Minutes before the start of our cooking competency exercise today, Chef Dan Fluharty did a rundown with us of the production timeline, to make sure everyone was on the right track after Monday's near disaster.
He mentioned the need to get the duck leg in the oven first thing. Gulp! That's not what my carefully-put-together timeline called for. I tuned in to listen for his reasoning. It was, he said, that the duck leg could take much longer to cook than any of us might anticipate.
So, I started by searing the duck and putting it in the oven, and that automatically moved the plating of the duck dish to first on my timeline. The turkey scaloppine, with a much quicker turnaround time, would come second.
Nervous about switching at the last minute, I nevertheless hit the mark on both plates, getting everything done on time and with good flavors and the right amount of cooking. Just a couple of shortcomings: less taste than desired in my vinaigrette, because the oil and mustard separated; a bit of sticky sweetness in my gastrique, a sweet-sour orange-juice-based sauce for the duck.
Elsewise, it was a good cooking day and a good confidence builder via shuffling things around and doing so with success.
(Photo shows turkey cutlets with mushroom sauce at upper left, duck leg at right, potatoes croquettes at bottom.)