Don't forget to practice your culinary skills during the holidays.
The admonition from Chef Dan Fluharty came across as a command as much as a reminder. Either way, it was good to have in mind.
Having departed the city immediately after the last day of Culinary Foundations II final exam for a brief trip to Tucson, I hadn't had a chance to put the command/reminder into action. That is until Monday night at the home of my most gracious brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Marco and Thelma Ruiz.
They turned over their kitchen -- and their daughter Luna B. Ruiz -- to me for the evening. Luna as sous chef and yours truly as chef de cuisine cooked up a small storm. We roasted a chicken. We made a sauté of green beans and red bell peppers. We made pommes duchesse, the fancy piped potato that is a beautiful addition to any plate. We concocted a sauce nateur from the chicken pan drippings.
Twelve-year-old Luna was by my side the entire time, taking it all in and pitching in on every task. She absorbed the information like a sponge, even taking written notes on some of the French terminology. It was a joy to work with her, and it was a joy to cook good food in a confident manner for beloved family members.
The Ruiz family clearly enjoyed the evening's repast, dazzled by my still novice but growing-better-by-the-day culinary skills.
Chef Dan, one practice session down, many more to come.