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Author Topic: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student  (Read 15122 times)

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Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2011, 09:27:10 PM »
It is just way too bitter for me.  My tastebuds shut down and I immediately get dry mouth.

Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2011, 10:14:52 AM »
Mid-terms and Class Thus Far

So, I've gone through half of my fundamentals class.  I've taken my mid-term and passed it.  I think I did well given the circumstances.  For my mid-term, I had to do a couple of things.  It was split between three days, so it was really like a mid-term week.  Day one consisted of a written mid-term which I passed.  Day two, for me, was a test of knife skills where I had to supreme an orange (cut out the segments leaving no pith or membrane), allumette a potato (julienne), tomato concasse (small dice a tomato with no skin or seeds), small dice a carrot, small dice an onion, mince parsley leaving no visible leaves, mince 4 cloves of garlic, and tourne four potatoes (cut them into 7 sided football shapes with each side being equal.  Day three was the cooking portion where I had to make a chicken consommé, a bechamel sauce, a hollandaise sauce, and a mayonnaise. 

I've learned a couple of things along the way other than what is being taught in the curriculum at my school.  I learned that this is not cut out for everyone.  My fundamentals class started out with 25 people.  It now has about 13 people left including myself.  I honestly don't understand it since it costs a pretty penny to buy the kit you need which you can't return after you've opened and used it.  Yes, it is challenging, but I don't think a lot of these people who drop realize that we're not expected to make a perfect sauce or make perfect cuts in the first few weeks or even in the whole first quarter of classes.  The very nature of the learning process is to improve over time .  I find myself struggling with this new type of learning because in the traditional classroom environment, I always got A's.  Now, while my grades are still high in this applied setting, I'm not used to the small drop in them, but I do understand that I will improve. 

Needless to say, I don't plan on dropping from this program.  I'm enjoying it even though it is difficult sometimes.  I've already registered for my next quarter where I will be taking the Intro to Baking class.  I'm curious to see how that goes and what I will be learning specifically in there.

I have not done an actual post where I actually cook something because I haven't had the time or money.  I will hopefully be able to do something soon, but I wont promise anything.  Thank you for reading!

Offline Oniya

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2011, 11:00:36 AM »
Out of curiosity (since I've seen both methods), do you use radial cuts on the onion, or a right-angle grid?

Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2011, 06:25:58 PM »
I'm assuming right angle grid.  I've not heard to them referred that way before, but basically it's horizontal cuts, vertical cuts and then another set of vertical cuts turned 90 degrees to make the final product.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #29 on: May 05, 2011, 06:30:44 PM »
*understands*  There's probably a proper culinary name for it, but I'm a math dweeb who just needs the onions cut up so the little Oni doesn't quite notice them.  ;D

Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2011, 06:34:18 PM »
Small dice is 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch.  If you need them smaller, you start getting into brunoise which is 1/8 x 1/8 and fine brunoise which is half again, 1/16 x 1/16.  Almost borders on a mince.  Depends on how small you need the onion. :P

Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2011, 06:43:14 AM »
Coming soon:  How to break it down with chicken.

Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2011, 11:29:12 PM »
Nearing the End of Fundamentals

Subtitle: Don't touch my shit!

A rather unplanned post, but it has to be done.


Hello again everyone!  I haven't written in a while because I've been so busy with class and work.  I haven't forgotten though, I promise.

So, where to start?  I guess I can say that I've sort of acclimated to the teaching style and classes here.  I like my chef instructor a lot.  She tells you what you need to know in a way you understand, and she actively wants you to ask questions.  So far, I've made stocks, sauces, soups, learned about eggs and breakfast cooking, vegetables, starches, and am now in proteins and cooking methods.  I've made chicken chardonnay, pan seared trout, pan fried chicken, steak au poivre, beef burgundy, chicken pot au feu, roasted chicken with pan gravy, and tomorrow evening I will be cooking poached chicken with tarragon cream sauce.  I am learning a lot already, and am enjoying the class even though it is challenging at times, not just with the cooking.

