DINNER 165: Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Boy oh boy what a night of food!
Tonight was my final in the GARDE MANGER class I took this term. I made it to school at 4:15, about an hour before our class was scheduled to begin and about 3 hours before our guests were due to arrive. Wendy drove down with me, and she seemed to enjoy a bit of downtime during which she could sit outside and read while I worked to finish up my platter.
Our final assignment was a ‘presentation platter’ containing 8 portions of 2 proteins, 2 salads, a cracker piece, and a garnish. We also had to present a plate that might be used for service. I decided to prepare the following menu:
Roasted Asian Duck Galantine
Duck and Smoked Foie Gras Terrine
Soba Noodle Salad with Sesame Oil
Carrot & Daikon Slaw with Rice Wine Vinaigrette
Szechuan Red Chili Deviled Quail Eggs Canapes
When I arrived at school, I had both my proteins, my cracker, one of my salads completely finished, and the other salad just needed to be assembled, so I felt like I was in pretty good shape. I still had to make the Deviled Quail Egg Canapes I chose for the garnish, slice and dip my proteins, and assemble the plate and platter.
I got right into the work, finishing my second salad quickly and slicing my proteins without incident. I was far enough ahead that I was able to dip my proteins (they’re dipped in aspic, a gelatinized meat stock, to preserve them and to make them shiny) and put them back into the cooler to hold for a while. They tasted great. I worked on the deviled quail egg canapes and got them together easily as well. After cleaning up and a short break, I got my platter together and assembled quickly. I was very pleased with the flow of my platter, and think it looked really appetizing.
Chef walked around and critiqued everyone’s work. He said that my cuts were “deadly accurate”, that the flow of the platter was very nice, and that my plate looked appetizing. His comments to the students were generally positive, but if something needed to be pointed out, he’d do so. Overall, he said that the class accomplished the goals he’d set out for it and that he was proud of each of us. Once he had finished, our guests were permitted to wander around and sample. The students also tried each other’s items, and things tasted great.
I took pictures of everyone’s work, and have labeled it where I could in the gallery. To my fellow students: If I mislabeled something or didn’t mention a name, please correct me! The gallery of photos from our final is here.
We got the kitchen cleaned up and closed down for the end of the term, said our goodbyes, and finished the term.
Wendy, Brian (one of the students in my class), and I went out to KNOTTY PINE ON THE BAYOU. Brian & I worked with them at this year’s TASTE OF CINCINNATI and they invited us out to the restaurant. We feasted! We sampled many items from their menu of Louisiana-inspired fare including fried frog’s legs, shrimp cocktail, etouffee, gumbo, salads with their awesome Onion-Mustard Dressing, fried shrimp, surf-n-turf of lobster tail and filet, and one piece of their made-from-scratch Opera Cream Cake dessert. It was an awesome meal, and we all left there full to the gills.