Wednesday, February 03, 2010
March madness? No: February frenzy
Seven days remain in Culinary Foundations III, the final class in the basics of classic French cuisine at the California Culinary Academy. That means with each day the pace quickens.
All is leading to a monstrous final exam at the stovetops in one week: two hours of cooking to plate two full meals, to specific, prescribed menus that we have covered in one form or another.
First will be somewhat of a free-form session. We will have up to 15 minutes to cut a whole chicken into 10 specified parts. Then after putting away nine parts, we will have 45 minutes to prepare a five-component meal around a chicken breast from the bird we just cut up. We choose a sauce, starch, vegetable and garnish from what is available in our classroom kitchen.
Second part, immediately after, will be similar to the Food Network program "Chopped." Each of us will get what Chef called a "mystery basket" of five ingredients from which we must make a five-course meal in one hour. Each basket will have a different protein in it.
Timing as well as food preparation and cooking quality will be emphasized.
Are we nervous? Right down to the bottoms of our black-and-white checkered chef's trousers.