Sunday, June 17, 2007

Last week in culinary school!

Tomorrow starts the last week in culinary school. Next week Jake and I are going on a week long road trip and when we get back I will take my final and then start a 3-week course on wine. My days will start around 9 or 9:30 and last until 3 or 4 p.m. After wine, we have a big celebration meal with our chefs and then we are graduates of culinary school. Oh, in order to graduate, we have to have a grade of at least a 70 or higher.

I am excited to graduate. A friend and I were talking of starting a party/catering buisness together. She likes to plan parties and I like to cook. We'll see if that pans out. The other idea I had was to work at a bakery. Baking bread every day has been so much fun the past week that I think it would be neat to do it after I finish school. That or be a personal chef, helping busy moms make meals for their families or do events. Hmm... definitely food for thought, eh?

Bread, bread, bread!

Being in the pastry kitchen has been way more fun than I thought. The first rotation I was on was the snack team which meant that Sarah and I were in charge of making breakfast and one other snack for the school. That was fun because we got to make things like sticky buns, frittatas, fresh fruit tarts, and cherry scones. The scones were awesome! Definitely better than the ones you can get at Starbuck's.

Well after that rotation I started on bread with Jennifer, another fellow classmate in the pastry kitchen. She and I had the best time together. We made some funky breads, some yummy breads, and some fancy breads. We would also make French bread every day. Tall French baguettes that were baked in the wood-fired oven every day. Speaking of the wood-fired oven, that thing was part of my daily workout routine. Not only did we have to maintain a good roaring fire, but we also had to rake out the hot coals when it was time to bake and then we had to "mop" out the oven in order to remove all the ash and little bits that were stuck in the back corners of the oven. Mopping means you take this long pole with a rag attached to the end, dunk it in a bucket of hot water and stick it in the oven and start throwing it around. Those in school who have already been through this rotation kept telling me to move the pole like a helicopter or a hula hoop, round in round in circles. As I am doing this, small coals and ash are flying out of the small oven opening and hitting my arms, which are thankfully covered up and sweating. Once it is done, we have to load the baguettes onto a peal (a long board with a handle on the end used for this purpose), score them by slicing slits along the top of the bread dough, and immediately slide them into the oven. We do this for 8 baguettes, every day.

Oh yeah, on top of the French bread, we also make two other breads. This is where I learned how to make pita bread (very fun to make and watch as they rise up and puff like little balloons). And while I don't normally like pita bread, this was especially good because I had made it and I had learned something new!