Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 15

Wednesday Day 15

Beef burgundy, marinaded since yesterday. What a mess it was. So, we have different chefs for different practicals, some are more lax, some are more strict, they each have their individual teaching and grading styles. We had a different chef today, whom we had not worked with. He was like a drill sergeant, and I kind of liked it. Well, so my beef burgundy. The sauce was too thick, I had not added the stock and wine mixture fully. Chef said it broke his heart. Yes, my beef burgundy broke his heart. I told him it had already broken mine. In all honesty, I enjoyed the flavor, just hated that chef didn't like it. He said I added too much tomato paste. I had a little more success turning the potatoes today because he allowed us to not have exactly 7 sides to it. 

Chef's Beef Burgundy

I made mayonnaise today. How about that? It went with the deep fried jumbo shrimp with tartare sauce. It is WORK to whisk that thing! The shrimp's batter was too thick, per chef. I also needed more herbs in my tartare. He said it was "good." C'est bon. When will it be "parfait" or "magnifique?" Even a "tres bon" would be great. Well, I'm not there to be perfect, I'm there to learn.

Chef's Fried Jumbo Shrimp

My cheese soufflé, demonstrated early in our training, we had to make. Of course that demonstration seemed like months ago. 
My soufflé ended up trying to escape. 

My tower of Pisa Soufflé
Tomorrow we have 2 demonstrations and 2 practicals. 12 hour day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 14

Tuesday Day 14

Beef/Sirloin. Finally. I like mine rare to medium rare, but, I wasn't too crazy about the taste of this sirloin myself. Maybe it was just me. My mashed potatoes did not have enough butter or milk. What can I say, there were my first mashed potatoes ever. 


We got our midterm grades today. Our team has the lowest class average unfortunately. I have a theory why, but am not at the liberty of discussing that. I at least have higher than average for my team.
The school invited us to attend a dinner at Le Train Bleu restaurant in the Gare de Lyon train station tonight. I would like to type more, but am fully exhausted.

Gare de Lyon Train Station
Inside Le Train Bleu

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 13

Monday Day 13

Brill is a flat fish I was introduced to today. Apparently there are more than one flat fish (I only knew of the flounder). 
Brill Fish

The most involved part of this dish was the doggone turned potatoes. These are potatoes that is shaped by a pairing knife to have 7 sides and oval shape. When the potatoes are turned “l’anglais” they are 2 inches long.
Turned potatoes, don't be fooled, I got this image from the internet, they are not mine.
Anyways, I have not perfected this technique, far from it, and they were not cooked long enough. My potatoes had to be transected to determine doneness. Chef also wants more salt in the sauce. New strategy retrieve vegetables for myself. We run out and I get stuck with using little or none...for instance today's shallots was left out of sauce. 

Chef's brill fillet in white wine sauce
My brill fillet in white wine sauce

Demo today with sirloin. Finally beef!!!
I feel like such a piglet thanks to pastry students. 
Would love to finish my diploma here, but miss my family so much. 
My feet hurts from walking, but would not dare to wear tennis shoes here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011



Rest. Cleaned the flat. Run in Luxembourg Gardens.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 12

Saturday Day 12

Only one practical today, hake steak. Silly me for assuming that we didn’t have to “darne” the fish itself, that it would be done for us. Of course not. Darne is a transverse cut of a large round fish. Honestly, I have more of a problem with filleting fish than  rabbit. To each his own struggles. Dumb scales. Dumb guts. Dumb slimy tecture. Hake happens to be a very good fish though. I was glad to be introduced. 
Hake Fish

I cooked the fish for too long. It really should have been poached for 7 minutes. The hollandaise sauce demands respect. I kept on asking the it time to add the clarified butter now? How about now? Now ok? Ok to add butter? I whisked and whisked. Happy to say it turned out ok, under supervision of Chef of course.

Chef's Hake Steak

Off to the convention of small wineries! Didn’t get through many samplings, there were too many of them, about 1000 vineyards.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 11

Friday Day 11

Chef took us to the market today. What a phenomenal experience, seeing all sorts of uncustomary American things, like:

Goat Cheese Farmer
Viva Les Fromages

Lamb Testicles (in season)
Of course, crepe

Tried horse sausage made from 100% Canadian horse. It tasted like ham. 
Chef purchased lunch for us from the market (nothing outlandish of course), and served us red wine. Thank you Chef for preparing our lunch from our market outing. I'm in love with terrines, caneles, macaroons, blood sausage, cheese, and bread. 

