The demo today was on offal. The chef cooked 3 dishes of different offals.
The 1st was veal sweetbreads, which is the thymus gland of a veal calf and is a delicacy.
The sweetbread was blanched for 10 minutes in a court bouillon, peeled, cut into slices, breadcrumbed and sautéed, and served with a reduction of veal jus, mirepoix and butter, plus asparagus, truffle and parisienne potatoes (potatoes cut with a melon baller, blanched and roasted in clarified butter).
Next was calves liver. It was cut about 1 cm thick, cleaned of veins, dusted with seasoned flour and sautéed in clarified butter for about 1 minute per side, to ensure it was still a little pink in the centre. It was served with a caramelised onion and veal stock sauce, finished with butter, plus sauté potatoes.
Lastly, the chef cooked lamb’s kidneys. They were cut in half horizontally, grilled, and served with parsley and lemon (maitre d’hotel) butter.
In the practical we had chef Neil Armstrong (the eagle has landed, one small step etc etc…) and he does like to gather everyone around and talk through the whole procedure. Which is fine but it does seem to waste a lot of time that I could be using to cook. I did, after all, take extensive notes in the demo and can follow that.
We were cooking the poussin demonstrated last week. For a very small amount of food (a poussin weighs about 1 pound, 400-500g and half of that is bone, cartilege and other inedibles) it was a ridiculous amount of work to cook it and all its garnishes. It was meant to serve 2 in theory, but I ate it all at the end of the class before leaving the kitchen. Quite tasty but basically just a small chicken.
As it was my birthday last week but I had classes on the evening of my birthday, we went out to dinner today. We went to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and had a wonderful meal, with great service, a view into the kitchen, and opulent surroundings (the restaurant is in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Knightsbridge). Would definitely go again. Here is the extra dessert they gave me while Dani had coffee: