Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 17: Disappointment All Around

Fruits of our labour!

It was bound to happen sooner or later. We were doing so well.

Nobody cried on omelet day, as the Chefs had predicted. Or on canape day either. But today was a long day, filled with recipe piled on top of recipe, and finally it happened - a big mess up.

The Chefs like to instill a sense of urgency in the class. You have to be calm under pressure, not lose your cool, keep your focus, get the job done. Sometimes the Chef yells for us to begin plating, but you're still five minutes away! At these times I've looked up and seen that everyone is still five minutes from plating. They're just piling on the pressure.

In these times so many things come into play. Teamwork, communication, speed, agility. In the heat of the moment, when you've got five things that need to come together just so, you have to have all your faculties working at once.

Morning Glory Muffins
with grated carrot and apple,
(the white specks are quinoa), and
Lemon Blueberry and Basil Scones,
(these were yummy with the basil!).

We had already made a few batches of muffins, 2 plates of scones, a few dozen cookies, finished our blitz pastry and poached a ton of pears when the Chefs decided to make "tuiles". Tuiles are what fortune cookies are made of, a kind of thin pancake batter that can be spread thinly, baked and bent into any shape before it cools. Tuiles were originally on the roster for tomorrow, but the Chefs had an idea for tuiles with our spicy-poached-pear tarts and decided to try them today.

Pears poached in red wine and eleven secret spices!

We made the pear shape they asked for, and then gave us permission to play and experiment with the rest of the tuile batter while we waited for our "vol au vent" to bake, which we did. But time was ticking, and as soon as the vol au vent was done we had to plate it and get it to the table.

In short, mine was disaster, I was not at all pleased with the outcome, but ces't la vie! (You will NOT be seeing a picture of my failure!)

Blitz pastry, vol au vent before baking...

.... and after.
Let it be known the Chefs heaped mounds of praise onto
this little guy,saying (and I quote),
"That's the nicest vol au vent I've seen in some time!"
That was before my rotund little pear wouldn't stand up
and I broke my pear tuile.

But one stove over, a big mistake was made.

Instead of filling their vol au vent with créme Patissiere, (custard), two teams accidently filled theirs with tuile batter! So easy to do! We had bowls of white creams and pastes everywhere. Their tarts had to be turfed. A few words were uttered and a few tears were shed.

It's hard when you take six products, all made from scratch and mess them up in the final stretch. It's disappointing, but you've just got to learn from the experience. And today, two teams over at the next stove learned to communicate, organise and taste before adding!!

Viola! Poached Pear Tart in a pool of Crème Anglaise!
Not mine though - my partner's.


  1. Cmon! Put the failures on too! I'm sure it wasn't too bad. ; ) And if it was, well, "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

    Albert Einstein

  2. Yeah, well, it looked pretty bad after I beat it into a pulp with my fists. Ok just kidding. But it was bad.

    You know what happens with our mistakes? Yea we eat them before anyone sees! They may look bad, but they still taste good!

    I like that quote! I'll pass it along to the group tomorrow, I know one girl in particular will like it.