Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Not so Bad After All

Ok, I have already had my first practical, second demo, and second practical, all in just 2 days, so I will try to be brief.

Yesterday was my first practical, and we were supposed to do the “Diamants”. As I was getting ready for the practical, I felt pretty calm but a bit doubtful, whether how the whole thing was going to go, how was I going to do, and how was I going to compare to the rest of the guys in my group. Well we walked in, and a chef assistant was with us for the practical. Once we were told we could start, we all started to get hands to work, trying to follow the recipe that the chef had taught us in demo two days ago.
Well, we all pretty much worked at the same pace, with a few going slower, but overall the same, and thank God we all put our cookies at the same time, so since I wasn’t on my own baking them, I didn’t burn any of my cookies. In fact, as we started to take the cookies out of the oven, mine where not that bad. Mine were some of the best ones in the class. The assistant told me “Bon”, as he walked around giving a final check as to every ones results. We put them all in a small round carton for presentation, and all those hard working years at the catering service I worked at in college served me well. I arrange my cookies, very nice, and everyone asked me, how I made them to look so nice! So after the practical was done, I was feeling a lot better, still calm, but more confident as I start to get how things are working here.

I had to try my cookies, and I liked them!! Compared to the ones the chef did in class, mine where a bit salty, since you are not supposed to taste the salt, but they are not ruined, and luckily still really good. I behaved and just ate 2 (just because I had to do the flavor test, hahaha)

Now this afternoon we had the second Demo, where the chef showed us how to do three different versions of apple tarts, and the most important thing to learn was the crust, since he told us that for our term exam beside the recipe to do for the test, the technical part of the test will be to make a tart crust, as to show that we know how to do it the right way.


The three versions were of tarts were: “Tarte aux Pomme”s (crust with apple filling and apples layer for decoration), “Trate Tatin” (just thin crust at the bottom, pretty much and upside down apple tart), and “Tarte Normande” (apple tart with a egg cream, custard type of filling, not my favorite).

Tartes aux Pommes

Tarte Tatin

Tartes Normande
Later today we also had the practical for this demo. As we got ready for this practical I was feeling better, but still not so confident, since there has been so much emphasis in the tart crust, and this time we had a couple of things to do: the dough for the crust, the filling, shape the dough into a crust, and the presenting layer of apples. As we went inside, some of the Chinese guys didn't respect the places we had gotten the day before, so it was a bit awkward to find a place. Once we started cooking, I started calmly to get all my stuff together for my dough, and I looked up, and saw everyone a bit ahead of me, so I got a bit freaked out, and got real focus on stay on track. As I kept going, all of a sudden I was ahead of everyone, having put my filling to cook, while I made my crust. The chef walked around to check how I was doing, showed me a few things to improve the way I was doing them, but overall he told me I was doing good, and asked where I was from as he looked at my badge hanging from my arm, and told me: “Ohh, Mexico”, and went on. As I was finishing with the decoration of the edge of my crust, which can be a bit tricky, he told me: “Ohh, muy bien!!” and showed the others my crust; all this while I was running back and forth from the stove trying to not burn my filling. I assembled my final layer for the tart, some people had caught up with me, and we were ready to start putting our tarts to bake. We put our name and in the over they went.  As they come out mine looked awesome, I was very excited, not so cooked, nor under-cooked, just perfect. We removed the ring from the tarts, which proof trickier that I thought, and we all put them to the center for the chef to take the final look. As he called out our names, he checked the apple as if grading it, but didn't really write anything on the paper. As he got to my name, and I raised my hand and pointed to my tart, he said: “ohhh look!” and started  to clap, so the rest of the class followed in the clapping, I felt so happy!!!  The other tarts were not that bad, but some had some details with how their crust looked, or how they arranged the top layer, or burned a bit.

My beautiful Tarte aux Pommes

Everyone's Work of the day

I couldn't resist to try it, and is really good. It totally passes the flavor testing, although it wouldn't have hurt to have a bit of vanilla ice cream on the side. I really will have to walk a lot during the weekend, to make up for all this eating!!!

Doesn't it look good, and let me tell you is Delicious!!
So as you can see, I am not doing that bad after all. I am feeling better, and I feel that I am doing things right, paying a lot of attention in the demos, and writing as much detail as I can, so that when I read through it preparing for the practical, I get all the details to do a good job. I am really grateful to God because he is with me, and he is helping me all along the way.

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