Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Culinary tool kits, creme brulee & poached pears

It was like Christmas morning when all of the students received their culinary tool kits — a small (quite heavy) suitcase with three sections stuffed full of all sorts of fun kitchen utensils and doodads. Unfortunately, the only thing we could use from the kit was the thermometer which we learned to calibrate in ice water. Not nearly as fun as baking, but it was a nice break from the hours of monotonous classroom lecture on food safety. While that information is important, it's extremely dull in the early morning.

Today was the first day to observe the chef in the kitchen. First, we got to snack on some pumpkin creme brulee, cake, eclairs and mousse made by the evening pastry class (they started school months ago and are further along in the curriculum). Delicious! After our snack break, Chef Tony showed us how to make poached pears in Cabernet Sauvignon. He basically brought wine, oranges, lemon and vanilla bean to a boil and then put in the pears until they were soft enough to easily put a toothpick through them. The kitchen smelled lovely, like mulled wine. We'll get to try the pears tomorrow after they soak in the wine mixture overnight. Can't wait!

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