Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday's Plate- Test Kitchen Trials

The Clock is Ticking..........

In just under three weeks The Students and Faculty of Great Lakes Culinary Institute, along with the support of very generous local businesses, local wine vintners and many other community members will host The 2010 Tasters Guild Auction on February 26th.  As a representative in the student category, along with my teammates Ray and Mike, we have been commissioned to creatively and efficiently come up with a theme, and recipes to represent the country of India.  Eleven more countries will also be represented at this event by eleven additional student groups.  Each groups main attraction and focus being the food and flavors of their specific country.  Beyond the foods our booth can be whatever we would like just so long as it is representative of the country we are cooking for.  A lot of time and energy will be required to cover all the bases, the most important element being the foods we will serve.  That is why we spent almost four hours today working in the school kitchen testing out our Indian cuisine.   We were praying that we would get the results we were looking for the first round so that we could move on to many additional important details beyond the food.

This is an Indian Chicken Skewer idea we are working on

India's Naan Bread, An Assortment of Chutney's, Coconut Rice and Samosas

Thankfully the testing was pretty successful.  We were able to produce all of our recipes and make some important decisions about what was going to work and what would need a little more tweaking to be perfect for the big night.  By the end of production today we were all exhausted.  It was hard work trying to fit so many different ideas and recipes into a morning.  Thankfully our team is fully committed to delivering a great tasting experience to our guests.  Just a little more work in the kitchen on our recipes and we should be all set to prep all 400-600 items for each of our 4 items.  That is 2400 total- WOW- we have a lot of work to do!

Last week was another busy week in both of my lab classes. In Baking we are starting to really get into yeast breads.  My group made bagels and then a couple different cookie doughs.  Other groups were working on brownies, baguettes, dinner rolls, and more coffee cakes.  It is a lot of fun to see what everyone is doing since each group has different recipes to work on.  This is a picture of a bunch of goodies I brought home from class- A Pan Rustique Boule, Chocolate chunk cookies, Ginger Molasses Cookies, French Baguette and an assortment of Bagels.  It was all very yummy!

In World Cuisine we worked on Recipes that featured the British Isles.  This includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  To me this cuisine is very much like comfort food with Shepherds Pie and Savory Fish Dishes made with Salmon.

My Classmate Ray working on Piping Mashed Potatoes for the Shepherds Pie
Salmon in a Puff Pastry with a Wilted Spinach side

Grilled Salmon with an Orange Sauce and Braised Red Cabbage

This is the line up of plates once everyone has presented their plates for the Chef Instructor to evaluate.

Fennel and Red Onion salad with Tarragon dressing- I loved this!!

The work load for school is getting to be very heavy now, but I am trying my best to stay a week ahead in my homework and reading.  I am very much enjoying my classes and being a culinary student.  This experience is really tough at times, but I love the challenge.  It feels so great to accomplish all these things and to be learning so much from such talented and skillful teachers.  This program I am enrolled in is amazing, the support and encouragement from all the staff is priceless!

Chef Steph -Taste Testing our Hard Work