I think here is where I should elaborate more on the teaching and learning atmosphere.  It is very different than classroom learning.  In a classroom, you deal more with people's thoughts and voice rather than their actions.  In this type of setting (re: culinary school in a kitchen), you deal with their actions.  The number of things that have happened that have mentally made me facepalm and/or stare curiously with a tilted head for more than a few seconds is astounding.  My class began as a robust 25.  After 9 weeks, we barely have 11.  Keep in mind now, I've been in class every single day.  I don't know what that says, but I think it says something.  Either this is a token class with a lot of drop outs, or I am fucking iron man in here because I don't see what the big deal is.  Anyway, as I was saying.  The things people do...

Students have left their knife kits (whole and pieces) behind in the kitchen.
Students have taken other students utensils (which is why I have engraved every god damn piece of my knife kit)
Students have eaten what they are not supposed to (up to and including the demonstration dishes that the chef instructor has created as a model)
Students have shown up to class whenever they want (not really such a big deal because this happens in normal classroom settings, but when you add in the fact that it doesn't matter why you miss class.  If you miss class, you lose all class participation points for that day.  If you show up late or leave early, you lose points for that day.  Students will do this several times over the course of 11 weeks.  Oh, by the way, if you miss 7 days, you automatically fail.)
Students (from other higher level classes) have walked into our fundamentals class, tasted our food (in front of our chef instructor) and critiqued it (in front of our chef instructor) and then been corrected (by our chef instructor) and didn't see a problem with it.
And finally, students from my own class have come over to my own pot/pan on the stove with food cooking in it and stirred/tossed/disturbed in some way without even talking to me first.

I was ripshit pissed.  I was too stunned to even say anything at the moment because I was pretty aghast at the fact that this fucktard actually walked over to my stove and touched my shit.  Don't touch my shit.  Don't touch it.  See my shit, don't touch it.  It's mine.  My shit.  Don't touch it.  Yeah, mine.  What was even more surreal about the situation is that my chef instructor saw the whole thing which was great because she addressed it at the end of class.  Your food, you touch it only, which applied to everyone.

I swear, if it happens again, I'm going to lose it and bitch whoever it is out.  Unless you are a sanctioned individual (i.e. on my team, the chef instructor, or otherwise allowed by me or the chef instructor to touch my food), DO NOT TOUCH MY SHIT!  If it is messed up, I want to hear it from my chef instructor that I did this wrong.  If you mess with it, how am I going to know what is and is not happening with my food.  Don't touch it.  It's my food.  I'm cooking it.  I'm accruing debt to come to class.  I'm getting the A (yes, I have an A at this very moment).  I'm getting critiqued on it, and I'm going to have to have a final practical on it.  Don't.  Touch.  My.  Shit.

It really reminds me of the saying "if you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he'll eat for the rest of his life."  I turn that into the student version.  If you do a students work, he'll get an A, but if you show him how to do his work, he'll get as many A's as he needs.  Since fucktard is not a chef instructor, he needs to not be showing me how to do shit.  Unless he has (and really this goes for anyone trying to tell me anything in this kitchen) the letters C-H-E-F in front of his name and are employed by my university, he can fuck off.

End rant.

Other than that, I'm having loads of fun.  I'm looking at food in a new way.  I found lamb shanks tonight, and I'm excited about cooking them.  I have lovely ideas for them.  Mmmmm.

Again, I hope you enjoy the blog.  Post comments and/or questions!

Offline Oniya

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2011, 11:42:43 PM »
I have found that the easiest way to get people to stop eating what they shouldn't is making a 'mistake' with the amount of cayenne - just once.

Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2011, 11:44:25 PM »
Sadly, my chef instructor has to taste it too, and I like her too much to do that.

Offline Xandi

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2011, 11:53:38 PM »
Thank you Ryven for sharing your experience with us. I don't blame you at all for being upset with people/students touching your food. I mean they are learning just like you and I agree if they don't have a  C-H-E-F in front of their name then they need to mind their own fucking business. It is great that the Chef Instructor saw it and addressed the problem.

