Saturday, October 17, 2009

Culinary school best advice so far: 'Taste, don't eat'

One can see wisdom in Executive Chef Tim Grable's warning -- "Taste, don't eat" -- about weight gain when studying at the California Culinary Academy.

Chef Grable (left) offered the advice in an orientation session the week before classes started. He said watching your weight can be a problem when you find yourself eating your homework and your in-class assignments, literally.

In school's first three weeks, we culinary students have made: butter-heavy béchamel sauce; a butter-laden brown roux for espagnole sauce; pasta and tomato sauce topped with Parmesan cheese; hollandaise sauce, full of butter; mayonnaise, with a cup of oil.

Granted, we had only small tastings of those delicious items, but it's easy to see how when we get to the preparation of foods that those creations become accompaniments of, the potential problem will be at the fore.

For the record: I have lost two pounds since school started.

Further for the record: We did start off with low-cal healthy stuff: learning to cut vegetables including spinach, tomato, carrot, onion and garlic.

But next comes some tempting carnivorous offerings as we learn the basic techniques of braising, sauteing, poaching, grilling and roasting. All accompanied, of course, by those sauces.

Wonder what the pastry and baking students are making?

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