Saturday, November 20, 2010

Poultry Practical

Phase 3, Week 2, Day 10

Practical menu for today:

Plate 1
Turkey Scaloppine w/ a Mushroom sauce
Potato Croquettes
Mixed Green salad w/ vinaigrette dressing

Plate 2
Poeler Duck Brest with Bigarade sauce a Gastrique
Gratin Dauphinoise
Sauted tourne of Cucumber

I still have not mastered the element of heat or sauce making. Two MAJOR things I need to accomplish and be able to do well before I leave school. Most of my sauces either break, where the oil separates from the main liquid, or I over reduce. Concerning heat, I have no control. My stuff is either not brown enough or burnt. WTF! It's not that hard, but for some reason I can't get it. URGH!!!!

In general, most of my dishes are typically "good with nice flavor", but I'm not really sure what that means. Is that like "Yeah, it's good, I'm not going to send it back," type thing or does it mean "it's good, I'd come back to eat here again."

I'm also trying to work on my plating and presentation, but chefs have such different opinions on what looks good. There are modern styles and classic styles. I don't know which is the right way to go. It boils down to two basic camps: 
  •  all garnish should be functional and edible, but not always required if dish is done properly
  • garnish is a requirement and should reflect herbs in the dish (ie; NFG , Non Functional Garnish)
The garnish debate is annoying to me because Chef Tim and Chef Bruce are exact opposites on this concept. I don't think our grade is reflective of the garnish, but I wish we could get some more ideas of NFG besides putting a bush of rosemary on my dishes. I tried a lemon spiral on my salad today and both of them scoffed at it. I mean what's the difference between a bush and a peal? I got props for using a bit of salad to top my duck. I guess I'll need to do some research to see if I can come up with a compromise.

Turkey- Could have used a bit more color
Sauce- Broke (having major issues here!)
Croquetts- Good seasoning, a tad too much pepper

Salad- Very nice vinaigrette, less on the plate with more height. Didn't like my attempt at garnish...

Duck- Good flavor, but should be served medium. A bit over done.
Gastrique- Very good flavor, over reduced
Dauphinois- Very good, nice color and texture
Cucumber- Good

Again; good over all. No grade yet.

Salad with a twist

Turkey Scaloppine

Poeler Duck with Gastrique


  1. I'm glad I discovered your blog this past spring. I will be devoting most of next year studying at a culinary institute in Toronto, Canada and I look forward to reading more about your experiences. All the best!

  2. Thanks! Good Luck! I hope my experience has helped you to know what to expect in school. All schools are different, but the concept is similar. Let me know how you do when you start.

  3. Thank you. Your blog has definitely been a source of information and inspiration. I appreciate all of your efforts to post updates on a regular basis. I also enjoyed reading about your experiences at work. I've also finally gotten around to reading Michael Ruhlman's book, The Making of a Chef as well. My classes start in January. I'll let you know how things are going. Congrats on your article too.

  4. Another book you should check out is Daniel Boulud's "Letter's to a Young Chef". It's inspirational! I was very surprised to find out Chef Pierre knows Chef Boulud personally and has sent members of the STL Club's kitchen to stage (intern) at Daniel NYC. Very cool!! I'll try to post more about work. I've been having an amazing experience there.

  5. Thank you for the recommendation. More entries about work would be great. I'm familar with Boulud's book, although I haven't read it all the way through yet. Chef Pierre knowing Boulud personally is indeed very cool. Boulud is also a prominent character in the non-fiction book by Andrew Friedman "Knives at Dawn: America's Quest for Culinary Glory at the Legendary Bocuse d'Or Competition", as is the renowned chef Thomas Keller. That's also a very good book about the culinary world.