with some non culinary people. Showing homes to these clients were ironic as they were the couple that I scrambled to show homes to the last time they were on the island. It was the first week of Culinary School so it was perfect that they were back immediately after school ended for the year.

Wow, I made it through the first year. It was only 8 months but at times it felt like 3 years. Was it all I expected? I suppose. I really didn’t have any expectations. It was very hard work and I must say that I have a 4.0 GPA to prove it. I also got two culinary scholarships and I’m hoping more is in the pipeline. I took every class seriously and made my best effort to do more than was needed. I also didn’t stop cooking when the class day ended, I tried to recreate items that we did that day or earlier in the week. We didn’t all get a chance to cook throughout the day so I felt that I had to try to make what I wasn’t able to.

Here are some highlights from the year:
I forgot about the Ken and Kendra Show. This was part of our final cooking demo for our Skills module. Our presentation was “Condiments on the Fly” and we did 2 on video and did a live demo of homemade Ketchup.

Our “Iron Chef” day with Chef Tom was a really fun day. Kaycee and I decided to work together. We all went to Whole Foods to get a few special ingredients. We turned out a Skewered Shrimp with a Citrus Glaze, Mango Quinoa and Thai Green Curry Kale. Everything was mostly good except that I used so much Thai curry that is was too spicy. You live and learn.

Tinfoilduck wins big…was the title of my win in Chef Jakes class. Our student day project was to design a menu for sale downstairs in the food court and the winner would be decided on the amount of food sold. Our theme was Everything Broiled…even Dessert. We served a Surf & Turf; Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Mahimahi with Chipotle Hollandaise. Broiled Romaine Lettuce and Mahi Salad, Broiled 3 Cheese & Prosciutto Sandwich, Penne Pasta with Broiled Chicken and Chipotle Cream Sauce and for dessert Broiled Plums, Pineapple & Bananas on Grilled Pound Cake and Tahitian Vanilla Ice cream. Since our win was based on sales, I emailed all my friends and they showed up. We sold 79 items and set a new record. The old record as 60. It was such a stressful day that I wasn’t even able to take any photos of the food so you only have a photo of me! I was in the weeds from the time we opened until we closed.

There were a lot of memorable moments in my Advanced Cookery Class but the one that sticks out as the most exciting is when I worked the Hoisin Glazed Lamb Porterhouse with Asian Mushroom Risotto. That was the only time that I felt like I was in the “weeds”.

I’m sure there were more moments but I’m keeping it short today.

I was pretty proud of myself this past week. Part of being a chef in training is to push the limit is foods that you know and are comfortable in preparing. What happens if you are on an episode of Chopped and you have a Sea Cucumber in your mystery basket? So, I decided to confront the venison that I had in the freezer from Chef Kyle. The first obstacle was to figure out what cut it was. Fortunately, it turned out to be the tenderloin. I decided to marinate it in red wine, apples, onions, prunes, thyme, rosemary and lavender. After marinating overnight, I removed it from the marinade, dried it and browned it. I then put it in the oven to internal temperature of 140 degrees. I then took the marinade, added some chicken broth and reduced it down, strained it and finished it “monter au beurre.”

I set it on a Shiitake Mushroom Polenta. It truly was pretty good, if i do say so myself. The meat didn’t taste gamey. It tasted like pork. The sauce was rich and savory thanks to the prunes. I’m now ready for the Chopped venison challenge.

To celebrate the end of the semester and a treat before baking class begins on Monday, Tfoil is spending the weekend on Oahu. Party time!

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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