The 19th of August started my second term at Le Cordon Bleu Los Angeles with Culinary Foundations 2!
This term is at warp speed compared to Culinary Foundations 1. We are two weeks in and it’s flown by although the sheer amount of knowledge we’ve consumed from our remarkable Chef Instructor makes it seem as though we should have been here longer.
The term is five days a week for six weeks with a break on Labor Day. In Lecture we take oodles of notes from our Chef, who not only covers the recipes and methods but is very precise on the science of why proteins, sugars, carbs, liquids and lipids react in mixing heating and cooling. We are quickly finding out why he is so highly respected. Chef distributes recipe sheets and demonstrates them (usually 3 or 4 recipes a day) for the class while we observe and take notes. For homework we make handwritten recipe sheets with the yield, ingredients, methods, and a “grocery” style list so we are prepared to set our stations the next day. Lab day is after lecture day and we must individually reproduce the recipes to be graded. Everyone cooks their own 3-4 recipes individually. Imagine twenty gas stoves tops with 6 burners each and ovens running all at once, it keeps the temperature hovering around 90-95 during the hot summer months in Pasadena. We’re pretty much all sweating to high heavens, but at least we can cut back on our sauna time at the gym. 😉 Our food is reviewed to determine weather we understand consistency, color and yield more so than flavor because this early in the game we are focusing on learning technique. Personally, my product tastes wonderful as well as being on point because I wouldn’t feel right handing in unsatisfactory work. These lecture and lab days cycle continuously with the inclusion of cooking practicals, written papers, class presentations, midterm and final exam. In the first two weeks we have already had one cooking practical on Hollandaise, Beurre Blanc and Béchamel Sauce. I earned a 96%
So far we have cooked:
- Chicken Stock
- Brown Veal Stock
- Fish Fumet
- Veloute Sauce
- Demi Glace
- Tomato Sauce
- Beurre Blanc
- Eggs Over Easy
- Eggs Over Medium
- Poached Eggs
- Eggs Benedict
- Omelet aux Fines Herbs
- French Onion Soup Gratinee
- Wisconsin Cheddar and Broccoli Soup
If you’re wondering why a Patisserie and Baking student is taking so many cooking classes it is for this reason: We must learn the methods of cooking. Why you ask? Because…
- These principles also apply in baking ie, roasting is the same as baking and sauce making techniques are used in sweet and fruity sauces..
- If you work in a restaurant you must be as essential as possible to retain your job. Desserts aren’t ordered until the end of the dinner shift so you need to be utilized by other kitchen stations during your down time.
- Food is becoming so innovative in adding savory foods to sweet and twisting them into mind blowing creations ie blue cheese truffles, salted chocolates or cayenne pepper chocolates (my examples are all chocolate because it’s always on my mind).
As I enter a new term and feel nerves of unknown territory I remind myself of what is important in driving my success-
I have to dive in head first to chase my dreams, I have to apprehend flavor understandings and utilization’s of food by going out to grocery stores, farmers markets, restaurants, expos, be reading magazines, blogs, watching food TV and fully saturate myself in the culinary world. That is how I will meet successful people, find prosperous opportunities and achieve greatness.
Because, that’s what I’m chasing, greatness.
What are you chasing? How will you get there?
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” -William Shakespeare