I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to write this blog as I lay recovering from an exhausting week. No one told me that I’d have to work this hard in culinary school. I’ll get to that later. We started to work on ice creams, gelatos and sorbets this week. My group was assigned to make a basic vanilla custard base. Did you know that traditional ice cream doesn’t use egg yolks. Those are called custard based ice creams. I never knew that. There are 2 methods of preparing a base for and ice cream. The first is the classic method. It’s comparable to preparing a creme anglaise. The classic method is best used for ice creams that use eggs as emulsifiers or ones that do not use stabilizers or powdered emulsifiers. The second method is the modern method. This method is best for bases that contain powdered stabilizers and emulsifiers. They don’t dissolve easily in the classic method. The base is the liquid form of the ice cream before it is churned. The base needs to age for a few hours to a day to allow the fats to crystallize properly. I wasn’t in class on Thursday so I wasn’t there for the “spinning” demo so I’ll follow up with that at a later date. The spinning or churning is the phase that freezes the base and incorporates air to the proper level of overrun.
We use a refractometer to measure the concentration of sugar in a liquid. The refractometer measures in Brix, which 1 degree Brix = 1 % sugar. In sorbets, we are looking for 32-36 degree Brix so that would translate to a solution of 32-36% sugar. I’ll get into more detail in another blog.
In addition to school, I spent most of the week working at the Grand Wailea Resort. It’s a huge behemoth of a facility…at least getting to and from the main kitchen.
The Grand Wailea is a busy place. They hired a bunch of temporary hires to help them with several big functions. Banquet Event Orders (BEO’s) explain exactly what is needed for a particular function. The highlighed items are items that this particular department (banquet food) is concerned with. I spent the week chopping for hours. Not just 5 or 10 pounds of product, but cases and cases of stuff. zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, onions, red peppers, mushrooms, etc. When the chopping was done, it was time for assembly. On one day, we spend 2 hours plating 4 different types of salads. My count was 1600 servings. The people in banquets are fast and have to be fast. I’m not sure if that is a place that I’d like to be for an extended period of time. Maybe a week or so. Preparing the same stuff over and over seems rather tedious to me. My takeaway from the week was realizing that you spend 8 hours of your day at work. You’d better like where it is or what you do because it can get tired fast.
This was our Sunday night event held outdoors for 1300 guests. I worked an action station making garlic fries. I wondered why there were little brown spots on my fingers the next day. I finally realized it was from the hot oil splattering and melting my latex gloves onto my skin.
I got my first paycheck for 3 days. With taxes taken out, I averaged about $100/day. Hmmm, not sure if that number is gonna work for me. Yes, you gotta like where you’re at since you spend 8 hours out of your day. You also have to say to yourself, “Is $100 worth it to me per day to work at this job, doing the tasks that are assigned to me?” With that said, I was glad that my gig was over. Sometimes you have to work at a few different jobs to settled on what you really want to do. It was fun to be out in the real world but it’s time to be back in reality.
My externship at another resort felt much more relaxing. They have this huge dough sheeter that they never use. I spent Friday at a more relaxing pace. We were just getting the desserts ready for the Friday night buffet. I also helped out making lady fingers, peeling bananas and chopping a whole case of dates. That was a pain in the butt. It took me at lease 1 1/2 hours to do that whole case. I had a huge headache midway through and had to stop!
As a memento of one of my busiest days this past week, I’ve compiled a video entitled, A day with the Duck! Be sure to click back to my blog or you’ll get lost.
With school and all of my working/fellowships/externships, I haven’t been able to cook as much so I decided to make some Chicken Parmigana with a Basil, Parsley, Spinach Salad with Kumquats.
Now I can finally go back to my crazy schedule instead of my super crazy schedule. I got a couple of research/power point presentations to prepare in the next two weeks. I hope to be churning some ice cream and gelato next week and who knows what else!