Friday, January 25, 2008

I Souffle, You Souffle, We All Souffle

Another week, another set of culinary classes go by. This week's baking class on Monday was a very good one. Learned about pate a choux or pastry dough. Much as I liked the class, my wife probably liked it more. :) For the class, I probably picked the hardest recipe to do that night. It was a 3-step recipe for Paris-Brest:

1. Create the pate a choux and make it into a large donut-shaped ring. Bake it and see the dough rise.
2. Make some praline by using caramel (boiled down from sugar, water and a drop of lime juice) and baked almonds.
3. Make some pastry paste (yummy!).
4. Combine (2) and (3) to make a sort of peanut-y tasting paste that tasted heavenly (at least my wife thought so)
5. Put the filling in between the pate a choux (cut in half horizontally)

In fact, everybody's recipes were all good. Took samples home for the family to taste.

Tuesday was souffle day with Chef Stephan. To tell you the truth, souffle's not my kind of thing--those dang thing deflates way too fast! Learned about bechamel sauce as the base for the souffle. Eddie and I worked on a savory souffle that featured sweet potatoes. Except for some burning on the top of our souffle (the oven's fault), it turned out pretty well--very tasty. Also, we were so efficient that we were the first to finish. Bad thing was, I spent half of the night washing dishes. I was also in charge of kitchen management (together with Alex) and learned about what needs to be done from Chef.

Wednesday's seminar was sanitation (groan!) and it will go on for the next 3 weeks. After listening to Lisa Berger (the instructor), I may not eat out again! Lots of memorization to do in this class. There'll be a certification exam during the last week of this series.

On the job front, I managed to talk to Jeff Pond, a former CSCA grad and now Chef de Cuisine for a new restaurant, Persephone, opening in 3 weeks time. Had a pretty constructive conversation with him--very nice guy. Suggested that I should start with lunch service instead of the more intense dinner service. He's right and lunch service for Persephone would only start sometime in March. So, we're going to keep in touch and he mentioned that I should call him back in late February and see how things are going. Also, I dropped my resume off to a local Maynard restaurant called Blue Coyote Grill. Just called them again to follow up today and Dave, the contact guy said that he should be taking a look at my resume this afternoon. Also sent my resume to a Boston restaurant, Red Sky Lounge.

So that's it for this week. Oh, today's Olivia's birthday (my daughter). We're going to have a joint celebration thingy for both Owen and Olivia tonight (Owen's birthday is on Jan 30th). Owen's getting a Star Wars Lego set of General Grevious and Olivia's getting 3 Webkinz soft toys.

Anyway, until next time.....Allez Cuisine!

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