I never craved a big, all-out American breakfast as often as when I moved to France. I have always loved breakfast, even breakfast for lunch or dinner, but once I came here and traded bistrots and brasseries for diners, I knew that I’d have to make up for this lack of breakfast food myself. Enter in real pancakes not made with a mix, learning to make hashbrowns from scratch (blanch and shred and fry? Fry and bake?), and of course lots of experimentations with eggs. I learned to make scrambled eggs at a young age, by whisking eggs and milk together, dumping it into a frying pan and scraping the runny eggs around with a spatula until they were all cooked. Oh, and usually topping it all off with American cheese squares right before serving. These eggs, in all their different variations, were perfectly delicious until I learned how scrambled eggs were supposed to be made. And my mind was blown by the incredible texture and most of all the rich, in-depth flavor. The ingredients had barely changed and the method slightly, but this was a whole ‘nother egg. Continue reading
It’s over! I can’t believe how fast these past few months went by. I can remember back to my first day, so excited to be in the kitchen and so eager to learn, and I realized that even though I’ve learned so much, my attitude hasn’t changed one bit. I’m still as avid as I was that very first day, still yearning to know more with a million questions brewing in my head. I still believe that this is my path and I’m so happy to have finally found it! Continue reading
It’s official. My last internship is over! I’ve got two days of school left, but no kitchen time. We’re just back to wrap things up and finalize all that we’ve done over the last three months so that our programme will be validated. My internship, which lasted one and a half weeks, was crazy and great. I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired, but I never once questioned my place in the lab as I tore the coral from fresh scallops, heated blocks of foie gras to melt the fat and rolled them in hazelnuts, prepared 300 tomato, mozzarella and bell pepper bouchées, etc., etc. Continue reading
Oh my GOD! My last week of culinary school came and went so fast that I really can’t even believe it’s actually over. I’m crossing my little fingers that after my third and final internship, when we have to come back to school for two measly days to wrap things up, we’ll get one last session in the kitchen. I really, really hope that this isn’t quite the end yet. It’s been so magical being in the kitchen every week, and learning so much, and I don’t want it to end! Luckily this week we really went out with a bang, using ingredients that I’d never used before, making beautiful layer cakes, perfectly light French macarons, the world’s best tartar sauce, and so much more. Let me tell you all about it!
I had my very first day of class on Friday this week, because a snow storm shut down the entire region of Normandy! I missed classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (all kitchen days!!!) and on Thursday we had a job forum at the unemployment office. There were lots of different employers there that had job offers, so I dressed myself up all nice, handed out my resumé and charmed as many of them as possible! My one day of class was filled with English (really!?!?), hygiene and working on my resumé, which is clearly finished, which is why I’m writing to you all right now!
Basically, it was a very disappointing week, especially since it is our second to last one! I tried my best to keep up by cooking at home as much as possible, but since we were snowed in I couldn’t make it out to buy ingredients I needed, like cherries and cream for a Black Forest cake, or more butter croissants. I did manage to make some delicious potatoes fried in duck fat, some arugula pesto with cashew nuts and a blood orange tart, all of which I’ll be posting about soon. Except maybe that tart. It wasn’t exceptional and I was pretty disappointed. The curd started out a vibrant red-orange and ended up a dull pale orange once the eggs and sugar were whisked in. And it lacked in taste. I added some orange blossom water and caster sugar on the top that I caramelized with a blow torch, but it just wasn’t quite good enough. I guess I should just stick to lemon tarts!! Speaking of, I haven’t published Jérôme’s famous lemon tart recipe on here yet, I should probably get on that!!
Anyway, even with cooking at home, I definitely missed my chefs and the time we should have had in the kitchen. We missed so much, and I know that we’ll never have the time to make it up. Next week we’ll be doing our last lunch service at school, so that should be a highlight. Then, it’s off to my final internship. This one will be 10 days instead of a week, so I’m very excited to learn even more about this company and put my newly aquired culinary skills to the test, yet again. And an important test it will be, because I need to show the world that I’m ready and employable. I certainly feel ready, hopefully the professional chefs that I’ll be working with will agree!!
Our first week back after our internships was a loaded one. We had four kitchen sessions instead of three which made me one happy girl. We got to work with some new products like duck thighs and veal steaks, and learned a few new ways to play around with potatoes. We also had our first experience with génoise and made our second puff pastry dough to date. All in all, it was a lovely week and I can now say that I’ve added a few more valuable skills to my repertoire. Continue reading
I had an amazing week at my internship. It went so well that I’ve been asked to come back at the end of this month, and I’m really hoping that this could lead to an actual employment opportunity! I got to see, handle and prepare so many noble products, like truffles and raw foie gras, and everything from stocks to sauces and smoked salmon and macarons is made right there, from top notch ingredients. I was also able to work in the restaurant for a service and spend the rest of my time in the catering “lab” where 60 beautiful appetizers were plated by a team of chefs, sucking-pigs were gently roasted and topped with the jus they were cooked in and filets of red mullet were portioned by the hundreds to cater to the businesses increasing demands.