Culinary School Here I Come (71) Surviving School and my Externship(s)


After a mild panic attack, thinking that I would never be able to accrue all 225 hours of work within the semester, I think I have a plan that may get me to 250…not that I’ll do 250 but just sayin. I’m divvying up the hours as follows; I’m doing an internship for one of our chefs….that should get me to 9 hours, I’m working at a local bakery starting at 8:30 pm….that should get me 5 hours and I’m also working at a local resort….that should get me another 6 hours….totaling 20 hours for the week.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, I’d like to tell you all about a book that I’ve been reading for this Work Practicum class. The book is called Tasting Success by Charles Carroll. I really think all culinary students should read this book as part of their first semester reads. It teaches you how to become a chef the correct way; good work ethics and habits. Best to develop them now before you develop bad habits.

I really liked some of these quotes; “If you are fifteen minutes early, you are already 30 minutes late. ” “I remember when I was in college, I used to watch Julia Child’s cooking show during dinner and joke with my roommates about becoming a TV chef.” Martin Yan, “Attributes of not being lazy is so admirable. The world is full of lazy. The world is full of mediocre.” “Possess uncompromising levels of follow-through.” “Complete each task above and beyond all expectations.” “If your attitude is just to peel carrots, all you will end up with is orange hands.”

Back to my externships. My first night at the bake shop was okay. I got there at 8:30 pm, which is almost bed time for me so there was a bit a dread hovering around. My first task was to slice and load up bananas for banana cream pie. The chef made 2 batches of pie crust and for a while I thought I’d have to roll out 50 pie crusts. Fortunately for me, they had one of these contraptions.

I love learning about new equipment, especially when it makes tasks easier. I’d invest in one but it would take up too much counter space. It’s as close to magic as you can get.

11 ounces of flaky dough goes in.

The magic happens now.

I cranked out 50 or so of these puppies within 10 minutes. It would take me a few hours to roll out each individually. This machine does save time. I googled to see how much one of these puppies cost. I found one similar at about $2,500. I think this one has a few more bells and whistles.

After I was done with the pie crust pressing, I made a batch of pastry cream.

This was going to complete the banana cream pies that I helped get ready. When the pastry cream was done, I was done for the night. I’m curious to see what I’ll be doing next week. Also, next week begins my externship at the resort. I won’t be naming any of these places because I’d like to protect the innocent.

In Advanced Baking II class we continued to work on chocolates for our Valentine’s Day packages. Once again my partner and I table tempered mild chocolate to produce the “letter” component for our love letter chocolate. Spread it out evenly and when the timing is just right (which is where all the problems exist when you don’t know exactly when the timing is right), cut and chill.

Next week should be more exciting. We move into the sugar section of class. Pulled sugar, blown sugar, rock sugar, bubble sugar. I’m sure I’ll have lots of info to share.

My task for the next few weeks in Purchasing class is to be responsible for inventory. Not fun but it has to be done.

We started with the paper goods, then dry goods…or sundries as they are called. The other class did the cans and take out items. We then followed up with the refrigerated items and in the spirit of sharing, we left the freezer for the other class to do. Poor things, the refrigerator was cold enough.

One of our bigger assignments is a research paper about a topic and how it affects me as a purchaser. I was going to do mine on software analysis systems for the Point of Sale systems. Loads of time can be saved if these programs could help in menu engineering and profit/loss reports. I did change my mind when I was a program on the CAS system of freezing. CAS stands for Cell Alive System. The Japanese invented this. I don’t know too much about it yet, I guess that’s the point, I gotta learn about it. Anyway, normal freezing causes cells of burst because of crystal expansion, the CAS system does not cause the cell to burst. An example was shown of frozen Ahi, when the conventional frozen ahi was thawed out, there was a lot of liquid from cell burst. When the CAS system ahi was thawed, it was as if it was still fresh. No extra liquid. Fruit and vegetables can be frozen without damage. This could be big! Keep you posted.

Since I’ve been pretty busy with school, I haven’t had much time to cook or bake until today. I’m stocking up for the week so I made a bunch of turkey and cheddar croissants to grab and go. I wish I could say I made the dough but poppin’ fresh is good enough in a pinch.

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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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