So as some of you know I started my course at FCI on Saturday, bright and early at 9:30am. Everyone put on their Chefs outfits which include a Chef's jacket, these dorked out drawstring checkered pants, an apron, a neckerchief (yikes), and a skull cap which made all the girls look like 12 year old boys. I looked super dorky... it was amazing.
In any case, our instructor was Chef Justin who was tall and gorg (future husband, thanks?), and coincidentally very talented. We were given an AMAZING kit with great quality knives, tongs, thermometers, whisks.. .pretty much everything we could ever need. The best part is that these are ours to keep so it saves me the trouble from having to go out and be confused in the kitchen section at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
The class was 5 hours long and there was a TON of information to retain. Everyone got their own station and most of the class was taught at the demo station where we were shown basic knife skills on vegetables and proper cooking techniques. All the terminology was in french and since luckily I speak french, it wasn't that hard to keep up.
Our first dish was a medley of garden vegetables - not exactly an exotic recipe but was great practice for how to cook veggies properly. I was most excited about cleaning and prepping artichokes which completely intimidated me prior to the lesson. You basically strip off the leaves, cut off half the stem, use your paring knife to get rid of the dark green around the base, and split the remain choke into quarters, removing the little hairs inside of the veggie. To keep it from discoloring, we rubbed it in lemon... then TADA! It was done!
We also learned about tournage which is a french taillage and basically the bane of culinary students' existences. You basically use your paring knife to get your vegetable into a football like shape - one of my fellow students definitely cut himself while trying to master this technique. Really not easy. In the picture at the bottom of this post, the zucchinis on the side are turned so you can get an idea of what a really shitty job of tournage looks like.
Another cool skill we learned was how to make tomato concasse. Basically what that means is a peeled, seeded, and diced tomato. A trick I learned for peeling tomatoes was to place an criss-cross incision at the bottom of the tomato, toss it in boiling water for a few seconds, and then into ice cold water basically "shocking" the tomato out of it's skin. An awesome trick.
In any case, here is the result of the vegetable medley we created - be very proud of me!