Cooking Class 5

So what can I say about this day. First, our regular instructor was out. The day before, parts of the lower tri-state area were pommeled with snow. I am not sure if that affected our instructor. Our new instructor was this French-ish, off the cuff, older, wavy voiced guy. He was wearing bracers–brace face–LOL. I am kidding, the guy was a nice change from our regular instructor.

In the morning we reviewed fish. Then we dived right in. We did our usual exercises of making stock base. (apparently for the exercise we did not make enough potatoes–it was enough to Chef’s surprise) I had to become acquainted with the squid, yanking the body cavity out and slicing off the legs. I am not a calamari person, but I can prepare it. Others handled shrimp, clams, mussels, then shucked oysters, and washed scallops. We all prepared lobster. The lobster was my first KITCHEN KILL. He showed us first. He picked a lobster from the bin. He showed us a male and then a female. He showed the width of the tail and said that the female has a wider even tail. The lobster was moving around and he said to pet it to calm it down. I laughed in my stomach. So then he showed the cut and he did the tail and body twist to separate and then the legs removal. Did I mention that the lobster moves for a considerable time after! So then he put it in the pot and boiled it till it was flaming red. He pulled it out and showed us the meat portions. The rest we put in a stock put. So my turn–of course I looked at it in the bin and was like–I can’t touch this thing that is moving. So, like a champ, I got a cloth and grabbed the body and took to my station. (are you laughing yet?)
Then I put it on the table and looked at it again-this time in the face and at the same time I head cracking all around me. To not be the last ass, I called over for some guidance and put the knife in the back. Ha ha, it was not facing me. So I turned it around and got ready to cut. If I did not cut in 5 seconds, it would have been over. It was wiggling slightly, feelers agitated, and tail waving. I cracked the back and head and then without thinking, twisted. It was robotic at this point because this it not the tea and crumpets time where you linger, chat and reminisce with your friends. At the end, the little tail was breathing–I know you have seen this before. It is not as dramatic as the chx running around with the head cut off. WEEW the worst was over.
Well, not exactly. The oysters still needed to be cleaned so that we could have “oysters on the half shell.” Each person was to try one. Oysters, and octopus and frogs–my endangered eats list. So the teacher pointed out that I had not had one yet–yes that is how we are there. You cannot hide from these people. He even called some guys ‘Oyster Virgins’. So I had one with lemon juice. Okay, so a few people say, just swallow (well how do I taste and eat,) others say swish it around in my mouth then swallow, even others said taste a little then swallow. So this is food to eat right!! Next time I will just swallow the fries whole to.

Funny about the oysters–well I was working on some towards the end and they were impossible to open so I put it back in the fridge. (for this exercise, there is no saving for later) I asked others what I should, as I had had it with them (oysters). About 15 minutes later when Chef made his rounds, he asked if someone wanted to open the 3 oysters. I laughed as someone would have the miserable fate. I was glad that no one mentioned that I had it last and had I put them there.

We made a seafood chowder and ate that for lunch. This chef believes in feeding us. I mean what is the point of playing with food if you cannot even eat. It is still cold in NY so having to change out of your uniform to go out for 5 minutes to freeze for what, well I don’t know, when there is food everywhere–maybe not prepared, but it can be. We had the chowder with bread. YUMMY. I left the oysters and the mussels behind. The chowder itself was very flavorful. We had added shallots, and parsley to it as well–plus butter, the better maker.

While eating, the pastry students brought in some chocolate cake, lemon cake and baked Alaska. I can smell sugar all the way in Staten Island. That was a nice end to my lunch.

After we got right back to work. We watched Chef split poultry. We did chx (2) first. That was kind of okay. It was uneven and my Frenching, was kind of funky. I even removed the bone by accident so mine was a fillet of chx. On bird number 3 I had it. Bird 3 was a duck. It was a much larger animal with more blood, and more skin and fat. We cut that up into a million pieces. Well I had a challenge removing the back bone. I damn near had to rip it out after realizing it was all still in there. I thought that I had taken the bones out. Then I could not remember what I cut so I checked out the tray and put like pieces with like. (:) ) We ended with a hour of cleaning and sanitizing and straightening up. This Chef wanted a spotless kitchen.

What a long day! Sunday would be the same as the Chef would be with us again.

Until then.


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