Monday, May 12, 2014

My First Week at San Francisco Cooking School

Wow, it has been almost 3 years since the last time I blogged... A lot of things happened, Porgy and I bought our first house together, got another dog (Sophia), quit my job and decided to be a full-time student at the San Francisco Cooking School. Look at my kitchen clogs and chef pants!

For our first week, we learned about kitchen etiquette, knife skills, butter, how to make a french omelette, various stocks, soups and sauces, and also visited GreenLeaf - a purveyor of produce. We sliced, diced, chopped, minced our way through a lot of onions (sniff sniff), carrots, celery, and potatoes. Even though it is hard to learn the correct technique after years of doing it my way, I think it's going to be worth it at the end. I'm still adjusting and it's going to take a lot of practice, both in the classroom and at home. As you can see from the botched turned-potatoes below, I need A LOT of practice.

Having a little OCD turned out to be an advantage in the kitchen, I learned that it is good habit to read the recipe twice so you know your action plan, put things away right after you use it, and keep you work area clean all the time. Also, do similar things in batches - for example, if you want to dice a carrot, it's best to peel all the carrots first, then cut them into planks, then into batons and then diced them. This method is more efficient than if you peel, plank, baton and dice one carrot at a time. 

Another thing that I'm somewhat obsessing in the past few days is making a French-style omelette correctly. I bought a carton of eggs so I can practice at home and I get to school early everyday so I can practice even more. You would think it would be easy to have a fluffy, perfectly cooked (no browning) omelette but in reality it's a b****. Apparently, the trick is a lot of butter and to move the pan on a circular motion for almost the entire time. Lastly, in celebration of  Mother's Day, I'm attaching a video of Julia Child - our culinary mother - doing the Omelette show. Enjoy!

PS - here are some of the dishes that we made on the first week:

Veloute of potato and leek 

Broccoli and cauliflower gratin

Turned potato and potato scraps fried in clarified butter, mushroom toast, and glazed carrots