So, I was trying to decide if I should give daily updates about class or if I should just give general outlines. Daily seems like too much detail to me, but maybe you want to know? Tell me your thoughts. I thought I’d give a brief description of what my Food Service Production class is like so far. It’s vastly different than meatcutting, but that’s not really surprising, is it?
Class starts at 6am, like all AM culinary labs. We take roll, and then jump right into lecture. Lecture usually consists of a powerpoint of basic skills that we are going to use for the day. Our powerpoints detail all the different types of sauces and stocks and any other relevant information to what we are cooking that day. And then the fun begins!
Usually after lecture, we practice knife skills and chateau potatoes. A chateau potato is a seven sided, with slighly tapered sides. It kind of looks like a seven sided football. Supposedly, this type of cut is supposed to show off the skills of a chef, but I say it’s a road to a crippled hand. Chateauing is kind of like long division in grade school. Your teacher teaches you the hard way, diving by hand and then tells you that in roughly 5 seconds, you can do the same thing on your calculator. There’s no shortcut to a chateau potato. We also practice doing knife cuts: 1/4 x 1/4 x 2 cuts and the 1/8 cut. The 1/8 cut is the hardest because it is so miniscule.
Finally, we start production, usually around 7:30. We are assigned different dishes on the menu and then divide up into groups to make them. The focus of Food Service Production is to learn how to saute, shallow fry and bake, so most of our dishes have those techniques involved. There is also a lot of butter and cream involved in cooking, which is so against my nature! I always want to cook with oil, not with butter. The quickest way to a heart attack is chicken kiev. Chicken breast rolled around pats of butter and then shallow fried.
I have made everything from chicken marsala, to stuffed lobster, to omletes, over easy eggs, seafood stew, stuffed zuchinni and tomatoes. Also EGGS. FSP is all about eggs, eggs and more eggs. There is always meat involved and it’s pretty slim pickin’s if you’re vegetarian. That’s classical French cooking for you though. Light isn’t really an option in this class.
Afterwards, we feed another class the food we made, then WE get to eat it and then we clean the kitchen until in sparkles. Literally. The kitchens I clean at school are more clean than my kitchen at home currently. Odd? Yes and no. I have alloted time to clean my school kitchen. I have NO time to clean my home kitchen.
I’d say I’m fairly confident at sauteing, shallow frying and baking. What I need to work on is flipping an omelet in the pan, sans spatula. Also, avoiding having things spray into my face, i.e. lobster water from a claw or hot oil on my eye lid, Yep, that happened on Thursday in class. Nearly done with FSP and then onto Beverage Service!