We had a day with chef John today, which was good. He is a relaxed chef from Canada, doesn’t get flustered, will joke and mix with the students and is quite quick in the demos.
We started with a practical cooking the venison dish from yesterday’s demo.
Next we had back to back demos.
In the 1st chef John cooked sea bream with confit fennel, oven-dried tomatoes, rouille and a bouillabaise jus, topped with a croute with rouille.
Next was a creme de menthe and chocolate chip soufflé. Terrible thing to do to chocolate is pairing it with mint.
In the 2nd demo the chef made a chestnut soup with parmesan foam and truffle shavings.
Then was a saddle of rabbit with a tomato, olive and anchovy stuffing with fried baby artichokes and a microleaf salad.
Chef Gilles took us for the demo on dishes from the region of Ile de France, which is the region that surrounds and includes Paris.
He cooked 2 dishes, the 1st of which was Parisian style scallops. Slices of scallop in a mushroom and scallop sauce were baked in a scallop shell, bordered with duchesse potato and topped with breadcrumbs and Gruyere cheese.
The 2nd dish was poached egg on a tartlet of mushroom duxelle and topped with hollandaise sauce.
We made both dishes in the practical and I’m pleased to say they looked just like the chef’s dishes and tasted pretty good. I had a good lunch!
Lastly we had a lecture from chef Graeme on sweet soufflés.
He cooked a pudding soufflé, which had a roux base and was flavoured with lemon and lemon sauce and raspberries.
Next was an orange soufflé with orange caramel sauce and chocolate sauce.
Lastly some crepes were filled with soufflé mix and baked in a gratin dish.
Today we had the last cuisine demo of this term and chef Eric took this.
As he is the head of Basic Cuisine he answered questions about the exams next week as well as cooking 3 desserts.
He made a vanilla soufflé, which has creme patissiere as its base
A chocolate mousse, which was melted chocolate folded into italian meringue and whipped cream
And red fruits with a sabayon browned under the grill. The sabayon was made of egg yolks, sugar and white wine, whisked in a bowl over a bain marie until thick.
We won’t be making any of these ourselves this term as the corresponding practical to this demo is our exam next week.
Then we had our last cuisine practical for the term, with chef Neil, making the creme caramel and oeufs a la niege.
Having made the creme caramel in patisserie classes weeks ago, I can definitely say that the patisserie recipe is much more precise and consistent as everything is measured accurately. There were a huge variety of results in the creme caramel here, some cooked after 30 minutes, some not cooked after nearly an hour.
The oeufs a la niege were simple enough as a recipe, the only hard bit was shaping the meringue into quenelles and poaching it.
Having tasted both desserts, I hope we never do them again as both taste like sweetened scrambled eggs, not my favourite.
Lastly we had a 3 hour class on cheese from Tom the cheese man (not actually made of cheese) which was excellent as he really showed his passion and knowledge for the subject and we tasted some pretty good cheeses. We’ll be having more lectures from him in the next 2 terms and I look forward to them.