Fried Veal for Breakfast, Anyone?

I am making an executive blog-author decision to skip my review of day two, and jump right into three.  That way I can just catch up to today, and stop worrying about constantly catching up, as I proceed to forget everything.  In a one sentence recap – day two was really fun!  I made baked eggs, a lot more breakfast food, and got 100% on my first quiz – hurrah!

So on to today.  First of all, I finally had to wash all my stuff.  They gave us several of each piece of our uniforms and I was all out of clean clothes last night.  I was super excited when I got dressed this morning because it all got MUCH softer once it was washed.  It really feels like I am in pajamas every day – so big and comfortable.  I can see that you could easily gain ten pounds and not know it – dangerous.

One other noteworthy item from day two, was that I mentioned to my Chef (who had just deep fried an entire HUGE salmon – head, eyes, bones, everything) that I wished I could have my camera in class, since the outside world just can’t possibly understand what it’s like in a culinary classroom.  I guess I just assumed that since we the uniforms and sanitation are so strict, cameras w0uld be considered off-limits.  But his response was, “do you like taking pictures?  By all means, bring your camera!”

AWESOME.  I was so excited!  I had been wondering if my blog was going to get really boring as a whole bunch of text and descriptions, but no real evidence of what was happening.  So I thought of you guys all day today – what would be fun to show on the blog?  My classmates thought I was a freak, but I think by the end of the day they were used to it.  So now I will be documenting my classes for you as much as I can – so fun!  (I hope my other Chefs let me do this too!)

Today’s focus was on shallow-frying and savory baking.  My group was doing the frying today, and boy did we ever FRY.  Veal, cod, cube steak, chicken breasts – all breaded or battered and pan-fried.  What vegetarian wouldn’t love that!?!  In all seriousness though, it was good to learn the technique, and I had a lot of fun working the line with my fellow friers. 

The only vegetarian (and even semi-healthy) thing we had today was vegetable lasagna, so that’s what I had for lunch, and I picked out all the veggies and left as much cheese and pasta behind as possible.  It was delicious – all the veggies were grilled prior to cooking, and you could really taste the grilled flavor coming through.  One thing is for sure though – this stuff is not healthy.  Each day I am amazed by how mindlessly my classmates load up their plates with fried meats, buttered sauces, gravies, the works.  I am just going to keep being diligent about not breaking from my typical healthy eating patterns.  There is way too much temptation, and if I crack at all, I will be 50 lbs heavier by the end of the year – no joke.  Thank god I didn’t decide to go into Baking & Pastry Arts.  I wouldn’t even have a chance.

Anyways, here is a photo tour of my third day in class!  I hope you enjoy:)

       September 2009 044   September 2009 058 

LEFT: My cute 19-year old group-mate, Chelsea, demonstrating each day’s first production activity: knife cuts.  Today, we julienned potatoes!

RIGHT: the dish sink, pots/pans storage area.  This picture doesn’t do justice to how cramped this area is.  It gets very backed up and crowded.

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  A shot of the classroom – work tables in the center, ovens and burners (“the line” across the far wall, refrigerators and freezer on the back wall – it feels just like a restaurant kitchen.  Note dorky uniforms!

September 2009 046 Chickens have been broken down (I did one!), and are ready to be seasoned and baked.  (Not my group today – I will bake tomorrow!)

September 2009 049 The shallow-fry group!  We fried various meats in HOT canola oil (see gigantic pitcher).  We were supposed to take them straight out of the frier, cut them open and taste and sample, but clearly I declined.  But I did make some nice looking fried veal! :) Also note: Melinda cut her thumb and had to wear that weird mini-condom thing on it all day – so embarrassing!

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My cast-iron skillet of frying cod.  These stoves and burners are so different than the home kitchens that I am used to (I’m a little scared of them.)

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The final production spread: grilled vegetable lasagna, meatballs in meaty sauce, cheddar chees
e mashed potatoes, baked herb chicken, brussels’ sprouts (steamed in butter – ugh!), and various fried meats and fish.

We had a sophomore class come in and eat with us, and we served them on the buffet line.  It feels very strange to be frying up cube beef and making lasagna at 9am, but I guess you have to learn when it works, right?  Lunch is usually eaten around 11:45, and we get about a 30 minute break to eat and relax.  The last hour is spent cleaning up and scrubbing the place until it sparkles, and meeting with the Chef individually to go over the day’s quiz (I got 105 today – woohoo!) and what we learned.

It’s only been three days, but I can already tell I absolutely love it.  It is hard work, and serious manual labor, but it is so fun and I’ve already learned so much.  Even having several hours of reading and homework every night, I find that since I love the topic, I don’t mind the work.  Tomorrow I will take more pictures, and fill you in on all the different types of people in my class.

Since I’ve started school, our house has gone to the pits.  Laundry piled up, dishes stacked above the sink, dishwasher still waiting to be emptied – lots of work.  So now I’m off do to (groan) – more dishes!  Maybe we will start eating off paper plates at home…