Thursday, September 16, 2010


I've never really understood the concept of Murphy's Law (because I have never taken the time to ask what it meant), but one of my classmates used the term to describe today, I know. It should have been a sign when my Bic pen cracked in half in my hand at 7:01 am. Bic? Really? Naturally this was the one day I didn't have 2 spare pens in my sleeve. Sigh.

All in all, I think I did ok. Working on five products at once can be stressful, especially with a lack of equipment -- but today was the closest thing to working in a professional kitchen I've had.

Some curveballs:
  • I'd perfected an awesome poaching recipe yesterday in class. I needed to hog a lot of citrus (lemons, limes, oranges, and white wine), so I had planned to make a mad dash for the produce when the start bell rang. Lo and behold, there we no lemons! Somehow the, like, 900 lemons in the fridge yesterday had disappeared. I ended up just throwing a bunch of wine and spices in a pot and crossing my fingers. It tasted like potpourri, which is apparently what poached pears are supposed to taste like.

  • The lab is kept at a frigid 67 degrees. Oh, hey butter, have fun getting soft in a room that's the same climate as the North Pole. Usually we take it out 3 hours in advance, but that was not an option. I ended up overcreaming the butter and nearly dislocating my elbow when trying to pipe rosette cookies because the dough was so cold and firm. They look a little busted (see photo below), but I only got a couple of points deducted.

  • There was a slight plumbing catastrophe with about 30 minutes remaining in the practical. Let's just say that some unmentionable material started coming out of the floor drains at a rapid rate. It was horrifying and we weren't sure if we should stop and run for cover or keep tempering chocolate. At first I thought this was some horrible twist to test our sanitation skills/knowledge, but I quickly realized that no one was that sadistic. Luckily the issue got resolved pretty quickly.

  • Yes, there were a LOT of scuffles over equipment (burners, mixers, etc). 24 people in one lab is crazy. Fortunately, I saw it coming so I prepped and weighed my ingredients for every product first thing in the morning and wrapped them up in little baggies. I was able to stealthily slip in front of different equipment as soon as I saw an opening and avoided getting karate chopped by a frantic chef.

After the four hour practical, we spent an hour cleaning and then took an hour-long written test, at which point my brain was fried. I couldn't define "roasting" -- I felt like Wynona Rider in Reality Bites when she can't define "irony".

It was a long day, and we're only half done! Part two on Monday. See below for my cookies and piped chocolate. The Chef's best compliment about this piece was that she liked the tile I chose. Ha.


  1. So after part 2 do they break you into groups of 4 critique you in public
    and chop one of you?
    I love the cookie that looks like an ice cream cone (or is it a lollypop)

  2. So you kept cooking when sewage came up the floor drain. There has to be something in the health code about that

  3. mm yeah, we talked about that after the fact. In real life, I think we'd have been shut down.