The humble potato humbled me in culinary school.
In the last 30 minutes of today's last class, we got to touch real food. It was sooner than I thought we would, and that excited me. Alas, the assignment to first battonet then small dice a potato proved more difficult than I imagined.
I have lots of cutting, chopping, dicing and knife experience. The trouble: It's all self-taught and without any logic other than getting the items into small pieces for cooking and edibility.
Now Chef Tony is doing the teaching, using "the Bible": Wayne Gisslen's "Professional Cooking". Gisslen points out that cutting food products into uniform shapes and sizes is important because: "1. It ensures even cooking. 2. It enhances the appearance of the product."
Practice, practice, practice will make perfect. For today, I was the class "before" example. Chef Tony used my sad pile of unevenly cut batonnets to show other students, preceded by an apologetic shrug to me, how not to do it.
For the record, the batonnet must be 1/4 inch on each of four sides and 2 1/2 to 3 inches long. In other words, a perfect French fry. From there, the small dice should leave 1/4-inch cubes.
Wednesday will be another day. Carrots will be on the cutting board, for a lesson in julienne, brunoise and fine brunoise.
(Photo credit: www.jsonline.com)