Had the privilege of making a dish with rabbit with mustard and sautéed potatoes. We each got a whole de-furred rabbit to fillet. Yes, they are cute animals, but I really didn’t have a hard time doing this. It was my first time tasting and preparing a rabbit. Delicious! Hate that I enjoyed it so much. I went into this demonstration thinking I will take less notes, and just go at my slow pace during the practical. The dish was better than the previous one from yesterday afternoon, appropriate thickness of sauce (no oil streaks or dots), but did overcook kidney and liver, however. As I was thinking that even if I don't perform well with dishes, at least I keep my station clean. As I was thinking that very thought, Chef asked me to clean my station. 

Chef's rabbit with mustard and sautéed potatoes

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 10

Thursday Day 10

Paupiettes de veau bourgeosie (stuffed veal rolls with glazed vegetables) in AM, PM was Stuffed chicken breasts, sauce and mushrooms.
The stuffed veal in the am was wonderful. Veal fillets stuffed with ground veal, ground pork, mixed with armagnac and encased with fat back, pan seared in duck fat, and roasted on a bed of vegetables. So wonderful! But I burned myself today, so did about 7 other students. 

Chef's Paupiette
My Paupiette

The PM practical was not so wonderful. We stuffed minced chicken within a chicken breast, turned mushrooms (technique to decorate them which took forever and I never did get it right). This was the first time I've thought I would not pass this class. You see, I tried a different writing technique, hopefully to make my food preparation faster. It did not. I burned my chicken, sauce was runny and oily. I took shortcuts.  I really need to let my pace be what it is. The negative part about being slow is that ingredients run low, or missing.


I had a chance to get my hair cut in between classes. I’m not sure what in my right mind decide to allow myself to do this. Thanks to a classmate who interpreted what I wanted, written on a piece of paper (cut long layers, keep length, cut 1-2 cm). I walked into the salon, know one spoke English, and the clientele was older. But, my tangled long hair had to be dealt with. My heart started being fast and I thought how dumb I was to get a haircut in a foreign country without knowing the language to tell them what I wanted, as she cut large chunks of my hair off. Nice surprise, it looks wonderful!  Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 9

Wednesday Day 9

Grilled Salmon with emulsified butter sauce with chives and byron potatoes. The sauce had brown chives because I added them too early in the sauce making process. This salmon made every on me smell so bad. And, I left plenty of bones in salmon. This was also the first time I made diagonal crossed grill lines on anything. First time I grilled salmon actually. I unfortunately did not take a picture of my creation. I was rushed once again, and usually last to finish my dish. And, someone took my prepared salmon so I could not find it as I was plating my dish. This is what it was supposed to look like.

Chef's beautiful salmon
Addendum: Post 4 days...I still smell salmon in my uniform even after washing x 2. And, I'm using Febreze over that. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 8

Tuesday Day 8
AM consumme was a success. It’s the removal of impurities from stock, using meats, vegetables, and eggs. See the picture below. Left is stock. Right is consumme. It becomes a very hearty and light soup. Contradicts itself doesn't it.

Yes, again, we had to make the cheese sticks using puff pastry. Puff pastry making takes a lot of time and energy. 


Chef's Consumme

In the pm I trussed a chicken again, but it’s easier this time. What is trussing? It’s using a large needle with string to pierce the chicken and enclose the cavity. I added bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic within. It was the best roasted chicken I’ve ever had, I’ve got to remember how I did this. The artichoke experience was not so fantastic.

Base of Artichoke
Had not ever cooked one before, and had to shave the leaves off, boil the base in lemon water, to make an edible bowl for vegetables. My artichokes turned brown, and one was undercooked. 


Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 7

Monday Day 7

We made crab bisque today, using live crabs. Le Cordon Bleu does it right, letting us prepare foods the way it is intended. I was the lucky one to not have to handle live crabs, however. There were none left for me since I was the last one to obtain them. The chef made other classmates share their crabs with me and most of their crabs were already dead through sautéing. I didn't realize that crushing the crabs with a rolling pin, and getting sprayed with crab juices and parts are necessary for bisque making. Definitely laundry night tonight. A lot goes into making a good dish. 
Another revelation: have fun with this and learn. The stress of making a dish turns negative when I forget the reason I’m here. 
Chef's Crab Bisque

Conclusion: I added too much cayenne, it was too thick, and my croutons weren’t sautéed enough. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 5 and 6

Friday Day 5

Made a quiche lorraine today. Not so bad in preparation except for making the crust, not the premade frozen kind. Here comes the second and more difficult practical (having to start making the puff pastry in the am to finish in the pm. Puff pastry with leeks and poached egg and albufera sauce. It was the worst performance practical to date. I removed too much of the egg white, and it’s just plain ugly.


Discussed with an upper class man about the love of food. He happens to be an anesthesiologist by trade. The revelation is that the medical field evokes an intrinsic fulfillment. Food and the act of eating is a shared extrinsic fulfillment. 

Saturday Day 6

Technique, cautionary explanations of emergency protocol and use of our equipment, lasted 1 hour. YES!