Culinary Competition

27
1
Joined May 8, 2021
Good Morning, afternoon, evening,

So I have been selected to participate in a culinary competition.

Bit of background, I am a military chef, cook for large numbers and rarely do anything fancy.

I have to cook a dish with whole duck but am wondering does the legs and breast require different cookery methods?

I have 5 hours on the day to prepare and cook 3 courses, an ovo lacto cold app, a duck main then followed by a desert.

I am looking at pan searing the breast until crispy and serving on top of a watercress and papaya salad, with a tamarind sauce, then topping with orange foam infused with cinnamon. Then placing some small bananas fried in butter on the plate.

Would this be along the right track?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,
Cam
 
8
1
Joined Jun 16, 2021
Good Morning, afternoon, evening,

So I have been selected to participate in a culinary competition.

Bit of background, I am a military chef, cook for large numbers and rarely do anything fancy.

I have to cook a dish with whole duck but am wondering does the legs and breast require different cookery methods?

I have 5 hours on the day to prepare and cook 3 courses, an ovo lacto cold app, a duck main then followed by a desert.

I am looking at pan searing the breast until crispy and serving on top of a watercress and papaya salad, with a tamarind sauce, then topping with orange foam infused with cinnamon. Then placing some small bananas fried in butter on the plate.

Would this be along the right track?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,
Cam
Hey Chef.

I cannot judge the proposed recipe - you'll have to try it out and taste for balance beforehand, but It can volunteer something on cooking the bird.

What you want in a competition is maximum predictability. I can also guess that you want your meat pink and juicy. Legs do need more time, especially on a duck cooked medium rare. This is what I would do:

1) Butchery
- Lift the legs off the bird. These are now ready for roasting/grilling independently. You can even pre-cook them/reheat at the last minute
- Remove the undercarriage (bottom of the carcass). You can chop in rough chunks and dry roast it to make a sauce base
- You are now left with the breasts on the crown. This is ideal for roasting. The bones will keep them juicy: rest the cooked crown as is and only lift the breasts for slicing/serving

2) Cooking the crown: With a hot oven I would start with 20 minutes + 10 minutes resting and see where it gets you in terms of meat colour. Just a bit of salt to crips the skin: you will season once you slice/plate

Good luck!
 
27
1
Joined May 8, 2021
Hey Chef.

I cannot judge the proposed recipe - you'll have to try it out and taste for balance beforehand, but It can volunteer something on cooking the bird.

What you want in a competition is maximum predictability. I can also guess that you want your meat pink and juicy. Legs do need more time, especially on a duck cooked medium rare. This is what I would do:

1) Butchery
- Lift the legs off the bird. These are now ready for roasting/grilling independently. You can even pre-cook them/reheat at the last minute
- Remove the undercarriage (bottom of the carcass). You can chop in rough chunks and dry roast it to make a sauce base
- You are now left with the breasts on the crown. This is ideal for roasting. The bones will keep them juicy: rest the cooked crown as is and only lift the breasts for slicing/serving

2) Cooking the crown: With a hot oven I would start with 20 minutes + 10 minutes resting and see where it gets you in terms of meat colour. Just a bit of salt to crips the skin: you will season once you slice/plate

Good luck!
Hey Chef,

Thank you so much for your reply. That is true, hoping the flavour combinations compliment each other.
I have been having difficulty deciding on accompaniments, garnish and a grain for the dish.

That is what I thought. The biggest hurdle is going to be lack of experience. I have only been a chef for 4 years, worked with duck once at culinary school. But i don't want to take Duck La Orange straight from a textbook, I want to create an original dish that shows my personal style and twist.
I love working with Thai flavours and components.

Do you think that orange and tamarind would clash?

I am so grateful for the cooking tips, i was looking at roasting it whole, so glad I came on here for some guidance.

Thank you =]
 
2,236
695
Joined Oct 31, 2012
Look up Marcus Waring on Youtube. A video of him doing duck with cherries as part of UK Masterchef show. He shows butchering as well as cooking duck. I'm sure there are other videos for duck as well but I just happened to watch that one just yesterday.
 
27
1
Joined May 8, 2021
Look up Marcus Waring on Youtube. A video of him doing duck with cherries as part of UK Masterchef show. He shows butchering as well as cooking duck. I'm sure there are other videos for duck as well but I just happened to watch that one just yesterday.
Thank you very much. I will give it a watch. =]
 
27
1
Joined May 8, 2021
Look up Marcus Waring on Youtube. A video of him doing duck with cherries as part of UK Masterchef show. He shows butchering as well as cooking duck. I'm sure there are other videos for duck as well but I just happened to watch that one just yesterday.
I watched it. Bloody awesome techniques. But i would have to scale that to 30 plates.
 
