Fish Today    

July 27 1998
Meet the New Chef
Same as the Old Chef?

The task of the day:

Cooking Principles

New Chef. New Group. New Class. Today went very well. My group is an interesting mix of people. Geoff is a cook at a place in NYC. He's only been cooking there for a short while. He's here because his chef is very traditional French. Sephanie is a cook in the catering department at a large university. She's here because they are trying to get their cooking out of a rut. Mike hasn't ever cooked before. He's here on a dare.

Today was saute, pan fry, and deep fry day. We are in a new kitchen. Our stove has 6 burners and 6 hot tops, with two ovens below. If it helps you to think of this as a dozen burners, please do so. Much nicer than the four burners (one of which didn't work very well) that we had in our last kitchen.

Chef Baumann is Swiss, but he's been all over the world. He's a funny guy, and gives us enough looseness with the preparations that we can work the way we feel, within certain guidelines. In talking about what makes meat tender (lack of exercise) he pointed at Milli and said, "She is not tender, I'd not like to chew on her."

* * *

Today we prepared:

  • Deep Fried Flounder
  • Tomato with Duxelle Stuffing
  • Steamed Brocholli
  • Potatoes with Parsley
  • Tomato Coulis

* * *

Our group rocked on this. We just cranked right on through, no wondering what was going on. No need to be checking up on others. We divided the work and proceeded through it. It was really great. I felt like I was on a team. Mike rose very nicely to the challenge, and just asked what he should do. He then proceeded to do it very well.

Mike's an interesting story. He's here with two other guys. One of them is here because he owns several restaurants and would like to understand what he cooks are up to. The other two (Mike and Doc) are here on a dare from this first guy. But for all of the goofing around, they really became very interested and did extremely well. You could see a genuine expression of pride (and a bit of amazement) when the Chef complimented them on their pan fried chicken.

All this week, we'll be eating the food we make. We set it up in hotel trays and serve family meal style. We get to sample our own food, plus what other groups have made. We still eat in the same dining food, with salads and deserts provided for us. But we've graduated to being responsible for the main dishes ourselves. Kinda neat, really.

There were a few minor problems with the finished product. I should have noted a problem with the Coulis weeping and corrected it (it wasn't my dish, and I forgot to check it, something I learned last week that Geoff wouldn't have known). My overzealous stuffing of the tomatoes was noted by the chef. Personal preference, but he's right on this one. Fish came out very nice. I've not done much deep frying, and using a real fryer was actually alot of fun.

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Copyright 1998 Tom Dowdy