Thursday, April 10, 2008
Thanks to Chef Brown, Chef Perez, Chef Reyes and all of the amazing chefs that I have met at Kitchen Academy. I've learned so much from all of you and can't wait to get back and finish up school and then set the culinary world on fire.
Thanks to Janet, Amy, Miriam, Shonna, Jennifer and everyone at Kitchen Academy for helping me out so much. You guys rock!
Thanks to my classmates;
Ricardo (It was great being your partner.),
Eddie (Stay away from cocktails that contain cobra venom.),
Chanell and Hazel (Can't wait to eat at Chanazel!),
K. (More than one person in class said my milkshake was better than yours but I won't mention any names. Good luck with the cookbook!),
Amy (So quiet but so talented!),
Janet (The smallest chef with the biggest heart!)
Lisa (You are amazing. Thanks for being so supportive!),
Joya (I can't wait to attend one of your catered events!),
Lauren (I can't wait to find out if you rock as hard as your food is tasty!),
Stephanie (The only person in class with a dirtier mind than me. Thanks for that!),
Julia (The speediest cook in class. Can't wait to see you on reality TV.),
Vicky (You know this is coming...You are the BOMB!),
Smackee Jackee (We met during orientation and I can't imagine class without you. Love your cooking and your spirit!)
I can't wait to see you all graduate (I will definitely be there) and then hit the real world running. You all are going to be great successes!
Thanks to all of my friends and family that have given me so much support.
A special thanks to Josh and Travis for letting me crash in their pad while going to school. You guys are amazing and I couldn't have gotten through these last three months without your interest, your encouragement and your support. I love you guys!
And finally an extra special thanks to Drew who gave me this opportunity to get a real glimpse of my dream and that glimpse has set me on the path to achieving it! I love you.
Check back in the fall to find out what finally happens on Day 61!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Next came Bouillabaisse with Rouille.
This came out great as well. I could have simmered for another 5 hours but I thought it came out pretty tasty. The last dish I present in PCA2 would be Lamb Shank Provencal.
This dish is pretty simple to prepare as well. It just takes a lot of time to braise. Lamb is another meat that people find gamey and unappetizing but it is really fun to take a tough or cheap cut of meat and turn it into something delicious. Both chefs thought my lamb came out great.
So at the end of the day we got our grades and an exit interview. Chef Reyes showed me my report card and I ended up with a 92.23 which is a solid A. He said that I was only 1 of 4 students in the class to get an A. He said Chef Brown grades really tough and I should take it to heart that I'm doing very well. Chef Reyes' only concern for me is that I need to get my head out of the recipe book and cook with my heart and my passion. Recipes are simply guidelines and do not have to be followed to the letter. I think the reason I do that is because I'm not familiar with a lot of these dishes and really want to use the book as a safety net but knowing that these incredible chefs have put this much faith in me, it'll be easier for me to take some risks and cook with my heart instead of my head.
I can't believe how far I've come in just 60 days of school. It's been an incredible journey and one I should have taken long ago. Next week is spring break and then we start day 61 in the baking lab. Our first day will be Pretzels and Whole-Grain Bread.
Next came Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura. This is a pretty simple dish. You clean the shrimp and cut the vegetables and then make a batter, dip and deep fry. This picture came out blurry but I'll show you anyway.
Chef Brown ate an entire half moon onion so I feel like this went over well too. Last came Pan-Roasted Duck Breast with Spiced Butternut Squash, Roasted Plums and Plum Gastrique.
It's scary how much I like making duck and making the sweet/sour gastrique. This is probably one of my favorite dishes to prepare because duck is not the easiest cut of meat to work with. It's very fatty and gamey and you really have to be patient with the cooking process for the skin to come out crispy and the meat to come out flavorful. Both chefs liked this dish so I feel like today was a pretty successful day.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
First up is Grilled NY Steak cooked medium with Sauteed Broccolini and Bordelaise Sauce.
The grill wasn't working so we had to pan fry them but it came out fine and the sauce was very yummy. Next up was a Grilled er Panfried NY Steak cooked medium rare with Red Bliss Smashed Potatoes in a Bearnaise Sauce.
This actually came out so nice that it got wrapped up and brought home for dinner. It's amazing how tasty you can make a potato by layering the components. All in all I think steak day went pretty well. Tomorrow is Miso Soup, Tempura and Duck.
I'm not sure this picture does this justice but it came out quite nice. I'm not a big fan of fish soup but I'm pretty sure the chefs approved.
Next came Salmon en Papillote with Fingerling Potatoes. Fennel, Olives, and Teardrop Tomatoes. This is a dish where you put everything layered in a parchment envelope and add some white wine. You put it in the oven and the wine steams everything so the fish and the vegetables all comes out very light and flavorful.
I made a little mistake on this. There is a sauce that is made from the juices in the bottom of the bag after cooking. I misunderstood and had to create an entirely new sauce (not pictured.) The new sauce came out fine but it wasn't as complex as the sauce should have been. I still think it went over okay.
I'm not sure what the chefs thought about it but I pretty much devoured it after I was done. I know a lot of poeple have a problem with Brussels Sprouts, but if you blanch them in boiling water and then cut them in half and crisp them up in some bacon fat, you might change your mind.
The second dish required today was a Sauteed Halibut with a Potato and Artichoke Gratin, Spring Onions and Fines Herbs Beurre Blanc. We had to fillet the fish and then get cooking.I'm pretty sure I got the smallest halibut in the world so my fillet got kind of lost on top of the Gratin, but I was really happy how this dish came out. The Fines Herbs Beurre Blanc was probably the best I've ever made. I'm pretty happy with my cooking for today.
Over the last 15 days I've fabricated Salmon, Shrimp, Crayfish and Squid. I now feel like I could be a major food provider if ever cast on Survivor.
Throughout the last 15 days I've prepared Curries and Lambs, Potstickers and Spring Rolls, Lumpia and Dim Sum. On days 47 and 48 we prepared and served our Barbeque Buffet. There was Mac n Cheese, St. Louis Ribs, Santa Maria Tri-trip, Hush Puppies, Beer-battered Onion Rings, Baked Beans and all kinds of other delicious Barbeque foods. It came out great.
I've also learned how to make a lot of simple but tasty Hors d' Oeuvres and had a simple Tapas party on Day 55. Tapenades, Pates, Terrines and Gravlax along with cheese and sausage we had made the day before. Everything came out really nice.
Day 56-60 is our finals and then PCA2 will be over and we have a week off for Spring Break.