8
1
Joined Jun 16, 2021
Hey Chef,

Thank you so much for your reply. That is true, hoping the flavour combinations compliment each other.
I have been having difficulty deciding on accompaniments, garnish and a grain for the dish.

That is what I thought. The biggest hurdle is going to be lack of experience. I have only been a chef for 4 years, worked with duck once at culinary school. But i don't want to take Duck La Orange straight from a textbook, I want to create an original dish that shows my personal style and twist.
I love working with Thai flavours and components.

Do you think that orange and tamarind would clash?

I am so grateful for the cooking tips, i was looking at roasting it whole, so glad I came on here for some guidance.

Thank you =]
I haven't tried that pairing. Check out below and follow links to increase your inspiration:

http://blog.foodpairing.com/2015/08/the-tamarind-twist/
 
4,763
1,012
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Do you think that orange and tamarind would clash?
They will work well together, but my concern would be that the dish would be a bit busy. More is not always better. instead of doing a foam maybe make an orange cinnamon glaze for the bananas (or plantains or sweet potatoes).

Also I would recommend using the entire bird and not just the breast. To show range of skills and technique you could confit the legs.
 
2,236
695
Joined Oct 31, 2012
You don't say when the competition is so I'm thinking you have at least a few days to work things out.
First, even scaled to 30 people, you have Five hours to do three courses. With some prior planning, that should be very doable. As a military cook you already know that as the numbers go up, the size of the equipment gets larger too. Don't let the fanciness throw you. It's just 30 people. So now you devote your time to preparation and planning to iron out the special parts.
Some of my advice will echo what the others have said.
First, keep it simple. There are plenty of things you can do for presentation that require minimal fuss and the judges will also most likely be looking at things like work habits, ie, working clean and neat, organization, food waste, hygiene (Wash your hands a lot)
I don't believe you mentioned the app or dessert but depending on what's available those shouldn't be too hard. A member on this site recently posted a Chocolate mousse video. You could whip one up in plenty of time and jazz up the presentation. If seafood is available, a ceviche might make a nice appetizer with plenty of nice colorful veggies and some citrus supremes. It should be "cooked" in about an hour with only a few minutes prep time. Save the majority of time for butchering the duck.
As for the duck. by all means use the entire bird, breasts and legs separately, With a bit of practice on two or three ducks before hand, breaking down the ducks should be easily accomplished in the time allotted. Sauté the breasts, roast/braise the legs, Bones and back for sauce. For your recipe idea, use plantains, not bananas. Plantains are like bananas for savory dishes.
I'll suggest if time allows you watch some more episodes of UK Masterchef. There are plenty of great ideas and you get a good sense of what takes place in a Michelin starred kitchen. It's as much about imagination and creativity as it is about skill.
One thing I noticed in the show is that for presentation there is a lot of shapes and purees. You can cut or form things in to unexpected shapes, pureeing anything means it can be a sauce and as long as they fit in flavor wise, many minimally prepared items can be used to garnish the main item. It's all in how you arrange them. So round out your ideas beforehand and focus on the essential skills while cooking. When plating time comes it should be all over.
 
109
38
Joined Mar 8, 2015
As a baker, I would recommend a nice citrus tart/lemon meringue pie/ key lime pie as dessert to cut the fat of the main course. This can be made ahead and be chilling in the fridge. I'd make individual minis of whichever you make for the best presentation.
 
27
1
Joined May 8, 2021
n't believe you mentioned t

Papaya, tamarind, orange and cinnamon? How am I going to taste that crispy duck through all that sweet and spice?
It is a thought that the components may be overpowering. I am struggling to find a balance, that is still delicious and original at the same time. This week i am trialling the dish and am going to iron out any problems with flavour balance.

Got another idea where i serve the duck with a Roasted plum sauce. Then have a few plums roasted for garnish, but still working through the planning phase.

Would you have any advice about flavour pairings or how to find a harmony between components?
 
2,236
695
Joined Oct 31, 2012
Get a copy of the Flavor Bible. All about which foods, herbs, etc. taste good with other foods, etc.
Otherwise, I think of seasoning like music. Some dishes are a small quartet, others like a complete orchestra. All have a part to play but it's a group performance.
A simple dish of salmon and dill sauce means the dominant flavors you expect when eating are salmon and dill. you might add some lemon, salt and pepper and butter to the sauce but when eating the dish you don't really notice them. Then again with out the lemon or salt or pepper or butter the dish would be noticeably different. A complex dish may have multiple flavorings but none dominate and none overpower the main item so together they make an more interesting whole.
. Tamarind and orange and cinnamon are all distinctive flavors and may complement each other but not in equal strength. So a very small amount of cinnamon may provide an interesting note against the other two if it isn't distinctive. If you find as you experiment that an ingredient is a bit of a challenge, don't be afraid to simply get rid of it. When it works, it works. When it doesn't, it doesn't.
 

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