Gotta get ready for week 6 so this will be quick. I like being this busy!

So we talked chicken fabrication already. The rest of the week was very protein filled! We used the pieces from the chickens we broke down, chicken piccata, cordon bleu, two chicken leg ballontines – one rolled and one stuffed, one braised the other seared and roasted respectively, both shingled on the plate all pretty like, pork loin schnitzel with poached egg, anchovy, and lemon caper beurre blanc, grilled steak, seared and roasted pepper steak, parsley crusted frenched lamb rack, lamb navarin (lamb stew), beef rouladen (rolled stuffed steak braised). It was all so delicious! There was lots of technique, both sauce and meat cooking, and lots of pounding with a meat mallet. I’ve got so much baking and pastry technique under my belt, but before this I’d hardly cooked a steak and certainly never really braised anything myself, I really am liking it almost as much as the fun and sweet side of the kitchen. I’ve also been getting better and better at seasoning, though there’s still a slip up here and there.

Monday and Tuesday we had wine tastings after class. Monday was Wines of Italy – lots of earthy reds, and Tuesday was Wines of Portugal – sparklies, Madeira, and Port. It was lots of fun, but I was hoping for a little more serious of an atmosphere, maybe some more flavor identification and matching ideas. I volunteered to help the coordinating chef put out some appetizers at the next tasting so we can really make the most out of it. He’s saying he wants to make it a consistent affair, every two weeks have tastings, maybe even by the end offering up a certificate of sorts…here’s to hoping! This is a great opportunity that I am ecstatic to have, the hardest part to getting to be a wine connoisseur is getting someone to pay for the bottles!

This next week is what the school calls “hell week” though I doubt it will be that bad. We have a day of preparation and then on both Tuesday and Wednesday we have to prepare a full meal for the chef and serve it-plated and all warm. Thursday we have presentations of our group projects and a lesson in egg cookery, and then Friday we join with the other daytime basics class and prepare and serve the school a full breakfast including omelets or fried eggs over-easy, bacon, sausage, pancakes, fruit salad, and potatoes. After service and eating we gut and clean the basics kitchen and then go to a classroom and take a comprehensive (the full 6 weeks) final basics exam. Then it’s happy hour with the classmates!

I am loving this school! My classmates rock, the teachers are bad ass and professional all at once, the material is relevant and interesting, best of all I am given the opportunity to make the most of the resources the school has! Our class has already talked about getting a whole pig to roast and setting up a compost pile or at least an agreement with a local farmer, the potential wine certificate program, extra curricular side classes, also working out an aperitif/digestif menu for the school restaurant…and I bet that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I love waking up at 5:15 and being excited to get out of bed.