(CBS News) I must admit having my new "Chef" title just as Thanksgiving approaches is pretty nice. How convenient it is to have this wealth of knowledge on the most important food holiday of the year!
But now I face a problem: Do I want to stick with the traditional, or substitute with interesting alternatives? Turkey and gravy versus turkey and jus? Pumpkin pie versus pumpkin ice cream? Or maybe a pumpkin mousse? Decisions, decisions.Continue »
(CBS News) I've just recently noticed the drastic difference in price between different cuts of chicken breast in the grocery store. Those that are broken down into cutlets, or even bone-in but sliced in half, are so much more expensive than the breasts you can purchase whole.
It makes complete sense, of course, but still it really shocked me!Continue »
(CBS News) Funny how much my life has changed over the past eight months.
Even the basics like my sense of time. Time for me is now measured in food. Oh, that was around potato day...must have been last February. Or, yeah we made a lot of chocolate sauce then, must have been in August.
It's going to be strange when school is over. How am I going to match up events in my life? What is it going to be like to remember what day of the week it is instead of just fish day, or pastry day?
(CBS News) With only a few weeks left of culinary school, I simply cannot believe how far we've come. My classmates and I have moved on from knife skills and food identification, to working on the line at the restaurant.
It's amazing how time flies.
The restaurant is a whole different world. We prep food with customers in mind, knowing that each plate now has a dollar sign attached and someone will actually sit down and pay to eat it. How surreal.Continue »
(CBS News) Heat control is obviously a very important factor in a kitchen.
But it's not what you may think.
Oven temperatures are often cranked all the way up (550F or so) and pans are heated until they smoke. Temperatures like 350F/375F are pretty rare for me now, unless were talking pastry, which is a whole different ballgame of course.
Now cooking regularly entails taking my pan on and off a blasting flame so I don't burn my food, always keeping a folded towel in hand (and I mean always!) so I don't burn myself accidentally, and trying very hard not to light anything, or anyone, on fire.Continue »
(CBS News) Sometimes this blog is difficult to write. What memory in my life reminds me of cured salmon? Hmm...my distaste for lox? My absolute love for salmon sashimi?
Unfortunately, there are not many stories attached to either of these. Unless you'd like to hear about how I don't understand the appeal of smoked salmon (I find the taste kind of funky)...or my occasional All You Can Eat/Drink sushi and sake nights...Not so much? Didn't think so.Continue »
(CBS News) Pastry is an exact science, with precise measurements and attention to detail...and I'm pretty awful at it.
Unlike culinary, there is absolutely no wiggle room for "a little of this, a little of that." I have no idea how pastry chefs do it. And, I'm pretty comfortable with the fact that I will never be able to do what they do.
Still, it's still fun to learn the basics - like butter cream frosting, puff pastry, chocolate sauce, ice cream, and caramel. All recipes that are convenient for my sweet tooth (and my wallet).Continue »
(CBS News) My kitchen used to be a hot mess. My food was always good, but sauce would literally be dripping off the ceiling when I was done. I never left space for myself on the counter, or on my cutting board, and dirty utensils would pile high...but it never bothered me.
Now, it's a whole different story. A messy kitchen drives me insane. How could it not, after surviving lecture upon lecture of how to set up my station and keep it compulsively clean?
These new habits were particularly apparent to me after I helped my mom cater a party for 20 of her friends. I found myself chasing her mess around, trying to clean as we went. I barely recognized myself. I mean, to me she's the best cook in the world...who cares how her kitchen looks?Continue »
(CBS News) Having grown up in New York City and attended international schools for most of my life, I thought I knew a lot about food. I considered my palate to be quite educated.
Nope. Turns out, there's so much I didn't know. I'm actually behind the curve.
Given, most of the foods I hadn't tried are delicacies: fois gras, blood sausage, sweetbreads, confit...to name a few. But, not a great excuse, given that a good number of my fellow students had already tasted, and liked, all of the above.Continue »
(CBS News) Using my knives properly took me months to get right. And I still can't say that I've mastered the art.
That, I believe, would take years.
As you can imagine, these skills are a big part of your grade in the beginning of culinary school. If you can't chop properly, you can't cook properly.Continue »
(CBS News) Beef bourguignon. Lobster Americaine. Pork Espagnole,
That's what I pictured when I applied to culinary school: fancy, complicated recipes. Not croutons...
Five chef demonstrations later, I realize that even buttery cubes of toast have a technique to them. How small should they be? How crunchy? Should you put them in the oven or cook them on the stovetop?
Never thought it mattered. They're just croutons, after all.Continue »
(CBS News) So, I'm a journalism major who likes to cook. Doesn't quite scream math enthusiast, does it? Nope...
It hasn't really been an issue for me either with the college and career choices I've made for myself. In fact, I've pretty much avoided math whenever possible.
Except for culinary school.Continue »
(CBS News) Don't you love it when mistakes work out in your favor?
Like recently, when my classmate and I attempted to make a nice crumble for a peach cobbler. When we tested a batch out in the oven, it didn't come out as "crumbly" as we would have liked. Instead, it all melted together, forming a sweet goopy lump...kind of like a sloppy cookie.
So, we ran with it. We added a few egg yolks to give it more of a cookie-like consistency and made ice cream sandwiches for our buffet.Continue »
(CBS News) Culinary school is a dangerous place.
Since January, I've:Burnt myself at least eleven times: on three ovens, a bowl, the lid of a pot, the pot itself, two "warmed" plates, and with hot, spitting oil. Cut myself at least seven times: with a chefs knife (sliced the tips of my thumb and first finger right off), a filleting knife, a paring knife, a cheese grater, a vegetable peeler and a mandoline. Developed a nice callus on my hand where my chef's knife sits, just under my first finger on my right hand.
Attractive, I know.Continue »
(CBS News) Isn't it amazing how fast time flies?
I started culinary school in January, and all of a sudden it's July. When and how did that happen? Am I really halfway done?
So much has changed in these months. Not only my cooking, which I expected...planned for, really. But everything related to cooking in my life: the kinds of food I like to eat, the tools I need to have, and even how others treat me.Continue »
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