Stopping at David Bowie’s apartment/vigil again this morning definitely set a different mood for the day for me, and either way there was definitely a different vibe in the kitchen today – “everything was under control”. We had all done our dishes yesterday and today was going to be different!
For me I was in a “Zen” like state. I collected my ingredients in one or two trips (rather than 10 yesterday), I knew what I was doing, I had all the right tools and pans ready to go, I knew what 12 mistakes I wasn’t going to repeat, and my head was clear. Also, I was on team #4 today, which added an extra 20min to the preparation time.
I had my consommé clarifying no problem, I ‘taillaged’ my vegetables properly (not like yesterday), my sauce Espagnole had browned and “singer” vegetables no problem, I flambéed my pork chops calmly, I fried my potatoes promptly after I julienned them so they didn’t oxidize, I seasoned my consommé with salt 5 times till it was perfect (I even took a sample over to Rachel and had her give her approval). Throughout the process I was cleaning my station, organizing my mise cups, and sanitizing my cutting board. I felt pretty good.
Speaking of cleaning, I have to admit I’m having a slightly passive-aggressive fight with the guy who washes the dishes. While the past dishwashers were fine to take dirty dishes, this guy insists that every dish is fully rinsed and will definitely not wash your cutting board or any other unauthorized items. It’s a bit annoying so I’ve been giving him ‘mostly clean’ dishes just to see if he will take them – usually I loose this battle. Oh well.
I guess humility is good thing. I got an “excellent work” on my consommé and taillage, but I was quickly brought back down to planet earth with my pork dish – despite “cooking a ‘d’ and plating a ‘b”, my careful attention to this presentation detail resulted in the pork being plated the wrong way, and also my potato dauphin was over-salted and moist. The “cooking a d” refers to the shape of the pork chop in the pan and means the bone is sticking up on the right and the meat is on the bottom left. This is your first sear (presentation side down). When you put it on the plate it is a “b” shape – i.e. the bone is on the left and the meat is on the bottom right. I screwed it up because the bone curved differently and….well….enough with the excuses…I screwed it up. But my pork was perfectly cooked (internal temp 145F), and the sauce was so good I had to bring some home.
When presenting my plates to Chef Dominique, he asked if he could keep one of my plates. I said yes, of course. It turns out this was for the “plates of shame” display. He kept examples of good and bad plates to show us all how to improve. My plate was used as an example of an improperly plated pork, as well as a moist potato dauphin. Ugh.
I met with Gina (career services) after class to figure out the best externship fit, and we decided on 3 Michelin star “Jean Georges”, so we fired off a letter to them – fingers crossed. Meanwhile I got a volunteer position at a James Beard event for this Friday which I’m excited about.
Tomorrow is a mock exam where we do all our dishes under exam conditions. I think most of us are feeling pretty good about our dishes – that is if we can wake up from all the shots at the Toad Hall tonight.