Chef began the day with this stinging sentence:
I may not remember your first meal, but I’ll certainly remember your last.
What this meant was that our final is tomorrow, Tuesday, February 19, and it’s the day to show what we’ve learned, what we’re made of, and where we’re headed. We’ll start the day with a written exam and then move onto the practical. We’ll pick out of a hat the two dishes we have to make. Then we’ll present four of each dish to a panel of NYC chefs. No pressure.
These were the words that were circling through my head as I prepped bass for today’s service. And perhaps that’s why Chef’s instructions “DON’T CARAMELIZE THE CELERIAC PUREE” didn’t stick. Even after the third time he mentioned it, I forgot to check my slowly simmering apple and celeriac mush. And I had one of those, “OH NO” moments and ran over to my pot and saw the entire bottom covered in caramelized apples. So I surreptiously scraped off the top layer (the part not tainted by brown bits), but my rookie mistake was leaving the rest of the mush on the stove while I blended the rest of it. That’s when I hard Chef scream, “What the hell is this?!”
Cue this reaction:
I tried to be cute with him .
“Chef, it’s Valentine’s Day. I’m just making the puree sweeter.”
Yeah, that didn’t go over well. But on the sweeter side, I did get a large order of red roses delivered to the kitchen for Valentine’s Day (yes, I’m a little behind on this post). It was pretty awesome. Probably the first time in history a student got a dozen roses delivered to a kitchen. Best boyfriend award. Period. Especially since I spent all day listening to my all-boys team discussing how flowers are a waste of money. You’ve been served, boys.
TIP OF THE DAY: Any purees that include apples or a high-sugar content food, simmer it on LOW heat so you won’t burn your concoction. Thinly slice the apples and celeriac and simmer in butter with a lid on top until tender. Then blend until smooth and homogenous.