Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The rules of engagement, culinary school style

Monkey wrench, curve ball, change of plans, the old switcheroo.

Or, maybe we should look at it as the surprise introduction of a new menu.

Call it what you will, but we students in Culinary Foundations II heard today what our lives will be like for the next three days, and it's interestingly different than what we expected, not to mention even more challenging.

First, on Wednesday, we will get a 50-question written final exam, rather than the 25-question exam we had been anticipating. Fair enough, I say. The written side of this is something that I for one am comfortable with.

Then comes the more challenging aspects of our final exams: the actual cooking on Thursday and Friday. We were looking forward to cooking two fully plated meals each day and have been working on our mise en place and production plans in anticipation.

Chef Dan Fluharty (above) revealed today, almost as an afterthought, that half of us will do one set of menus on Thursday, and half will do the other. Then on Friday, we will switch. We will not know until Thursday who will be doing what.

We all had expected to do roasted chicken and poached salmon on Thursday, and grilled pork chop and veal scaloppini on Friday. Now we will need to be prepared for all on Thursday.

Additionally, Chef said, we will work four people to a station for the exams, rather than the two to a station we have been enjoying. That means more competition for prep space and stove burners and more crowded conditions overall.

As my wife would say: Breathe.

It will all be fine. Even if it isn't, b y day's end Friday, it will all be over.

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