Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A quiet moment

Somehow it's finals week of my third semester of culinary school. At the same time, it seems like it was just yesterday when I returned to school to embark on this exciting, humbling, and rewarding culinary adventure.

I haven't written a lot about my time at school yet.  In truth, I've been holding on for dear life as I race from one commitment to the next and navigate the journey of a big career switch.  Blogging may have taken a backseat to these endeavors for now, as I search for quiet moments in between six classes, restaurant work, volunteer opportunities, and general to-dos. But I'd like to think that late night hours practicing the perfect buttercream for a test or executing plated dessert components for a project are ultimately in service of the blog.  

While I wish I had more time for blogging, I've calmed the antsy writer in me by reflecting each day in the form of many scribbled notes in various Moleskin notebooks. To me, having a Moleskin in my pocket in the kitchen is as essential as having a sharp chef's knife.  I've amassed quite a collection of them during my studies, full of recipes, methods, and advice from my chef instructors: ("Hollandaise is tricky.  You can be comfortable with it for years.  Then one day, when you need it the most, it breaks on you.")   It's true that I may have a bit of a writer's Moleskin addiction, but I'm also making it a priority to look up, put the pen down, and enjoy the ride.  I spent my fair share of time daydreaming about attending culinary school, and now that I'm finally here I feel very lucky.  

Learning this trade is a lifelong process, but school is providing me with an excellent foundation. I've learned a lot of "secrets" of the industry that will be of practical use, the behind the scenes nuts and bolts that will help me go into any kitchen with confidence. And luckily for the blog, since chefs are not like magicians, we're actually allowed to reveal at least some of our secrets.

The pictures above are from a la carte dessert day in our Baking 2 class: devil's food cake with balsamic soaked strawberries, chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream, and a tuile garnish.  The secret trick is to scoop the ice cream in the freezer and leave it there on a parchment lined sheet pan until it's ready to plate so it doesn't start melting on your dinner guests.