JWU RI, week 3

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by katew, Sep 24, 2002.

  1. katew

    katew

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    Is it week 3 already?
    Yesterday was my final class of American Regional Cuisine. We came to class, had inspection and attendance and went down the hall to take our exams. It was pretty straightforward, but I was stumped on a couple things I forgot to study particularly hard, like temps for manual and machine dishwashing.
    After we each finished the exam, we went back to the classroom and started to prepare for cooking our meal. The lamb wasn't as difficult as I had envisioned, but I did not enjoy trying to french the ribs. Mine did not come out as clean as I had hoped, but when my partner and I gave chef a sample, he loved it. Another thing we forgot to do was whisk some butter into the carrot sauce at the end, but it still came out well I think.
    I got to go to the dining room tonight and I had the seafood soup and a veggie pizza. It was made by another class, and I thought their dough was better than ours. We also had a bunch of little canapes on our table made by the garde manger class, and they were pretty tasty. Dessert was a fruit tart which was good but had kiwi coulis on it, and I had never had a problem with kiwi before but it must have been really concentrated because it made my tongue hurt. It stopped soon though.
    After dinner we cleaned up and got our papers, finals, and production grades back. I got an 88 on the final, 88 on my paper, and 12/15 on production. I got a point each taken off for mise en place, use of time, and selection of tools. I can understand why, so I think it was fair.
    I talked to chef before I left and asked him if he had any advice, He said, Just have confidence, and you'll be fine.
    I do know I was kind of tentative at times because I didn't want to do anything "wrong". But I think even if people do things a different way, if they arrive at the same place in the end, it is okay.
    Oh! and I got a 106 on my last quiz. LOL gotta love extra credit.
    Today I start Stocks and Sauces.
    Until next time!
     
  2. culinarian247

    culinarian247

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    Keep up the good work Kate. Keep us posted on your progress!! 88?! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG!!! Nice.
     
  3. katew

    katew

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    I can't help but notice that the views and replies to my posts are getting progressively fewer ;) Is there something I can do to make this more interesting?
    I know I don't spend much time going over the cooking processes I have used but that is because in my American Regional class, most of the time I was part of a group who was doing one dish. The 2 or 3 steps I was doing seemed a little disjointed because I could not really see the whole big picture, if you know what I mean. Just because I made the sauce for the lamb doesn't mean I can tell you how to make the lamb ;)
    Anyway, now I am in Stocks and Sauces. The chef is French, and has been teaching here for 21 years, and still has a relatively thick accent. I really do have trouble with accents, but I am trying to hang in there. Yesterday he sent me to the class next door for a couple hotel pans, and I could not remember what they were called, so I launched into a description of them. "Hotel pans?" the chef asked. So I picked up a couple and it turned out one was more shallow than the other, and I balked at going back to interrupt the class again, so chef went, even though I said I would.
    Then the girl I am grouped with and I got yelled at because we were trying to take ice out of the mixology and beverage ice maker. Our chef told us to, we protested. I don't care, said the beverage instructor, And now you've gotten the ice contaminated with the dirty bowls. Dirty bowls? They weren't dirty. I understand always being accomodating to instructors, but what about when they are truly wrong? So we had to run upstairs to ANOTHER ice machine, and use that one. My arms were ready to fall off, because those metal bowls are heavy enough without the ice in them, lol.
    Another frustrating moment was when I was asking chef what to do about the stain that was on the stovetop. I didn't want to scratch the surface with the metal pad. I thought he was listening but when I finished asking he just walked away. Whatever.
    I am irritated that the chefs just seem to let you go and do things with no proper preparation. I know what I said about not being afraid to do things "wrong" but this is ridiculous.
    At the end of class chef came over and slung an arm around my shoulders. How is class going? What have you learned? I told him I was doing okay, and I reviewed what I had learned about the parts of the knife and steel, how to hold the vegetables you are cutting like you are 'crippled' (middle finger on top of the food vertically, first and third fingers holding the sides of the vegetable, almost looking like you are giving the finger without quite closing the fist), and the importance of the learning center and library. We have a paper due where we have to pick a cuisine, highlight a spice or herb that is used predominately in that cuisine, and convert a recipe for a dish and a sauce that use that herb or spice.
    Also I have to go to the library soon and write the recipes for some stocks and sauces on index cards. He doesn't want us bringing our recipe books to class.
    Well I should get going!
     
