One of the main difference between Cuisine and Pastry: the former relies alot on adjusting-along-the-way and following your instincts whereas the latter requires absolute precision at every stage (one wrong move and it’s GG).
I always thought I am better off being precise – being an engineer by training and all; However, a few incidents of late got me re-thinking…
Just to name an example in school -
We made SHALLOW POACHED STUFFED CHICKEN BREAST for one of the lessons. My dish looked perfectly fine but when the chef tasted it, her head fell back in shock and she cringed – way too sour! Apparently, I have added too much lemon juice in the sauce and my disappointment stems from the fact that I actually knew right away the moment I added the lemon juice but I shook off that “instinct” as I was too focused on getting the steps and quantity as per what the “recipe” says (recipe was wrong – made a typo) …also, it din help that we were under severe time pressure that day and I did not have time to adjust the taste later on (another BIG no no).
The “Lemon Face” that the chef made was vividly etched in my mind all the way till the weekends…and every time, I just wished I had trusted my instincts.
Many more situations last week led me to the same thought – “Damn, I should have trusted my instincts!”. This was definitely a HUGE takeaway for me last week.
On a lighter note, I think classes are getting more fun & challenging! –
ROASTED SIRLOIN OF BEEF (by me) – Chef John did not like it that I drizzled the jus on the sirloin as it spoilt the beautiful pink of the medium-rareness – according to him. Otherwise, favors and degree of doneness was right.
RACK OF LAMB WITH PARSLEY CRUST SERVED WITH RATATOUILLE (by me) – Everything was good except I should have sliced the rack with one smooth motion to avoid the rough surface on the meat as you can see in the pic
[LEFT] BEEF CONSOMME (by Chef Mark) – Finally, I get to make a consomme on my own! Very interesting but requires good technique for sure. One thing I still struggle with is how to skim the consomme such that the soup is entirely grease-free. Maybe the solution is to buy a pot with a tap at the bottom.
[RIGHT] CREAM OF PUMPKIN SOUP (by me) – this soup is named Creme Cendrillon in french…which directly translates to “Cream Cinderella” – how adorable! I was pretty pleased with my “cinderella”….so was the chef
[LEFT] CALF’S LIVER WITH BACON SERVICES WITH FRENCH FRIED ONIONS (by me) – I am happy with what I presented but pity I am no fan of calf’s liver so everything landed in the bin right after (safe for the bacon and onion rings, of course!)
[RIGHT] VANILLA BAVAROIS WITH RASPBERRY COULIS & CHANTILLY CREAM (by me) – taste was fine but obviously I have much to learn on presentation which I am going to have to put in some effort to research/learn.
This week, we will be tackling seafood for the first time – and when I step into the kitchen this week…I am going to start trusting my instincts.