Wine Day: 6 Whites, 5 Reds and 8000 Years of Human History – Day 39

TODAY’S TIDBITS When uncorking the bottle, always try to face the label to the guest for the whole process. Salt, acid, fat, and protein in food all lower the acidic and tannin taste of wine. Sweetness increases the tannin taste as does spicy food, which also increases the alcohol taste. Olive oil also contains tannins […]

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“CHICKEN OUR WAY” – Day 38

TODAY’S TIDBITS Put a little brown sugar in your chicken deep-fry batter – wow, amazing! (courtesy of Rachel) Deeply brown your chicken bones and trimming and add them to your sauce before straining – this adds a massive dimension to the taste. Slice your chicken breast rather than serving whole – it looks better, and […]

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Pasta Day: Gnocchi, Ravioli and Lasagna – Day 37

TODAY’S TIDBITS Don’t put oil in your pasta boiling water – it really has no effect, and can prevent the sauce from sticking to the pasta. Taste your pasta boiling water – most people don’t taste the water, but the saltiness is important. Make sure to press all the air out of your ravioli’s before […]

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Cheese Day: Little Miss Muffet and her Curds and Whey – Day 36

TODAY’S TIDBITS It takes 10 pounds of milk to make 1 pound of cheese – so no more whining about the price of cheese. A top from an opened can be used as a ‘diffuser’ by placing it between a pot and a flattop burner to prevent burning – particularly useful if you are simmering […]

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Wild Striped Bass with 5 Types of Mushrooms, and an Endive Salad – Day 35

TODAY’S TIDBITS When sautéing mushrooms in butter, throw in a sprig of thyme and a clove of crushed garlic before the mushrooms. This adds one more element to the flavor. For an added punch, add finely diced shallots near the end of browning. Use your fish spatula to rest your fish after cooking – saves […]

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Spaghetti Squash, Falafels and an Oil Fire – Day 34

TODAY’S TIDBITS Consider putting a bit of ground flaxseed at the bottom of a fruit tart – this adds a unique sweetness as an added dimension When cutting a large object with a knife (e.g. squash, water melon), cover the back of the knife tip with a hand towel and push down. You get a […]

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Striped Bass & Lentils, some unique flavors, and a Nutrition Primer – Day 33

TODAY’S TIDBITS A dab of butter is often added to a sauce prior to serving (monter au beurre) – however, if you brown the butter first and then add it, the sauce will taste “oh my goodness!” Never put your rolling pin in water, it will eventually warp In France, you start culinary school at […]

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Crepe Suzette, Banana Beer Fritters, and a Bande De Fruits – Day 32

TODAY’S TIDBITS Don’t egg-wash the sides of puff pastry, this will hinder the layers puffing out Put puff pastry in the fridge/freezer and then straight into the oven – the freezer helps seals the crust, and holds in the steam better, making for a bigger “puff”. Use a pastry brush to wipe the flour off […]

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A Genoise, Lady Fingers, and a Bloomingdale’s Christmas Window Gingerbread House – Day 31

TODAY’S TIDBITS Make a notch up your cake, so when you divide it in three, you can line up the notches after you’ve iced it. After filling your cake pan with batter, spin it on the counter, and the batter will fill out the pan. After you’ve buttered your cake pan, use some of the […]

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Apple and Pear Tarts, Quiche Lorraine – Day 30

TODAY’S TIDBITS Use a melon baller to core apples, it creates a nice shape when you slice the apples. Always turn your dough so you’re only rolling front and backwards. Rolling sideways creates uneven thicknesses in your crust. Use your knuckle to push your dough into your pie plate, and then use a floured piece […]

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Mousses and Soufflés, Pate a Choux and The Exodus – Day 29

TODAY’S TIDBITS Butter your ramekin with upward strokes, this gives the soufflé ‘channels’ along which to rise. Preheat your oven 25 degrees above the called for amount. Opening the oven door reduces the temperature by at least this much, often more. Then lower to correct temperature. Whip cream over an ice bath for quicker better […]

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Meringues, Fingers in Boiling Sugar and a Farm – Day 28

TODAY’S TIDBITS (Courtesy of Chef Fischer) Vegetables loose 50% of their nutrients within 3 days of harvesting Squeeze lemon juice from a lemon through your fingers, so you catch the seeds. Oysters start out male, and then change to female after 3 years. We learnt about frozen desserts and meringues today. There are three types […]

