“Always Be Touching Your Meat!” says Chef Joe on Pork Day – Day 18

TODAY’S TIDBITS

  • One pork tenderloin yields 4 servings
  • Lard is simply rendered pig fat
  • Don’t use the expression “sweating like a pig”…pigs don’t sweat.
  • Add a few drops of vinegar to your sugar/water syrop to prevent it from crystallizing.
  • Cutlery is always stored and cleaned face down – no touching the parts that go into the customer’s mouth.

PORK DAY: Not only are we learning how to cook French food, but we’re starting to get accustomed to those huge French lunches as well. We’ve had two meat dishes every day for lunch for the past week….not that I’m complaining!

Chef V demonstrates how to cut at a slight diagonal to the grain
Chef V demonstrates how to cut at a slight diagonal to the grain
Terrence, a proud father of a sliced pork tournedo
Terrence, a proud father of a sliced pork tournedo

Today was Pork day. First sweet and sour tenderloin. Each team was given a whole port tenderloin, which we first de-silverskinned. Silver skin is a white/silver connective tissue that will not break down during cooking. I tried snapping it and couldn’t….that sucker was tough. After a brief trim, we marinated the tenderloin in a very unique tasting ginger-garlic-honey-Jalepeno-fish sauce-oil marinade. We then seared the tenderloin and into the oven. That was easy part, the sauce was again reduction after reduction after reduction. First the veal stock is reduced in half, then it is enriched with browned pig bones, browned onions & carrots, various aromatics and wine and reduced. Then we added part of the marinade “to add a little somethin somethin” and reduced again. As if it wasn’t rich enough we then added a honey/vinegar gastrique and reduced again. All the while we’re learning “to keep touching our meat” to test for doneness. Feels done…out of the oven, the tenderloin was served with lime supremes, and julienned ginger & lime zest blanched in classic sugar syrop. Tasted s-w-e-e-e-e-t!

Our tenderloin, maybe a little rare
Our tenderloin, maybe a little rare, but tasted great
A surprise delivery from charcuterie class, which we all chowed into
A surprise delivery from the charcuterie class, which we all chowed into

After eating a quarter tenderloin, it was onto Pork “tournedos” with sauce Charcutiere. We seared and then butter basted our tournedos (round pieces, usually beef tenderloin, tied up with string – these are few of my favourite things!), and into the oven. Meanwhile Pablo made up the Sauce Charcutiere (an interesting onion, white wine, veal demi-glass, mustard, and sliced pickels sauce.) Mustard really works well with pork. Chef V suggested serving these with the pickled vegetables we made several weeks ago that were still sitting in the fridge. It worked really well. Somewhere in the craziness we had a timed 20 minute potato cocotting trial in advance of our practical exam Friday. I only got 5 cocottes done (out of 8) but they were pretty well shaped. I’m getting close to being ready.

We had another coffee-requiring ServSafe session with Chef Bauer. He woke us all up though when Alton asked what percentage of people pass the ServSafe exam?…50%. What???? Uh oh, I guess it’s not so easy-peasy after all. After class I had a good chat with Chef B about unpasteurized cheeses and milk. He said some of the best cheddar he had tasted came from Canada.

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed (as I think many of us are). We had an exam today, and then on Friday we have 3 exams: a practical exam, then a written exam on the entire Level 1 (the first 4 weeks), and then the ServSafe exam. Today’s written exam was written while we were reducing our stock and browning the bones. Can’t say I’ve ever written an exam while having to watch pots on the stove at the same time. Chef V told us multi-tasking is key…this was certainly an unusual multi-task. Looking forward to Friday being over.

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