Thursday, May 5, 2011

Not JUST a Pastry Chef...

I haven't posted in a while mostly because I've been crazy, unreasonable, unhappily busy for the past two or three weeks. We had a practical assessment earlier today, and there was a packet of paperwork that needed to be done. Now, I'm not a fan of paperwork, but I am fairly happy with myself for managing to get that 50+page monster of a plan out so quickly! I needed to have the recipes, of course, but I also needed to go over the project brief, discuss the clients, who the staff were, what their roles were, what my role was, and the health and safety issues involved. Oh god, the health and safety! That section is quite possibly the most boring thing I have ever written (and that includes the section about the different varieties of theobroma cacao -the chocolate tree, for my food classification and purchasing unit!)So the practical assessment was this: design, plan, execute, and evaluate a three course meal for four people. Simples. Nothing is ever simples! We had three hours, and two commis chefs helping us (the commis were students from the level below us.) Because this was for the hospitality supervision course, it was mostly our supervisory skills which were evaluated, so, delegation, work schedule planning, rotas, division of work, and a big part was also in teaching the commis how to make things. I taught both my commis chefs to make strudel dough (which we used, unsweetened, in place of filo dough) even though only one of them needed to make it. I also really focused on making sure that they knew what they were doing (at the time, and also what they were doing next) It was a lot of fun, and the food went down pretty well. There were some minor issues with the food, and I should have been a bit more assertive with my commis chefs. One example was the under-caramelizing of the onions for the soup, if I had been more clear to the commis about what the caramelisation does, and how important it is, we wouldn't have had to go back afterwards and re-caramelise some of the onions(!!!) But hey ho, lesson learned.
My menu was this: (and keep in mind, I'm just a pastry chef!)

Starter - French Onion soup with Baguette Crouton and Comte Croutons
(note the wee, leaf-shaped cheese crouton half-melted into the soup... there was another one somewhere)

Main - Smoked Mackerel and Leek Tart with confit tomatoes, balsamic reduction, and rocket
(the garnish on this one was the dodgy one, the ends were actually supposed to be bent opposite ways so that they would cross... Also, the leek in the bottom were served hot, as well as the smoked mackerel, but the cheese filling was cold, for contrast. A bit too much filling though, so the balance was off...)

Palate-Cleanser - Fish to chocolate? Dont think so! So I threw in a palate cleanser. I made a lemon granita, and used basil leaves and peach pate de fruit for garnishes. This was actually declared a big hit, and even the dish of the day!

Dessert - Dark chocolate tart, hazelnut tuile biscuit, white chocolate sorbet, chocolate stick garnish, and apricot coulis. I got the comment that this actually wasn't sweet enough, and that it should have been sweeter. I can see where they were coming from when they said this, but I was still quite happy with it (I liked the way that I looked at chocolate in different ways here though, and I didn't want to make this dish too sweet as it was only for a lunch menu.)

And it's onwards and upwards now! We've got another practical assessment next wednesday, so I'm going to be burning the midnight oil again this weekend getting all the paperwork sorted!

1 comment:

  1. "Just a pastry chef" indeed. It all looks fantastic. Bon courage. Thanks for commenting on my blog and leaving the helpful tip about marzipan.