Week 3: It’s getting weird

Alright so I have been slacking on the posts as of late, but like I said I don’t want to repeat the same stuff every session.  If we make something a little differently or a new dish then I will include it on a post but otherwise I want to focus on other stuff for now.

Week 2 was difficult because several of our students got sick and since we have a small group we are more easily affected.  We had one student whose 2 1/2 year old daughter got strep throat, another who got diagnosed with  walking pneumonia, another who cut herself several times during the first week and then had to go in for stitches on one of her cuts and another who had to leave early several times to take care of her 3 1/2 yr. old.

On Wednesday of last week it appeared I was going to be putting together our part of the meal with only one student.  Then suddenly Luis appeared. They managed to enroll another student a week and a half into the program. Luis is originally from Juarez and speaks very good english.  To be bilingual in the American food industry is ideal.  Plenty of opportunity for latinos that can become managers of less fluent latinos.

Of course Luis came to the program after missing tons of crucial information.  What Luis does have going for him is several years of kitchen prep work (this is also a hindrance because one can develop  a lot of bad habits in that time).

So I was able to put together the dish by giving him a crash course in the station.  Eventually Elle (short for Gabrielle) came back from getting stitches and was able to help us out.  We got the food out but I took a more accelerated  approach to plating than was intended.

Friday of last week was amusing as the students went to the wine room for the  organoleptic wine evaluation with our sommelier Debbie Gray.  Elle who has a low body mass index took in a little too much wine during the tasting and had to be picked up by her boyfriend (literally and figuratively).  I am now calling her LBMI, other nicknames have been bandied about.  The rest of he students came back flush from the tasting and considerably louder than when they left.  They of course went to the bars after.

On Monday of this week we had a new menu that I had yet to teach.  Salad of blood oranges and olives,  Seared swordfish on a bed of gnocchi with a fennel tomato broth and for dessert melon balls wrapped in prosciutto and handmade mozzarella pesto roulade as well handmade ricotta.

Here is the blood orange salad with olives. Very refreshing salad.

It had been  along time since any of the instructors had had a nice piece of swordfish and this one was truly exceptional.

The gnocchi were nice though a little gummy from  too much flour.  The broth was outstanding and the swordfish was very fresh.

I did my cheese lecture in the morning and we decided to add the mozzarella and ricotta demo after the lecture.   Along with the  prosciutto and melon ball  they formed the dessert platter for  our day.

On Wednesday DJ (no he is not a cast member for Hustle and Flow) cut himself badly on the thumb while in Pastry.  He spent a good part of the day with his thumb elevated to stop the bleeding.  He eventually got it to stop and then at the end of the day he cut his other thumb.  Today he came to school with both thumbs bandaged up.  Obviously he is “thumbs” from now on.

This is the last week that we see the previous group of students before they head off for France at the beginning of May.  They casually stroll in everyday slightly buzzed from their tasting and like to loiter around the kitchen.  It is clear that they miss being there and kind of feel like there are aliens in their place.

When I went to culinary school, during the second year of the program we used to come back once a week to the school to take classes or watch demos, but we rarely ever saw the present students.  And boy did we have big heads, as we knew what was in store for them as they entered their apprenticeships.  Those days were special and once a month Jean Louis Palladin used to come in and do a cooking demo for us.  He was an inspiration.

The students in this group seem to be finally coming out of their shell and the weirdness of week 2 seems to be calming down.  Maybe we will able to get into a groove now………..or maybe it will get weirder.


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