Today was a little hectic. It was the first day back from our week off because of Hurricane Sandy. The school lost power and wasn’t able to operate so I had a week of unplanned vacation. (Of course you wouldn’t realize that from reading this blog because I didn’t start posting about my culinary school blog until two weeks into school.)
We all walked into class not sure which recipes we’d be responsible for. Last week’s? This week’s? And to complicate matters, Chef Sixto, our head chef for levels 3 and 4, returned from his two week hiatus. And since we only had one day with Chef Sixto, it was like relearning how to cook for a new chef.
The best way to describe him is to tell you he’s a character–one that perfectly fits the restaurant chef description. He’s crazy about his food, and if he sees you making a mistake, he’ll come flying over and ask you what you’re doing. This happened to me many times and I’m one of his “loco” students. I usually try sweet talking him if I’ve made a dumb mistake, or flash a smile, but it never works. He sees straight through my strategy and proceeds to tell me, “No. I’m going to chew you out now.”
I had many opportunities today to be “loco” because we had to make a fish filet in a lobster sauce garnished with shrimp and mussels. You know, just a few components for one dish. We had to start the lobster stock early or else we couldn’t make the derivative sauce, Sauce Americaine. And there’s no better smell than browning lobster shells. When the stock starts to take some body, you strain it, and reduce it. We used this sauce to shallow poach our filets of orati fish, and finish it off with cream, parsley, tarragon, and chervil (herb that tastes like anise). It’s a beautiful dish that takes painfully long to finish.
TIP OF THE DAY: If you’re flouring fish and frying it, do NOT flour too far in advance. The flesh will soak up the flour, become gummy, and stick to your pan.