Friday, November 06, 2009

A Grand Marnier ending to culinary school's first term

Hands that shook with nerves six weeks ago were rock steady today in wedging oranges for a celebratory "orange carpaccio with Grand Marnier sabayon" in Culinary Foundations I.

Fittingly, it was the final day of our first term at the California Culinary Academy. How far our skills and self-confidence have come since the first day of classes Sept. 28.

Having already taken us through our written final exam and skills tests, Chef Tony Marano proposed the delicious and refreshing dessert for our last class, and several of us took part in the prep work. Chef Tony did the honors in whipping the sabayon, a silky combination of egg yolks, orange and lemon juices, orange zest, Grand Marnier and sugar. The sauce was emulsified and ladled onto plates of delicate orange slices macerated with rose water and garnished with chopped and toasted pistachios.

The word "chef" is from the French, and it means "chief." Hence, the chef de cuisine is the chief of the kitchen. Chefs Tony and John Meidinger have clearly and assertively been our chiefs for the first term at the California Culinary Academy.

Each made a sincere offer of mentoring as we wend our way through the next seven-plus months of studies.

(Photos show the sabayon at upper left; orange slices being prepared on the right; at the bottom Chef Tony on the left and students preparing the treat.)

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