Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Its Wednesday again... I was so tired this morning and we ran out of coffee, I practically had to crawl to school. Thankfully, Julian lets us have a big pot of coffee from the storeroom and that helped me wake up a bit. Today was one of the first Dimensions classes that I actually enjoyed. Our main focus was menu planning and we started the day off witha mental "black box" aka Iron Chef Dubrulle. We were given a list of ingredients and told we had to use it All to make an appetiser. The ingredients were: eggs, cream, butter, flour, mussels, champagne, tarragon, salt and pepper, caviar.
There were some bizarre ideas developed, but also some that sounded amazing.
After this exercise (No I won't tell you what I did, I want to let you all think about it for a day or two...), we moved onto developing menu for a fine-dining restaurant. We had to develop 7 appetisers and 10 mains, each person taking one. Of course everyone has different culinary styles so some of the entries were hilarious.
Julienne Shiitake mushrooms handpicked in the Bavarian forest and served with a merlot sauce in a hot steamy pan. I kid you not, someone actually presented that idea!
The categories were:
1. Consommé
2. Mushrooms
3. Scallops
4. SHrimp
5. Truffles (yes, the fungal ones)
6. Salad
7. Potato
1. Beef
2. Lamb
3. Pork
4. Vegetarian
5. Tuna
6. Salmon
7. chicken
8. Rice
9. Pasta
10. Veal

Its a fun exercise, tryt to come up with dishes (money no object). I had to do lamb and ended up with 3 ideas and had to pass it off to my friends in the class for a vote.

After Menu building, we touched briefly on the kitchen brigade system, an overview of our midterm and then, next term's schedule. I was horrified to discover it was 4 days a week instead of 3. I am still paying off my tuition and and I can't afford to drop another day of work -- i won't be able to make my payments. Chef Julian really impressed me, immmediately taking me to the financial advisor and having her rewrite my payment schedule and reduce my monthly payments by more than half and extend them six months past graduation. First time I felt like the school was actually trying to make things work for me. Now I can be excited about the fact that I will have 4 days of cooking starting in July!!

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