*Throws Confetti*

Congratulations on your A. I never had any doubt that you would excel at this. I intend to make your bread pudding this week. I will let you know how it comes out.

Thanks again for sharing.

Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #36 on: May 31, 2011, 11:57:09 PM »
Thank you, Xandi.  My average right now equals out to be an A.  I have my finals next week which will be knife skills, cooking, and a written test.  The cooking this time, unlike the mid-terms, are all from memory.  I can't use recipe cards.  I should be fine though.  After doing these recipes, the processes start to make sense in your mind.

I hope you like the pudding as much as I did. :-)

Offline grdell

Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2011, 10:01:35 PM »
I'm getting the A...

Never any question, man. Congrats!

Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #38 on: June 06, 2011, 11:54:25 PM »
Not really a proper post.  Just an update.

Found out about my final today.  I will have to prepare one of 3 possible menus, and all the recipes will have to be done from memory.  My chef instructor wont even tell us what's on the menu.  All she will do is say, "you are preparing menu 2," for example.  After that, it is up to us to cook what's on it.

The menu's are:

#1
Roasted Chicken with Pan Gravy
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Glazed Carrots
Tomatoes Duxelle
Herbed Whipped Potatoes

#2
Poached Chicken with Tarragon Cream Sauce
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Glazed Carrots
Sauteed Green Beans
Rice Pilaf

#3
Chicken Chardonnay with Mushroom Sauce
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Glazed Carrots
Sauteed Green Beans
Whipped Potatoes

Apart from this, I will also have another knife skills practical, and next week, I will have to take the certification exam for ServSafe and my written final (which will be online, thankfully).

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #39 on: June 07, 2011, 12:23:23 AM »
*reads the menus* . . . Can Izu fly Ryven over to have him for a personal chef?

Good luck! *hugs* Let us know how it goes, what you got, what you did and so on~ <3

Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #40 on: June 07, 2011, 09:34:26 AM »
Thank you, Izu.  If I can remember, I will try to take pictures.

Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #41 on: June 07, 2011, 09:40:27 PM »
Knife skills practical is over.  Final score: 91  ;D


My tray of cut items.  From left to right, starting on top: allumette potatoes, minced parsley, minced garlic, diced carrot.  Bottom: Tourne potatoes, diced onion, diced tomato, and orange supremes
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 09:43:25 PM by Ryven »

Offline grdell

Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #42 on: June 07, 2011, 09:45:23 PM »
Good job!  ;D

Offline Saerrael

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #43 on: June 07, 2011, 09:55:28 PM »
Congratulations!

Also..
*peers at that tray*
I think I've not eaten enough. I'm thinking it looks delicious.

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #44 on: June 08, 2011, 07:15:53 AM »
That looks awesome, Ryven. *huggles* Congrats on the great grade.

Offline Xandi

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #45 on: June 08, 2011, 10:17:59 AM »
Wow that looks great Ryven. Congrats on the grade.

Hugs,
Xandi

Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #46 on: June 08, 2011, 10:37:18 AM »
Thank you all!  I'm surprised how I went through it, and wasn't that worried.  I mean during my mid-term, I was a bit more apprehensive as I was doing my cuts, thinking to myself that they weren't that great.  I was more relaxed this time around, and I think it showed.  Hopefully tonight I can pull off the same with my cooking practical.

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #47 on: June 08, 2011, 11:54:30 AM »
*blinks* 91? >.> where are the 9 points gone? >.>


Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #48 on: June 08, 2011, 12:05:27 PM »
*blinks* 91? >.> where are the 9 points gone? >.>

Each cut is graded individually so it was a point here and a point there.  It's graded on size, uniformity, yield, and things like that.

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Re: Journal of a Poor Culinary Student
« Reply #49 on: June 08, 2011, 12:27:24 PM »
o_o they look at each cut? Wow... Then only 9 bad out of 100... *thumbs up* Awesome job, Mr. Chef.