Monday, March 23, 2009

The bridge is crossed, now stand and watch it burn...

I just took my Certified Culinarian exam, and passed with an 89%! I made a few stupid mistakes, which I chalk up to being in a hurry and kind of nervous. I don't really do well on tests! Wednesday I hand in my final project for Culinary Entreprenuership, I think I'll do fine with that, I've had lots of practice in these sort of things over the past 2 years. I'm just glad to have the CC test over with, that was my main focus of worry.

On Saturday my family and I went out for dinner at the restaurant where I'll be interning. I had salmon pizza, with cream cheese sauce, capers, and dill. It was very good! It was the first time in a long time that I've had something that was genuinely new! I'd never even heard of it before, and now I think I have a new favorite!

I've been toying with the idea of doing a "senior exhibition", in the form of a formal dinner for a few select guests. I've been thinking of the people and product I'll need, planning out the menu, all that fun stuff. It'll be like in "Babette's Feast" :-)

I feel sad about leaving my classmates for the last time. There's always been a "see you tomorrow" feel to things, now we don't know if we'll ever see each other again! Oh well, the culinary world is kind of like being in the mob, we all know each other, we'll hear from each other eventually. I'm ready for the next step. I won't say I'm not afraid, I'd be foolish not to be, but I think I'm as prepared as I can be. The rest of my education will have to take place in industry. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Countdown to my internship...

I've been away for a while, now to catch up! First of all, our pre-graduation dinner was a good time had by all. A few of my classmates and a few underclassmen met up in the lab, we each made something of our own and it was really fun dinner. I made poulet au porto, chicken in a creamy port sauce with mushrooms. Adam made banana poundcake with raspberries, Astred made acorn squash with sauteed artichokes and candied walnuts, Andreanna made some kind of pasta with alfredo sauce...I don't remember everything else, but it all came together really well and we all had a good time together. I even wore a dress when we were ready to sit down and eat! I think it must have been strange for my classmates to see me "as a girl", too bad no one had a camera!

Then we had a long weekend between terms, so I went home since I hadn't seen my parents since Christmas. When I got home, I took stock of the refrigerator and whipped out the cookbook I'd given my mother. They had leftover pork roast from the night before, so after a trip to Fareway I was ready to turn it into a pork ragout. I had onions, carrots, Pinot Noir, it all came together delightfully. When my parents got home from work, I had supper all ready for them, it was fun to surprise them with a treat. The next night I made my now-signature Chicken Wellington, this time with my Mom's help. She sauteed the onion and mushroom duxelle filling while I rolled out the puff pastry and seasoned the chicken. It's always fun to have someone else in the kitchen, to make it a team effort. They have a nice, big kitchen so it was just right! Normally my Dad doesn't eat "fancy" foods, he claims to just stick to meat and potatoes, but I've gotten him to eat my creations and he's admitted to liking them. I haven't forced anything too outlandish on him, nor will I, I know where the boundries lie. Not everyone's going to like everything, I accept that.

Last week, a couple of classmates and I did some real-estate shopping for our final restaurant project. Students in their seventh term have to go through the motions of creating a restaurant from the ground up. We have to find an empty building, figure in costs of rennovations, all of the equipment and products that we'd need for opening day. It's a fun idea, especially since Chef Gordon, my teacher, is seriously considering opening a student-run restaurant like the larger culinary schools have. It would really be cool if we could help with the planning of it, to leave something behind as our legacy. We found a really promising spot, the owner would love to turn it into a restaurant, so I think he might help us out with our final goal. Wish us luck!

Another thing seventh term students get to do is take our CC exams, to become Certified Culinarians upon graduation. That will look nice on a resume, and it'll help hone my cuts. I can fabricate a chicken in my sleep, but it's those darn vegetable cuts that flummox me to no end! Carrots are round! They want to stay round! Oh well, I'll get a handle on it before the test, I'm pretty sure I'll pass.

I've been getting some more hours at work lately, we just lost a cook, so the chef told me to expect to step it up. The last few gigs we've done haven't been too difficult, concessions for a home expo, but it seemed that no matter how many times we told the serving staff to alert us before they run completely out of something, we were always the last to know. Sigh. That's life.

I hope that when I graduate and become a full-time cook, I'll still be able to keep up with my writing. Both mediums are important to my self-expression, I honestly couldn't choose between them. They make me crazy, they keep me sane. Does that make sense? I've even considered becoming a food writer. That would be fun, going to different restaurants and write about them, to combine the two would be the most delightful dance for me.

Three weeks till my internship! I can't wait!