Saturday, March 26, 2011

Block 11: Week 2 - Appetizers

My group was on appetizers this week, so I made a fraser valley greens salad with shaved vegetables, panko crusted goat cheese, and a truffle vinaigrette, french onion soup with braised short rib, and buttermilk fried chicken with creamy coleslaw. The one dish I didn't get to make was the mushroom risotto because Friday was buffet night. Appetizer station didn't really get to make much for the buffet because Block 9 makes all the salads, but we are changing to a spring menu next week, so I tested out one of the new appetizers, a tomato tart with puff pastry, goat cheese, basil, and balsamic reduction. I was also a floater one day, so I used up some leftover shrimp to make a wonton-wrapped shrimp for an amuse bouche.

There was an outside catering event that our station helped with by making citrus aioli (I burnt the citrus reduction - extremely irritating - and split the aioli twice), saffron risotto balls, tomato bocconcini skewers, and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus.

Outside of school, had lunch at La Taqueria and sushi at Zero One. We also went to Glowbal for the other A's birthday lunch, which was really delicious. His birthday drinks were fun, especially when we ran into some of F's co-workers. One invited me to lunch at Al Porto the next day, where we got a free antipasto platter, served to us by F.

Next week - desserts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Block 11: Week 1 - Entrees

Block 11 - last block. Less than a month left of school. It is crazy how fast it has gone by.

Block 11 seems like it'll be a nice way to finish off the program. We're cooking dinner in JJ's, and it's not a really busy time of year, so service is pretty easy. Our chef is kind of the opposite of the previous chef - very relaxed and mellow. My group is totally different too, and probably the strongest group I've had in a long time. I finally don't feel like I have to babysit someone everyday.

Entree station cooked duck breast, halibut, lamb stuffed with garlic and herbs, and chick pea curry. There was a party that came in on Thursday, so we prepared a large amuse bouche for them - a deconstructed nicoise salad. It had confit albacore tuna, confit tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, frisee and green bean salad, nicoise olives, deep fried capers, and the highlight for me was the hard-boiled egg, which was steeped over night in saffron tea to make it a beautiful orange-red colour on the outside. A and a couple of friends came in for dinner on Thursday for A's birthday, and they really enjoyed the salad.

The best night this week was Tuesday - A and I went to Bao Bei for an early birthday dinner. I didn't know much about the restaurant expect that it was modern Chinese and had been voted one of the top ten new restaurants in Canada, so I was pleasantly surprised by everything. Tuesday was a rainy night and by the time I was out of school, we didn't end up getting to the restaurant until almost 9, so we were expecting it to be pretty dead, but it was actually full and we had to sit at the bar. The bartender was funny in an awkward kind of way, so we thought he was pretty entertaining. The menu was cool too - lots of word play, like my cocktail was called a John Wein, and our noodle dish was called Dan Dan Revolution. The food was pretty delicious, and just what we wanted for dinner. My favourite was the duck consomme with duck wontons. Amazing.

Next week - appetizers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Block 10: Week 4 - Vegetables

A nice week to end the block. Vegetable station was relatively easy.

I was really only on the station for three days. My first day, I made potato wedges roasted in duck fat. I was supposed to just bring them to a simmer in a pot before roasting them, but I guess the pot boiled, so chef wasn't too happy with me for overcooking the potatoes. But they still turned out ok, and in fact, they were pretty delicious. The next day I was on soup, so I made a lentil soup with double smoked bacon and ham hock, garnished with an herb cracker. I was pretty happy with how the soup turned out, really tasty with a nice creamy texture.

Not too much exciting happened outside of school this week.

Next week - Block 11, last month of school.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Block 10: Week 3 - Appetizers

This was a difficult week for me, emotionally. It started on Monday, because F was away sick, so I had to deal with my group without his help, though service went smoothly. Tuesday morning, I just knew it wasn't going to be a good day. A left mad at me, it was station switch day, and F was pushing my buttons and driving me nuts. Even though I found out that I probably got the job at Hawksworth (offer letters are going out in a couple of weeks), I felt pretty sad and alone that day. Wednesday I woke up feeling really sick, plus I wasn't quite over the day before, so it was a rough day for me. Thursday picked up though because the guy I dislike was away from school. It still amazes me how much one person can affect my mood so much. And Friday was a pretty fun day, more back to normal.

Appetizer station was also pretty easy. Shrimp and avocado salad, salmon and prawn cakes with lemongrass sauce, beet salad, and pate.

My special this week was a poached egg salad with bacon vinaigrette. No customers ordered it, which was kinda sad, but the two chefs and even chef JC ate it and they all enjoyed it, so that made up for it a bit.

I really only went out once this week, yesterday, to W's girlfriend's store opening. It was a pretty chill night - nice food, free wine, and nice clothes.

Next week - vegetables.