Rissoulet, tournee, sautee, oh my!
In case you didn't know, I've enrolled at the French Culinary Institute and learning classic cooking techniques from an actual French chef. There are 15 people in the class, with varying degrees of facility in the kitchen, but a shared love of food. With quite a few people interested in a career change, the class is taken quite seriously and everyone takes copious notes and documents the class with Flip camcorders. The instructor expects that the lesson to be reviewed prior to class, so the demonstration and actually instruction are quick, yet questions are always answered. l've taken a number of cooking classes where you are given a bottle of wine to crack open and have all the time in the world to gab away while you learn. There's no fucking around with a glass of sauvignon blanc while you knead pasta dough and talk about sunsets in Tuscany in this class! In fact, the instructor quizzes random students to ascertain that concepts have been learned.
On our first day, we were given a heavy duty knife bag stocked with nifty goodies (chef's knife, paring knife, balloon whisk, mellon baller, and 15 or so other tools of the trade). We were also given a professional uniform with our names embroidered on the front that we are required to wear everyday! The uniform consists of an actual white jacket with woven buttons (just like Top Chef!), dowdy garter trousers and the most UNFLATTERING hat ever! I tried to get away with not wearing it or rocking it to the side, but wisps of hair would falll around my face and the instructor whispered that I needed to wear it properly. Additionally, no nail polish or garish makeup ( Viva Glam Gaga Lipstick must stay in your cosmetic bag...) Asserting individual style is not encouraged.
The first weekend was spent doing the following:
- Knife skills/Taillage
- Various ways of cutting vegetables (jullienne, brunoise, macedoine, ciseler, emincer, jardiniere, chiffonade, etc...)
- Tourne-style Vegetables (blood was shed for some!)
- Learning which pots and pans are appropriate for certain types of cooking
- Cooking A la Anglaise, blanching, roasting and sauteeing, etc....
- Beurre blanc, beurre brun, beurre blonde etc...
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