Monday, November 16, 2009

Pat head, rub belly at same time? You can be a saucier

To make beurre blanc, Chef Dan Fluharty instructs, "you have to pat your head and rub your belly."

The age-old motor-skills coordination game for kids works for we adults learning to be chefs at the California Culinary Academy. For one must do the equivalent to have a chance at getting beurre blanc right.

Beurre blanc requires that after the wine, wine vinegar and shallot reduction, introduction of cold butter followed immediately and continuously by a to-and-fro motion with the sauté pan across the stove burner and a simultaneous round-and-round stirring of the pan's contents with a spatula. That brings about the desired emulsifying of the butter with the flavorful parts of the reduction, and it is the essence of beurre blanc.

The pat-head, rub-belly coordination has become an apt metaphor for the multi-tasking it takes to handle the jobs in a commercial kitchen -- or any kitchen, for that matter.

"You are learning how to cook, how to be cooks ... ," Chef Dan said. "You have to do five or six things at once."

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