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CUSTARDS & DOUGHS – Day 27

TODAY’S TIDBITS Use the egg yolk AND egg white if you want the custard to stand by itself i.e. crème caramel (the egg white’s albumen holds it in place). Otherwise, just use egg yolks. Add a little bit of sugar to your milk to prevent it from scalding. Vanilla extract taste pretty close to using […]

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EGG DAY: Poached, Scrambled, Baked, Stuffed, and Two Omelets (flat and rolled) – Day 26

TODAY’S TIDBITS A ‘dozen’ eggs is a retail term. Restaurants use eggs delivered in 30 egg flats. They’ve never heard of ‘a dozen eggs’. Egg whites can foam to 8 times their volume. Spin an egg on the counter, if you stop it and release it and it starts spinning again its raw, if it […]

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Stuffing: Chicken Paupiette, Vegetables Farcis, Farce a Gratin – Day 25

TODAY’S TIDBITS Food costs are 20%-35% of the price a dish. 20% for a food stand, and 35% for a higher end restaurant. While high-end restaurants charge more, they tend to use more expensive ingredients (reduced sauces, alcohol, shaped items, etc…) When making sausages – generally use 75% meat, 25% fat. Stuffings are a great […]

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Braising – Rabbit Ragout and Lamb Shank – Day 23

TODAY’S TIDBITS When buying a whole skinned rabbit in the older days, they included the head so you could tell that it wasn’t a cat. The regulations are better nowadays. Score (brief cut “like a paper cut”) your lamb shank before searing – this gives more surface area to brown and enhances flavor. Don’t puree (mash) […]

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Veal Blanquette and Pot-Au-Feu (Sauce Raifort) – Day 22

TODAY’S TIDBITS Scrape the bone flakes off the side of your shortribs – these are there as a result of the bandsaw used to originally butcher them, and can be unpleasant to eat. Never lean over the dish you are serving, for hygienic reasons – which I found happens quite a bit because you want […]

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Roast Chicken Grand-Mère, and Sautéed Venison Loin Bordelaise – Day 21 (Day 1 of Level 2)

TODAY’S TIDBITS Sear against the grain of the meat, you get a better sear. When presenting meat with sauce, put sauce on the seared parts, but leave the cut parts un-sauced so you can see the doneness. No mise cups (small plastic cups) of sugar in the kitchen, they get mixed up with salt too […]

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3 Exams and The Scent of A Rose – Day 20 (Test day)

TODAY’S TIDBITS Always bring a pen to exam day (nudge nudge Erik) Roses are now bred with no/reduced thorns, but these roses have very little scent. You have to use roses from the Middle East / Turkey to smell the real scent of a rose, and to properly infuse a rose taste into food. Seedless watermelons […]

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The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Day 19

TODAY’S TIDBITS LAMB is the meat from a one year old sheep or younger. MUTTON is the meat from a sheep over one year. Lamb neck is an inexpensive under-rated cut of meat, and can be made into a succulent stew. Cooking meat leaving the bone in gives you more flavour. Have a mise cup […]

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“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 […]

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Dinner? No thanks, just ate Filet Mignon and a Grilled Steak for Lunch – Day 17

TODAY’S TIDBITS Pepper your steak after grilling, charred pepper become bitter tasting. When sharpening your knife on a stone, angle the blade so the back is a penny’s thickness off the stone. The ‘best’ stew if made from the shin, or the tail. These are very well worked muscles, so they have lots of collagen, […]

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Chicken Poached a la Mediterranean, and Sauteed Chicken Chasseur – Day 15

TODAY’S TIDBITS Briefly fry your spices before using, it brings out their flavour significantly. Removing the wishbone when quartering a chicken makes it much easier to carve the breast. When plating sautéed chicken, don’t cover the nicely browned skin with sauce. Never boil meat, simmer it. Simmering water is at 195, boiling water is at […]

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Lobsters, Mussels, Scallops, Clams, Oysters and a Snail – Day 14

TODAY’S TIDBITS Shuck your oyster with the round side down, this way when you finally get it open the juice stays in the “cup”. When soaking your mussels before cooking, throw in a spoonful of flour, they actually absorb/eat it and become much more plump. The ideal lobster weight is 2-3 pounds. Below one pound […]

