“Truth in Menus”, another Mock Final, and one more Fire Alarm – Day 66

TODAY’S TIDBITS

  • Never try and put one over on the chef

Yesterday, Chef Dominique told us all never to try and trick the chef. One student tried to say she had put sugar in her Crème Chantilly, but the Chef was pretty sure she didn’t. This brings up the topic of “Truth in Menus”. “TiM” is a series of legislations that various states have passed requiring truthful disclosure on menus (New York state has not passed this yet). A few days ago Azure, the Intercontinental Hotel’s fancy dancy restaurant in Toronto was found guilty of all sorts of breaches in this category. Their “wild” salmon was farmed, their “organic” granola was Quaker Harvest Crunch, their “homemade dressing” was bought, their Japanese Wagyu steak was regular skirt steak, their “freshest artisanal ingredients” were frozen, etc… you can read the article here. Wow!!!!! I’ve always assumed all menus are truthful, now I’m not so sure. Apparently the most numerous offences are around fish (usually frozen rather than fresh). Congrats to Toronto for their “menu verification squad”.

Doma, flambeeing her pork
Doma, flambeeing her pork
Dalal cocotting a potato
Dalal cocotting a potato

Today was another mock final where we walk in, draw a lot, which gives us our station location and presentation time. I drew c6, which is a station right by the chef. I really enjoy being near to the chef. Yes, you get “reminded” every time you’re doing something wrong, but you learn so much more than being in the back. I didn’t fillet my skate so well today, but decided to do 4 plates anyway (we only “have” to do 2 plates today, but on the real exam you have to do 4, so why not practice). I thought I did pretty ok today. My tart got an “awesome”, but I under-buttered my skate and had my capers and croutons bunched up on the plate. I think our work station was jinxed today because Megan’s consommé didn’t clarify at all, Doma’s pork was rare having read three different temperatures with three different thermometers (everywhere from 113F to 170F), and Emma was getting “constructive reminders” on a more-than-regular basis. Dalal got the highest award today: “The best ICC tart the Chef has EVER tasted”. Wow!

Keeping warm in the freezing cold during the fire alarm.
Keeping warm in the freezing cold during the fire alarm.
Chef Dominique giving us our critiques.
Chef Dominique giving us our critiques.

I’ve also really learnt the importance of uniformity of cut. For instance, cutting my apple pieces for my apple compote exactly the same size means they all cook at the same speed and to the same hopefully perfect doneness. This particularly applies to garlic and onion pieces that you’re frying. You definitely don’t want anything burning in your pan, and those small pieces are guaranteed to burn before the bigger ones are done. I now understand why the French are so stipulating (sp?) about making sure the vegetables are all cut to the exact same size.

Tomorrow, we’re on to new recipes (finally), and we also are getting a sous vide demonstration, which should be interesting. I’ll have lots to report about this new way of cooking.

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