I think I’m still having a hard time believing that I’m already more than halfway through with my culinary studies. April 2013, which seemed like such a long way away when I started the programme in August of last year, will be here in just a few short months. Facebook followers will have being watching my progress through the food photos I’ve been posting. From the Culinary Techniques course this past summer to the dishes that we made in each of the levels. In the level prior to the one I started this week, we were responsible for making the dinner each evening to feed the students and staff at the school, aka Family Meal. We were also in charge of planning out and producing the food for a Buffet one evening of the course.
When we began this level a couple of months ago, one of the tasks we knew was before us was to maximize the use of half of a pig. This exercise is a combination of butchery, charcuterie, resourcefulness, and budgeting. The results would be put on display for our fellow culinary students and some of the school’s instructors to sample for their evening meal. Our night for buffet was the Friday just before everyone headed out for the holiday break. (As our class is a small group, we had just the one big buffet. Other classes are organized differently with two buffets during the course of the level.)
We ended up with quite a spread, which several chefs said was really impressive, given the smaller size of our team. There were the traditional pâtés and terrines. We took a whole salmon and turned some of it into gravlax and some into salmon rillettes. We also had mustards and chutneys as well as steamed mussels, smoked pork belly, and a ham carved to order.
One of our chefs walked us through making a fancy aspic tray which we used to display the head cheese that had been made from our pig. It was an interesting experience, not just from the production point of view, but to see it all finally come together and to watch the reactions of our guests to all the food we’d worked so hard to put together for them to enjoy.