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Sunday, January 12, 2014

I Survived My First Week of Culinary School!

Good news everyone, I still have all my fingers and I didn't burn off any appendages!  Hoorays!

 This is my class! Our amazing instructor, Chef Catherine is in the middle. I borrowed the picture from the SF Cooking School FaceBook.

So, this was my first week of school at the San Francisco Cooking School, and I loved every minute of it.  It was an exhausting and exciting whirlwind of awesome.  I'm happy to report that I have an amazing group of classmates and I'm pumped to get a chance to work with each and every one of them.

On the first day of school I was given my sexy kitchen uniform, my knife kit and my handy-dandy 3-ring binder for keeping all my tips, tricks, and recipes.  I have two kitchen uniforms that include a checkered pair of pants, a double breasted white chef jacket, an apron, and a cute little hat to keep my hair out of your food.  The knife kit is ridiculously awesome, it's a Wusthof kit with 4 beautiful knives, a steel for straitening my blades, and a nice carrying case.  My binder is gigantic which leads me to believe I'm going to have a ton of recipes!

On our very first day everyone made omlettes, which I had never made before.  Omlettes are more complex than I ever would have thought.  There's a lot of wrist work involved that I'd never noticed.  We are to practice getting a "colorless" omlette - no brown spots - because if you can make a colorless omlette you can prepare an omlette anyway someone might want.  I've been practicing at home with my enameled cast iron skillet which is heavy!  I'm going to have arms of steel!

Our class works on projects in teams of 3/4.  So each team makes pretty much the same recipe, and you're working with people to complete your recipe.  My team this week was amazing.  I worked with Jen and Tracy and we worked so well together.  As soon as we received a recipe we delegated and got shit done!

I helped make stock for the first time in my life.  We made chicken stock and vegetable stock.  It's easy!  It just takes forever!  We made soooo much stock, but it's the base for practically everything!  We used our stock to make different root vegetable soups.  Each team made a different root vegetable soup, then we sampled them and combined them to try the various flavors.  We learned about Velouté soups which are pureed or "velvety" soups/sauces.

We clarified a gallon of butter, and went through the various stages of browning and then burning butter so we could watch how the butter changes.

We took a field trip to a restaurant grocery distribute, GreenLeaf.  It was pretty amazing to see their warehouse.  We had a tour with Dennis, who showed us how the produce is delivered and categorized, stored and then packaged to be sent out to restaurants.  It's a huge operation!

 Here's Dennis telling us all about the food storage.

There were just so many wonderful things that we learned this week.

To finish off our week Craig Stoll, of the restaurant Delfina, came in and spoke to our class about how he got started.

I put my new-found knowledge and skills to use this weekend.  I made my own vegetable stock and then used it to make a sweet potato, carrot and ginger soup.  I also made my own béchamel sauce, and made a broccoli, cauliflower and sunchoke gratin.  We're eating like kings at my house!  I also managed to make a batch of the Robicellis cupcakes this weekend to continue on with my personal cooking challenge.

 My awesome sweet potato, carrot and ginger soup, along with an apple, walnut and goat cheese salad.

I'm so excited to see what this next week has in store!


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