  4. greg

    greg

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    Kate, don't pay attention to the views and replies; it's in no way indicative of the fine job you are doing. Over the past couple of years I've noticed that posting activity at Chef Talk runs in cycles; we're just in a low spot.

    Sounds like that beverage instructor has a problem. You are paying far too much money for the instructors to involve you in their little territorial squabbles. You had a reasonable explanation for doing what you were doing; h/she should have taken the issue up with your instructor. I don't recommend involving yourself in a confrontation with any instructor, as down the road they may be your instructor. These people do have a boss, though. Take up these problems with the director of the culinary arts program; if it's the same person as when I was there, he's very reasonable. If anything, it would probably do you some good to talk about it.

    BTW, if they try to trot out the "if you can't handle that, how do you expect to handle pressure and stress in the real world" excuse, here's some points to refute that:

    In the real world, you are at least being paid to be yelled at, not the other way around.

    In the real world, you can always go find someone else to work for that doesn't take out their shortcomings in their ability to properly train staff on the staff.

    In the real world, inter-departmental in-fighting is indicative of a problem that needs to be solved, not a fact of life that is merely to be accepted.

    Hang in there; it's only the 3rd week. As time goes on, it'll get much easier. And if you ask an instructor a question and they walk away, follow them and ask again!;)
     
  5. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Kate, Good job :) BTW, you know there's a real easy way to french a rack right? All it takes is a towel and the back side of a blade.

    Kuan
     
  6. katew

    katew

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    Thank you kuan. I didnt know if that instructor was in the wrong, or if it was just me being sensitive like I usually am. Thanks for those tips on why that shouldn't happen in the real world. I hope I at least have the backbone to deal with it better by then.
    I don't know about that way of frenching. Do you scrape the meat away with the backside and pull it away with the towel? Do you think we will learn that in meat cutting, or is that just more of a decorative thing?
    I'm having a bit of trouble memorizing the processes for stocks and sauces and I will probably go to the learning center tomorrow for some help. I'm also a bit nervous about the paper due for this class. It's been too long since I had to do research :(
    Today they took our fridge/freezer/microwave because nobody was here to pay for it. What kind of crap is that? The money was in an envelope taped on the wall and labeled.
    It seems like a running theme in this school; punishing the students for something that is the faculty's fault. The microfridge payment, yelling at us for something instructors told us to do, and making us go downtown to get our meal cards fixed when it is clearly not our fault they don't work. It is not a huge deal but it is this kind of thing that keeps me up at night :(
    I'd like to say hello to any visitors who are not registered on this page. Feel free to register and ask me any questions you want, or e mail me at [email protected]
     
  7. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    You take the back side of the knife and kinda beat it in between the bones, and then yeah, use the towel to grab on to the membrane, after you make the cut running up the flat side of the bone. No need to scrape.

    Kuan
     
  8. katew

    katew

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    Yesterday my partner and I made a vegetable stock. We are supposed to have a third in our group, but she was absent. The stock came out alright except it was kind of boiling instead of simmering at one point. Those burners seem kind of fiesty. Even at lowest adjustment (they are gas) you kind of have to keep the pot off-center if you want a simmer. Most of the stocks are done in the giant kettles, but some of the recipes only call for a gallon, so we do those on the stove top.
    Dinner in the dining room is French for this 9-day stretch. It is pretty good. It's nice to not have to eat the food you've been looking at and making all day, as was the case in American Regional. It's also nice that we all get to go, instead of half of us staying in the kitchen and serving.
    It is absolutely freezing in the stocks and sauces room. It is pretty bad during lecture, but once we get cooking you don't really notice.
    I almost forgot I can go find out what my American Regional grade is today. :bounce:
    Until next time.
     
