Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 2: Big Sexy Knives! Oh my!

Day 2 of the course, today we got to work with our big sexy knives, they're very cool, the kind of knife I may have bought for myself if I'd known anything about knives. We learned how to sharpen them on the steel and then we were off to cutting.....flour. Yep we spent part of the morning cutting flour with a plastic scraper, them we moved on to cutting flour with our knife and finally they gave a a stick of celery to do our worst on!

I'll be honest, I'm terrified I really slice myself, I'm crazy careful and focused on where my fingers are all the time. Besides, there's an 8 day lag on my medical insurance, it's not official till tomorrow! (Shhhh!) There were some nicks here and there, for some reason, the Mexicans were the first to bleed - they had to endure jokes from Chef T all day, ("Their flour looks more like cayenne pepper!"). I made it through day two without a mishap, but i know it's just a manner of time.

We have three instructors, and I must say, (and you know how picky I am about instructors and teachers), they are all excellent. They teach us as a real team, and each one does a demo throughout the day and watches us as we practice. There is lots of correction and explanation which is really impressive.

They are also very good about what we eat and making sure we stay healthy, there's a lot of talk about avoiding refined carbs and going for whole grains, they are not into drinking coffee all day long, just a cup in the morning. Each night they have reminded us to go for a walk or go to the gym to get some exercise and to go to bed early.

So we practised cutting celery, garlic, onions, carrots and potatoes, which all went into a minestrone soup for our lunch. We actually had to get rulers out and cut the veg into 6mm x 6mm cubes. I really need more practice at that.

One funny thing happened near the end of the day. The culinary and pastry classrooms are side by side, and the pastry instructor is a big, funny guy with a huge voice. We hear him all day long, and I'm sure he hears us. We had a demo on how to chiffonade spinach leaves. All of us were at our stations focusing hard on rolling and cutting our spinach into perfect strips of confetti, when we heard the chef yell in an almost kid-like squeal, "OK everybody! Let's make peanut butter cookies!!!" Everyone from our side moaned, and one guy yelled, "Peanut butter cookies? Sure beats my spinach chiffonade!"

Chicken and veal stock tomorrow, and probably veg for the vegetarians. There is even a girl who can't have any flour products, she has celiac disease, so my chicken intolerance is pansy compared to her.

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