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Goujonettes de Limande Aux Deux Sauces…. or…. Fish and Chips! – Day 13

TODAY’S TIDBITS ROUND fish yield 2 fillets, FLAT fish yield 4 fillets (smaller of course). FLAT fish are born with their eyes on both sides, but one of the eyes migrates over to the other side, so they end up on the same side. When ‘battering’ (i.e. flour-eggs-breadcrumbs), put your seasoning (salt, pepper, etc) on the […]

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Trout Grenoble, Bass Papillote , with a touch of Gravlax – Day 12

TODAY’S TIDBITS The two broad fish categories are ROUND (muscly, fatty: = because they swim far in heavy currents: trout, salmon, tuna), and FLAT (lean, thin, both eyes on one side: because they live at the bottom where there is less current and don’t swim far: sole, flounder, halibut). Add salt to egg whites, and […]

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Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes and a Duck – Day 11

TODAY’S TIDBITS Add salt to fries immediately after frying – the heat melds the salt flavour. Also, potatoes suck up a lot salt, so put more than usual. When you want potato slices to stick together in a dish (e.g. in scalloped potatoes), don’t wash them after cutting, the starch will keep them together Rubbing […]

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Salads, Vinaigrettes and Olive Oils – Day 10

TODAY’S TIDBITS Always dry your salad ingredients prior to tossing, or the dressing won’t grip and will run off the leaf onto the plate. The water will also dilute the carefully balanced vinaigrette. The word vinegar = sour wine (vin aigre). Most vinegar is made by fermenting wine. You should be able to eat a […]

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Curing, Pickling, Duck Confit, Gravlax and Bacalao – Day 9

TODAY’S TIDBITS If your salmon has thick white lines in it, it is farmed (which almost all salmon is). Those white lines are Omega-6 fat, not the much-desired Omega-3 which are found in the wild salmon. Use pink salt in your paté or it turns a pale grey Bacteria need a certain water percentage to […]

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Soup Mayhem – Day 8

TODAY’S TIDBITS Use frozen bread slices to cut your croutons prior to sauteeing – you get a perfect shape. Use a wooden spoon to stir your soups, you can ‘feel’ the consistency much more accurately, you don’t scratch the pan, and the handle don’t get hot Add a pinch of sugar to your mayonnaise and […]

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From Mayonnaise to Sabayon – Day 7

TODAY’S TIDBITS The average restaurant guest takes 10min to eat each course. The average restaurant guest gets antsy if they have to wait more than 7 minutes between courses Woody Allen used to play clarinet at Elaine’s, where they introduced the strawberry Sabayon. Elaine’s wasn’t a great restaurant, but was very popular because of Woody. […]

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White Wine, Bechamel, and Chateaubrian Sauces – Day 6

TODAY’S TIDBITS When skimming stock, swirl from the middle and then skim the edges, you end up removing very little stock and lots of gunk Use a square of spongy drawer liner to hold your cutting board in place A “demi” glace is a stock reduced by half, a “glace” is a stock reduced by […]

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Garniture Bouquetiere and more Stock – Day 5

TODAY’S TIDBITS No salt in the stocks, the cooks will put that in as needed later Sauté pans have slanted edges so that any steam quickly is out of there, sautoirs have straight edges so that the steam will curl back in If you have a gas burner, buy pots with not only a thick […]

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Stocks and Tournage – Day 4

TODAY’S TIDBITS If possible, put an odd number of a vegetable on a plate: it looks more symmetrical but creates a tension Add salt to fried potatoes at the end or the salt starts to interact with the starch Mussels ‘moules’ can be a big money maker, a 15 pound bag will serve 15 people […]

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Ratatouille and Timbale – Day 3

TODAY’S TIDBITS Add salt to a vinaigrette BEFORE the oil, as oil can prevent the salt from dissolving Sweat onions for a while BEFORE adding salt, the salt will dry them out too fast Serve a free canapé, you’ll sell an extra drink (where all the profit is) Endives and white asparagus are made by […]

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Servsafe – Day 2

TODAY’S TIDBITS The pasteurizing of milk can actually make it MORE vulnerable, because often the natural bacteria give it defence. Many cheeses in Europe are un-pasteurized and taste better, they’re not allowed in North America however. Cooking will kill parasites, and bacteria, but not their toxins, not all viruses, not all spores. If you’re going […]

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