Week 5 brought about my first exam! EEEEEEK! Chef Catherine took pitty on us and gave us our recipes for the practical exam in advance. We had to make a salad with supremed oranges and an orange juice vinaigrette, a root vegetable soup, a velouté sauce and sauté a chicken breast and make a tarragon pan sauce. Of course before we started making and plating all these things we had a vegetable dicing practical. How fast, accurately could we dice carrots, celery and onions. Good news folks, I don't suck at dicing. :P
In other good news, I passed the practical exam and the written exam. What I've taken away from this experience is that I almost have awesome time management, and I cannot blindly identify spices to save my life. Seriously, go open up your cupboard and grab spices and smell them with out looking at them. It's hard. Whenever I can't identify a spice I immediately think, "this is probably cumin, or maybe cardamom." It's usually neither. I can, however; identify cinnamon like nobodies business - then again, so can pretty much everyone.
Week 5 was also the week of the duck. That's right, we disjointed and cooked duck like it was going out of style. I discovered that I like my duck breast more medium done than rare, and that I still don't care for liver.
Laurence Jossel, of Nopa, came to visit and talk about restaurant life. He was really awesome. He was an engaging speaker and he gave us a good idea of what restaurant life is like. While talking to us he also assembled a lovely fritatta with potatoes, it was delicious.
I also had an opportunity to go to a demo from Kindred Table. Nicole Paizis, was a student in the first class at SF Cooking, and started Kindred Table. I joined some wonderful Junior League members, courtesy of a friend of mine, for a small get-together and cooking demo and had a chance to talk with Nicole. It was really great to see what she took away from school and how well she's doing on her own venture. Nicole made me feel like I was actually cooking in her class even though I didn't touch a single thing. She did such a great job of describing her process and how all the flavors work together that I felt like I had helped make our meal. If you're in San Francisco and you're looking for a wonderful dinner event I really encourage you to contact Nicole. The food and the demo are just amazing.
Week 5 was a little crazy and hectic. Everyone was happy when the weekend finally came about. Whew.