My students get creative

I can’t believe we have begun a new class at Cook Street.  On November 30th, 20 new students began the wine portion of the program.  On January 4th in 2010 we will have a student who pulled out of our present program join us again which will make it 21 students or 7 students for each instructor in each rotation. This class size will become a new record for me.

Meanwhile the students in my present program are struggling to keep their energy level high enough to finish out the course.  Nonetheless, the students in my present rotation have stepped up to the creative plate and have come up with some good presentations.  In the final Hot Line rotation I like to give my students a little more freedom to express themselves within the confines of our dish.  They must use all the elements that are intended for the dish but how they are arranged I will leave up to them.

We teach component cooking at Cook Street which means that if you know the techniques of a roast or sauce or purée then you can apply them to any similar ingredient.  The goal is to have our students learn how to cook without recipes and to understand the techniques used in any dish and the proper cooking method to apply to any ingredient.  Once they are liberated from the constraint of a recipe they are free to create within a framework of flavor.

My composition of the dish for the Deepplate Blog:  Bacon wrapped roasted venison loin with chestnut and butternut squash puree sandwiched between potato crisps and served with a sauce Grand Veneur

My plating of the dish for the Deepplate blog: Bacon wrapped roasted venison loin with chestnut and butternut squash puree sandwiched between potato crisps and served with sauce Grand Veneur

The students plating of the same dish

When he had our morning meeting we discussed the dish and Jordan suggested that we add some texture to the dish so we brainstormed a bit and came up with the idea above.  Alan also suggested we sear the bacon after we wrap the seared venison loin so that we could serve it with the loin.   We had not used this technique when we made the similar dish for 180° dining and consequently had to remove the undercooked bacon.  You could tell Alan had been thinking about this for a while and he was able to come up with a solution.  I’m always happy to see when the students start to think critically about a dish and come up with better solutions.

The previous day I let the students loose on a beef tenderloin dish and this is what they came up with.

Beef a la Bordelaise with asparagus and pommes frites

We have our next 180° Dining event coming this Thursday and the theme is a French Christmas dinner.  Christmas and New Year’s eve dinners are when the French pull out all the stops.   The following week I will be back on TV demoing some of the same dishes.  You can catch me on the 8am news on the Deuce and on Fox 31 December 19th.

My present group of students graduate on the 23rd.


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