Wednesday, April 14, 2010

vegetable turning and nasty chefs


We're into week four and already a third of the way through the course - I can't believe it.

To give you some background info on the school: Le Cordon Bleu offers certificate courses in cuisine and patisserie with students progressing through basic, intermediate and superior levels, after which they gain Le Diplôme de Cuisine, Le Diplôme de Patisserie or Le Grand Diplôme (if you do both cuisine and patisserie at the same time). I enrolled for the basic cuisine course only (as did J and H) but we're loving it so much that the three of us are thinking of coming back in the autumn to do the intermediate course.

We had our first blip last week when we were set upon by 'Gordon Ramsay' Chef. We have nicknames for all the Chefs, so there's 'Mr Bean' Chef (our favourite, who looks like, er, Mr Bean), 'Blackberry' Chef (who plays on his Blackberry when he should be supervising us in practicals), 'Hot' Chef (no explanation needed), 'Short' Chef (ditto) - and now 'Gordon Ramsay' Chef. Not only is he thoroughly unpleasant in a shouting and bullying way but he's plainly never heard of sexual harassment in the workplace (maybe it's not against the law in France - I wouldn't be surprised) as evidenced by his unwelcome and unnecessary physical contact with female students. Hopefull we won't see too much of him because he's a patisserie chef.
 
 
We're on to stuffings and tournage de légumes (vegetable turning) now - when you spend an hour paring down a carrot into a small barrel shape with seven sides. It's very traditional and very French, but extremely slow and repetitive and Paris is full of restaurants where dishwashers and commis spend hours a day locked in this seven-sided-servitude hell.

I'm going back to Savoie on Friday for three days. I actually made a surprise flying visit at Easter - only it was me who got the surprise when I saw the state of the house, so BB's been warned. He's just called to say he's down to the last of the beef stew PC dinners "which is a result" - and I don't think he meant that in a kind way!

12 comments:

Kathie said...

At the risk of playing the Grinch here, why oh why "par[e] down a carrot into a small barrel shape with seven sides"??? It might be cuter (or not), but it sure doesn't enhance the taste or nutrition, does it?

OTOH, I just wanted rech right through my computer screen to grab those luscious artichokes and cook 'em! In my Azorean-American family, they're always eaten by dipping the leaves into mayonnaise (ditto for steamed asparagus).

Kathie said...

Not "rech" but "reach" (blush).

Sarah said...

Kathie, Not sure why they faff about turning veg like that but a uniform size helps them all to cook at the same time.

Dirndle said...

Your blog was well worth waiting for! Good photograph of my favourite vegetable!
You can`t get them in England! The tinned variety are disgusting!
My second favourite would have to be Jerusalem artichokes(no relation)but at least I can grow my own!!! Devil to peel though: you end up with something smaller than a French carrot!

Kathie said...

"faff"? Translation, please?

Sarah said...

Kathie, the verb "to faff" in Scottish parlance means to waste time doing something meaningless.

Kathie said...

I save time, annoyance and possibly even bloodshed -- which I deplore, especially my own! -- by just cutting peeled carrots diagonally, thicker where the root is skinny, thinner where it's wider, on order to help equalize the cooking time.

Truth be told, I actually prefer my carrots raw, but sometimes cooked ones are necessary (a great low-cal thickener when puréed in certain sauces and gravies, a trick I learned long ago from Michel Guerard's "Cuisine Minceur," back in my still-omnivorous days).

Kathie said...

Have you checked out any of the Paris restaurants described in this article?

"Where Paris Chefs, Not Prices, Rise":
http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/travel/18prixfixe.html?src=me&ref=general

Jen S. said...

Yuck. I am just picturing the harassment in the kitchen at CB. I hope you indeed see him little.

I just made artichokes, too. They mean spring here in the States. California is the big growing region for them. I made bagna cauda to dip - delicious!

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Your chef descriptions are cracking me up. Is it time for a new food-related reality show? : )

Anonymous said...

Twas me that sent the last one!

Iva said...

that is an impeccable image!