Tuesday, June 06, 2006
I came, I saw, I rocked lobster tails
I spent a grand total of 15 minutes last night looking over my notes for both classes last night. At the end of the 15 minutes, I realized that I could not remember a single word of what I had read, and my sinuses hurt. At that point, I gave it up. I decided to rely on the tried and true method of winging it. Not exactly my most brilliant thought, considering all the blood, sweat, tears, and whining I've put into the last 10 weeks...which seem like a 100. I sort of relate it to dog years or the scenario that the Dining Room instructor puts forth. He says "back in the kitchen, the clock moves in real time. Out front, where the customers are waiting, the clock moves 4 times faster than it really is. People think they've been waiting for 15 minutes to half an hour, and in reality, it's no more than 5-10 minutes." Hmmm...wonder how he would handle The Restaurant at the End of the Universe? Probably all entrees would take 42 minutes.
The finals were a breeze (at least that's what I'm thinking now!). A 50- and 40-question multiple choice test respectively. This book learnin' stuff I can do. At the end of the kitchen swabbing down, we get something called a CAST sheet. Have no idea what the acronym means, and no one seems to have ever written down. Essentially, it's a listing of the basic skills you are supposed to have accomplished during that particular class. The chef/instructor will sign off on each of the skills as proof you have demonstrated mastery of them. If you fail to sufficiently master your tasks, you have time to prove them over the next classes. Chef said these are just areas we need to work on, and that each of our subsequent classes will review our deficiencies and help us get them corrected. I mastered all of my domain except for sauces. No big surprise on that one...having a sauce that tastes like dirt does not win you points. However, I was pleasantly surprised that he passed me on my knife cuts. I thought I did crap for knife cut...heck, I DID do crap for knife cuts. But, who am I to argue with the man?
I had thought about my strategy to avoid pots and pans by dawdling over the test, but after I finished the dining room test, I decided to get the pain over with as quickly as possible. Lucky me, no pots and pans...oh, no, I get to clean out the walk-in refrigerator under Chef's beady eagle eye. Nothing like hanging out in a 40-degree cooler for 3 hours. And then, Chef selects me and a couple of others for the special task of shelling some ginormous lobster tails for some event he's doing. these things were huuuuge--at least 12 ounces or so per tail. And, he wanted them removed from the shell intact. Try wresting with a large, semi-frozen cockroach in a 40-degree cooler. We lost feeling in our hands several times and had to go out and warm up...which always runs the risk of being snagged by another chef and set upon an other "special" task. The fun never ends.
We also had to unbag some foie gras and cover them with milk, which draws out the blood. I'd never seen foie gras before, and was surprised at how pale it is. When I think liver, I think dark, red-brown, but this was a pale tawny/taupe color. Chef is going to butter poach the lobster and roast the foie gras. He's going to serve a medallion (hence the reason we had to get them out whole) of lobster and a slice of foie gras atop a poached pear. Sounded pretty yummy to me.
No major excitement during the kitchen clean up. The chick from last quarter, who seemed to have"forgotten" her bra, had on a bra and an undershirt under her white t-shirt. Oh, did I tell you that Merlot was back? I can't remember. Anyway, she's evidently still her old fiesty self. She and Chef 2 were going at it during the clean-up. I think it was partly about washing pots and pans was not what she was coming to school for, etc., etc. Chef 2 pointed out that there were people there who were graduating, this was their last day ever, and they were washing walls and floor and de-greasing the range. Chef should have his hands full with that one next quarter.
A bunch of us went to a Mexican restaurant up the street and hoisted a margarita and a few chips to the end of the quarter. I came home and pile up in the lounge chairs outside with a book and a passel of poodles. And, that's exactly what I'm going to do tomorrow as well. I may dust and do some laundry, and then I may not. It's gonna be "myyyyyy daaaaayyyy!"
We're out of school until June 26, so posting may be a bit sporadic. Who knows? I might get jiggy with it and actually practice making sauces. Right. Who am I kidding? The Man will be lucky to get Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Or is it Cheese and Macaroni? A question for the ages...