Class is going well, although it's overwhelming. Home cooking and cooking professionally are two very different things. I'm feeling a little better in class, but I still get a little bit of a nervous stomach every class day. My classmates are good, we are all in the same boat and feel just as overwhelmed. I'm glad it's not just me!
This past Saturday, the school had an open house for prospective students and also we could invite friends and family. There were about 150 people there and we made about 2,300 appetizers to feed them. I was paired with my classmate, Brian. He's young and works in a restaurant, so he's kind of used to the pace of the kitchen. He was a lot of fun to work with. The two of us were tasked with making three different items:
1) shrimp cocktail (shrimp cooked in a court bouillon of water, salt, lemon, pickling spices, white wine and white wine vinegar) with house made cocktail sauce;
2) Blue cheese spread canapes - blue cheese spread garnished with red grapes (quartered) and toasted slivered almonds. The blue cheese spread was on toasted brioche that we had made last week.
If you like blue cheese, pair it with red grapes, the salty and burst of sweet from the grapes is a wonderful combination.
3) Roasted pork belly confit with an apicius sauce. If you've never had pork belly, we've deemed it bacon's better cousin and you should try it. We skewered thick cuts of pork belly confit (essentially bacon), that we seared off and then topped with a raisin, apricot chutney (the apicius sauce). People loved them and they were the first item to go (even before the shrimp cocktail). The salty pork belly with the sweetness of the chutney was so good.
Other than that, I'm learning a ton in school - we've made everything from chocolate tarts to coq au vin to eggs benedict and we have a long way to go. My first practical exam is on Wednesday, where we will have to cook three items for the chef to taste - chef selects what we are going to make. We are graded on taste and presentation. A little nervous about it, but I can only do what I can do. I'm taking Tuesday off of work to practice.
I'll get some pictures up soon. Brian took some of all the platters that were made on Saturday, so you can see the spread. We had good reviews, but I'm hoping we haven't set the bar too high for ourselves!