I'm back! I'm in my second week of Phase 2 of my classes. What does this mean? We're building on the techniques that we learned in Phase 1, making our dishes more refined and elegant and continuing to learn. My Phase 1 exam was challenging (putting it mildly), so it'll be interesting to see what Phase 2 holds.
Also, I have to start looking for an interviewing for externships. My original plan was to do hotels - a little more structured, but the more I think about it the more I realize that I will never learn in a hotel what I will learn in a fine dining place. Even if I don't do restaurant after graduation, the experience will be invaluable. So, I'm sort of starting from scratch, researching chefs, restaurants, etc. It's been a long time since I applied for a job and having to do a whole new resume highlighting my culinary "experience" was interesting. Luckily I have my personal chef stuff, although even that is pretty slim.
So, what does this have to do with the title of my post? Nothing much. However, in starting to think like restaurant chefs, we are starting to think about using everything in the restaurant - it's called utilization. So, last week we butchered down ducklings, taking out the offals, the liver, gizzards, etc. Don't throw them out - they can be used. The original application that we made was seared duck breast with a sweet and sour sauce. I think I've mentioned before that I'm not really a fan of duck. It was ok - a bit chewy for my liking.
Last night then, we did utilization - we made a frisee salad using duck livers and gizzards that had been confited. To confit is to cook something in it's own fat, so if you're in a French restaurant and get duck confit, you are getting a duck that has been submerged and cooked for several hours in the oven in it's own fat. A delicacy, I guess. We cooked the livers and gizzards in duck fat last night and then served them on a salad of frisee, watercress and radishes. It's then served with a warm vinaigrette. Not as bad as I thought, but I'd never order it in a restaurant (not that I've even seen it).
I'm sorry I didn't get a picture, but we were rushed at service time, so I didn't think about it.
Til next time!