  9. katbalou

    katbalou

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    dear kate,
    i find your posts very interesting and hope you keep up with them. takes me back about 20 years in time... seems like some things haven't changed at johnny wales. petty issues between instructors...
    did you sell your car? are you working? that's very hard to do on top of your studies, even though you get the long weekend you still end up beat. i remember that real well. :(
    kat
     
  10. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Hi, Kate,

    As an old bird who never had the opportunity to get to culinary school, I love your posts! I feel like I'm vicariously going to school through you!

    Try and remember to just relax and 'be in the moment' at class; you may find you're a little less stressed about 'getting' it all, all at once. And remember learning is a process, and the very word implies 'mistakes' along the way.

    I loved learning to make stocks and soups; made me feel like an old fashioned alchemist!

    lots of luck, and keep posting! And save your posts, if you can; what a great 'diary' they'll be years down the road!
     
  11. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    Hey Kate, looks like things are going great. And don't worry so much about doing something wrong the first time cause that's how you learn to do it right the next. Where would all of us be if we didnt make mistakes. They are good for the soul. :D

    And if you don't believe that, take for example the test kitchens for all those cookbook and culinary school textbook authors? :cool:

    As for the views.......I don't know about everyone else, but sometimes Im not able to check out the board. Ill swing back up the page to reread. Think I may have some questions for you. :D

    Jodi
     
  12. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    Ok......

    1. What was the difference between the dough your group made and the dough the other group made? Was it lighter?

    2. Could you describe those little canapes?

    3. What exactly did the Amer. Regional Class cover? Local food and produce? History of the local food? Was there a particular textbook or books you were assigned for this class?

    4. I see you said it was fair that points were taken away for your mise en place and use of time etc. Why? And what was that about tool selection? Are you graded on the tools you select for a certain job?


    BTW: Im not trying to be a P.I.A. I'm just trying to "see" the whole picture of Culinary school life. :p :D :cool:

    Jodi
     
  13. merwin

    merwin

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    Kate your post are great! I am looking at returning to school full time. Right now I am taking night classes once a week(for 2 hours). Last Monday was the tomatoes, it was a 5 course nite! The chef is great but the classes are limited in content. after 10 weeks I have only been hands on once. (cutting lemon grass). So I do all my hands on at home. This is now including buying more equipment / tools to make the recipes. I read your reviews of classes with envy.(to cook with gas;) ). The recipes I get with class have been very vague, the ingredients are listed, but some time metric, sometimes imperial measurement, or by weight. the method descriptions are lacking!!! the recipes have no time frame listed (example start 3 hr before serving), no serving recommendations (serves 4), no list of calories, protein, carb's,or sodium per serving.And there is almost always a surprise recipe with class! not in print. listen and take notes. (no sleeping!) The classes change from key ingredient of theme, next week is harvest dinner! Anything from 1-5 recipes + surprises. And all I can do is ask questions and watch! Don't get me wrong it's like sitting at the chef's table, and the food is great. But I would like more. count yourself lucky, your in school !!!!:bounce: & will soon be a chef!:chef: So please keep up the post/ reports;) merwin
     
  14. katew

    katew

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    I totally understand and I welcome any questions. It means you are interested and that is nice.

    >>did you sell your car? are you working? that's very hard to do on top of your studies, even though you get the long weekend you still end up beat. i remember that real well.
    kat

    Well my boyfriend has my car right now (Hi Steve) He needs it more than I do.
    I am not working and I do not intend to at least not for now. I just can barely balance work and study as it is. I am pooped when I get home and I save my studying for the morning. My classes are 1:30 to 7:30 this trimester which makes it hard to squeeze in work.
    By the way, I got a B in my American Regional Class. Was hoping for a B+ or better, but oh well.
    Edit: its kind of hard to tell because it's all bold but I inserted some answers in between Shawtycat's questions.
     
  15. katbalou

    katbalou

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    congratulations on your grade! i'm glad your not working, as i did that my entire first year and my grades weren't too high as a result. picking out the right tools gets easier as you go along it becomes habit after a while.
    keep up the good work!
    kat