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What I Learned at Culinary School Today

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Infrasonic

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Originally Posted by IndianBoyz
No offense, but this looks awful. I'd have sent it back.
The rest looks decent.



You'd send it back before tasting it? Interesting...
 

Infrasonic

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Originally Posted by Manton
Did you know that food was invented by an Indian?


 

itsstillmatt

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Originally Posted by IndianBoyz
No offense, but this looks awful. I'd have sent it back.
The rest looks decent.

It looks fine. It looks like what it is. If you wanted a highly plated dessert, it would be dumb to have ordered french toast with apples and ice cream.
 

kwilkinson

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Originally Posted by iammatt
It looks fine. It looks like what it is. If you wanted a highly plated dessert, it would be dumb to have ordered french toast with apples and ice cream.

Plus in 95% of situations, Manton, or any other student for that matter, doesn't get to decide how it is plated.
 

itsstillmatt

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Originally Posted by kwilkinson
Plus in 95% of situations, Manton, or any other student for that matter, doesn't get to decide how it is plated.
Seriously, though. If that is what I wanted for dessert, the last thing I would want would be a quenelle of ice cream, a tiny piece of french toast and some cool presentation of apples. I actually hate upscale restaurant desserts 99% of the time. They offer nothing but pretense.
 

kwilkinson

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I agree entirely. I usually don't order dessert (unless it's a tasting menu) just because they are so often very disappointing.
 

SField

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Originally Posted by iammatt
Seriously, though. If that is what I wanted for dessert, the last thing I would want would be a quenelle of ice cream, a tiny piece of french toast and some cool presentation of apples. I actually hate upscale restaurant desserts 99% of the time. They offer nothing but pretense.
Originally Posted by kwilkinson
I agree entirely. I usually don't order dessert (unless it's a tasting menu) just because they are so often very disappointing.
almost always the most disappointing course of the meal at good restaurants. You have no idea how many times I've gone to a great meal then not ordered desert, and gone to a diner for some coconut cream pie. In fact, I think the only thing some steak houses do better than decent restaurants is desert. My fav. desert experiences in the US have been at Tru and Alinea, for fine dining that is. Most often I don't like american deserts, but the best ones are usually made by some obese grandmother at some random mom and pop place.
 

IndianBoyz

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I want to make the curry fish cookies.
Anyway guys, if I were American, I wouldn't eat too much fish these days, besides the omega it might contain other oils now, ask Mr. Jindal.
 

Manton

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I am reviving this thread because I am cooking at a restaurant one day a week. Some important things I have learned:

When I ciseler shallots, the "batonettes" sort of fan out as I cut and I get som large pieces in there, whcih I then break down by giving the whole pile a working over with the knife. The chef did not like this. There should not be any big pieces. He said to first cut the horizontal slices (parallel to the floor) into the shallot before I do the vertical ones (perpendicular to the floor). Then don't try to cut all the way back to the root, like I was doing. Just toss when you get about 2/3 of the way. I tried it his way and it worked better but I still found that the fanning problem was an issue.

Well, that's because while the straight edge of my knife was sharp, the tip was not. I had to specifically work the belly and the point. You can create a sharp point by turning the knife over and dragging the spine at the tip in the stone. A sharp point does not catch and pull and therefore minimizes fanning.

Salamanders take things from toasted to burnt in about a nanosecond. You can't put something under there and then go do something else.

Onion soup has to go under the salamander which of course heats up the crock. It then gets plated on a plate with a white doilie. If a drop of soup spills on that, chef will send the soup back from the pass. Since the soup crock is sitting in a water bath, either in the oven on the stove until service, the bottom is always wet. So you have to take the crock, put it on a towel, twist to dry, then put it on the plate. There are no potholders or oven mitts in a professional kitchen. Towels are not effective for holding soup crocks because the towels either dip into the soup or the water bath and spread liquid anywhere. That's how plates get sent back. So you you have to plate the crocks with your bare fingers, very quickly. This sucks.

The little clicky things that spark to light gas burners do not work on roughly 75% of burners in a restaurant kitchen. Hence, during service, all burners that might possibly be needed are always on. This makes it damn near unbearable to stand near the stove for long.

But nothing so bad as the grill, which truly is the 9th Circle of Hell.

Dinner service is much harder than brunch.

If you can tell you have plated something badly, don't waste everyone's time by bringing it to the pass. Save what you can, wipe the plate and start over. They'd rather wait another minute than waste two having to walk it back and tell you that you suck.

Slicing raw asparagus longitudinally on a mandoline is not quite as hard as it looks and while dangerous, it is not fatal.

Breading three pounds of calamari takes nearly an hour.

Making ice cream quenelles with one spoon is really hard. It helps to heat the spoon with a creme brulee torch.

Some peolpe have bad attitudes and are totally shunned. It's like an infantry squadron. If you take care of other people, they will take care of you. If you slack, you will be ostracized.

All lulls in service are not to be used up with rest. You are supposed to find something to do/cut/clean/plate, etc.

There is an underground economy of foodstuffs with a complex set of trading rituals and values among the chefs and among the FoH staff.

Quail eggs are yummy.

Standards of cleanliness are absurdly high, no matter what Bourdain says.

Don't ever touch someone else's knife without permission. Even the exec will ask the lowest nobody before he picks up their knife.

This is a young man's game. I may as well be 80 in there.
 

Manton

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Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH
What do you wear under your apron?

a uniform
 

patrickBOOTH

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Seems like there is a whole culture that exists in the kitchen that you would never know about until you get back there. Very interesting and good luck.
 

mordecai

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excellent post. the shallot thing will actually be very helpful for me. thank you
 

Manton

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middle-aged career switchers can be rather annoyingly evangelical in their chatter. Also smug about how much less money they now earn and how virtuous that makes them.
 
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