Culinary School Here I Come (51) Summer’s Over New School Year Begins


Aw nuts, boy did summer fly by. My last week of vacation was spent entertaining an out of town guest and working on my yard. Now it’s back to school time.

One of my classes is a Beverage course. I’ve picked up this little tidbit…The next time you sip a glass of Dom Perignon, you can thank the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon.  He didn’t discover sparkling wine, however, he was among the first to blend different grapes and he invented the bottle that is still in use for sparkling wine…way to go Dom.

My only class on M, W & Friday is Advanced Baking I. It starts at 7 so I get up at 4:30 to check email, stretch and do a little work out before I have a light breakfast, shower, then off to class. 12 students in class so that is the right size for me. I only know 2 other people from my Beginning Baking class over the summer so the first day was a bit awkward. We got separated into groups for the whole semester. I don’t know the two other people I’m with but I’m sure you’ll hear a lot about them.Focaccia is being stretched into place.

Our first week in Baking was spent brushing up on breads. We were able to work on a few on Wednesday. We first made Focaccia, then made some wonderful Sourdough, some baguettes and my group was responsible for Whole wheat and grain bread. We panned up and baked them all except for our whole wheat which we will be working on this Monday.

After Adv. Baking on M, W & F, I will be a “fellow”, “assistant”, or whatever you’ll call me for one of my favorite Chefs at the Academy, Chef Tom Lelli. He is the new Chef at the Class Act. The Class Act is a restaurant staffed by the students. Some students work the front of the house while other students are in the kitchen. You can look up some of my prior blogs on Class Act. This should be an interesting experience. I get to learn but don’t have to be tested. My task for the day was to make a brown chicken stock. Wednesday was flavor profile day so Chef Tom assigned each of the groups a style of cooking (French, Italian, Thai, etc.) The students were to make a braised chicken dish with ingredients that matched the flavor profile they were assigned to. As an example, Chef Tom and his assistants (us) demonstrated a Moroccan Chicken Tangine dish.

Flavor profile for Moroccan cuisine include; preserved lemons, olives, cilantro, ginger, coriander, cinnamon & cumin.

So I got home from school and found on my desk a letter from the Les Amis d’Escoffier Society of Hawaii. My goodness, I forgot that I submitted by scholarship application last month for a $1000 scholarship. It was the most time consuming application to fill out and submit.  I had to write 4 different essays, which was easy for me since I’m used to 1500 word blogs. Piece of cake! Anyway, to my surprise, I was awarded the only $1000 scholarship given. Cool! Now, the first thought was, “Was I the only applicant?” Who knows, I got it and that is all that matters. They are now going to fly me to Oahu to present the scholarship to me at a special dinner. I was also told that I will be spending the day with the Chef’s preparing the dinner. Cannot wait. You’ll hear all about it.

Another one of my classes is Garde Manger. It means “keep to eat” or in modern terms, cold pantry. This includes soups, sauces, stocks, salads and other cold items. Our first day was setting up for the two cold soups we would be making on Thursday. We also started our “Garnish of the Day” which was carving a flower out of a carrot. Some were more successful than others.

Chef Craig carved this crab for us. Don’t ask me how.

On Thursday, our groups were responsible to produce and plate 2 cold soups. vichyssoise and tomato basil soup. We also had to clarify chicken stock using the clear meat method. We also had to produce 3 different emulsified dressings. We didn’t get out of class till 6:30. Boy was I beat.

Vicyssoise garnished with chive oil and fried leeks.

Tomato Basil Soup garnished with garlic crostini, diced tomatoes and basil.

I’m assuming that the first week was designed to be light. If that is the case, school is going to whoop my butt big time this semester. 1 week down, 16 to go.

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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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