Three weeks of Café Savory and I’ve already come to the end. Though short in length, it was rich in content, leaving me with a new found confidence and understanding of the kitchen.
To start the week off, we went over one of the most basic of meals, roast chicken. Simple yet flavorful, roast chicken has always been a go to meal when looking for a quick dinner solution. Our chef went over a few tips and tricks to help ensure our roasts achieved optimal texture and flavor. These included such things as stuffing the skin with butter, and tying the legs in towards the body to ensure heat and moisture retention. He also made sure we were liberal with our seasoning, as according to him you can “never over salt poultry.” We used the rendered fat and vegetables the chicken was roasted atop to make gravy. To accompany the dish, we made Duchess Potatoes, which were something akin to baked mashed potatoes.
From there, we moved onto fish. As we gathered around the bench for a demo at the beginning of class, our chef lugged a huge, whole striped bass onto the work space to demonstrate proper filleting technique. After removing one side of the fish, he portioned it out for us to use in our Fish Provencal, a sautéed fish tossed in a pan gravy of tomatoes, wine, butter, and olives. In addition to the fish, each team was tasked with producing rissoto, which we were given the freedom to flavor as we wished. My group chose to make mushroom.
After fish day, we moved onto international street foods. Each group was assigned to produce a variety of tasty finger foods from various countries. My group was tasked with the Chinese assortment, consisting of scallion pancakes, spicy Asian chicken, and Asian slaw. All of our food was put out for family meal for a delicious multi-cultural buffet. The next day expanded on this concept, with a full-blown international meal day. Rather than finger food, each group was required to produce multi dish meals, such as Pad Thai with Thai curry and chicken satay, and stir fry beef with vegetable dumplings and dipping sauce. My group was in charge of producing seafood paella with manchego fritters and romesco sauce. With such a huge selection of food, no one left hungry.
The final class was a breakfast for dinner theme, concluding with our final exam. In the few short weeks I was in the culinary kitchen, I managed to pick up way more than I expected to. In being taken out of my comfort zone, I have learned new skills that I will continue to develop throughout my life as I produce delicious meals for my family and me. As my transfer credits have allowed me to bypass the art class I was scheduled to take next, I am now on a sort of semi-vacation till the next block starts. Upon returning, I will be back in the bakeshops for Basic and Classical Cakes. I can’t wait!