Culinary School Here I Come (69) My Last Semester…Hopefully!


Yeah, you read it right. I’m hoping to graduate after this semester but there may be a little bit of a hiccup. I am taking a Culinary Field Experience class and part of the requirement is to complete 225 hours of work experience in the outside world. I was aware of this, however, my counselor made it seem that “they would help place us somewhere”. Well, that wasn’t the case when on the first day, our instructor said, “You will not be able to graduate from the program until you complete your 225 hours. Yes, you need to get a job and sorry that the economy is doing bad so it’ll be harder to find a job.” Well, needless to say I was not happy. After several days of pounding the pavement, I have gone from working for pay to offering my service for free. Guess what…no takers for that either. I’ll keep you posted.

My first class is Purchasing and Cost Control. We are production kitchens for the campus food outlets so our outlets need food ingredients. Have you ever stopped to think about the process? Well that is what we are going to learn. This week was a light week. We got a couple of deliveries so it is important to confirm that we received the proper amounts of the correct product. We will get to that later.

It is important to work quickly when you are dealing with temperature sensitive product. Some of these deliveries are in the thousands of dollars.

Part of our job is to be sure that the product that we receive is in excellent condition. Needless to say that this crate of tomatoes were returned.

So once the delivery is checked in, the order had to be broken up into the different food outlets. All items get priced so we and the outlet operators know what each food item costs. This can be confusing for now but we were assured that it will get easier with time.

Another class is Advanced Baking II. We will concentrate on sugar, chocolates, frozen desserts and the artful plating of it all. In fact, we have a Plated Dessert competition as part of our final. We are starting up with chocolates, which is where we left off. Our assigned chocolate confection is a Milk Chocolate & Praline Bon Bon. We are getting ready for our Valentine’s Day sale. Here we are tempering the milk chocolate by the “seeding” method. The seeding method is the most common and easiest method. For milk chocolate, you bring a portion of the chocolate up to 115 degrees, then seed it with more pistoles and bring down the temperature to 85 degrees. Our first attempt was a failure as we were using a laser thermometer and it wasn’t giving us an accurate reading. Chocolate doesn’t temper properly if it isn’t brought down to the proper temperature. We tried again using a stick thermometer and it turned out okay.

We used polycarbonate molds that needed to be painstakingly cleaned. Once cleaned, we dusted it with some gold luster dust.

Once dusted, it was time to pour the shells.

After the chocolate is poured in. It sits for a few minutes until a slight shell forms. The chocolate is dumped out and the mold is set upside down to harden. It can be a very messy process. As a result of our first tempering mishap, this is as far as we got. We’ll have to make the Praline Cream on Tuesday.

Monday is a holiday so I plan to spend the day looking for a “job”. Wish me luck….I need it.

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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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