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At the Colonial House Restaurant and Bar, we're all about improvement.
Becky Hollibaugh, culinary arts instructor at Central High School, invited me last year to present to her class a culinary exposition with demonstrations. She was looking for someone in the industry who could give her students a firsthand look at what it would be like for them to become a culinarian, cook or chef. Last year on May 5th I made a presentation to her 3 classes of 30 students each, beginning at 8 AM, then 9:45 and finally 1:45PM.
This year, on May18th, we again presented a culinary overview with 90 students. We began by talking about what really means to be a Chef including not just knowledge of types of food and how to prepare it but the importance of developing a flavor profile to help pair different types of food together. And most important of all having a passion for what you are doing as being a chef involves long hours, hard work and realizing that a restaurants busiest times are when everyone else is on vacation…holidays!
Also discussed were to important French Chefs who helped form culinary procedure, presentation, classification, recipes of French cuisine and a kitchen brigade system. Chef Careme efforts in the early 1800’s and Escoffier in the early 1900’s, to make systematic approach to culinary preparation is still in use in commercial kitchens today.
We covered one of the most important French culinary terms “Mise en place” which means everything in its place. Before even starting to cook the recipe is examined and all ingredients and cookware is accounted for and in easy access, “Mise en place!
Food safety and sanitation, how to monitor and control food through receiving, preparation and holding before and after serving is a very important task. Proper hand washing and preventing cross contamination is very important to keeping food safe from bacteria growth also.
What types of stocks and how to make them, using a “mire pox” and “sachet dépêche. Then discussion on how to further refining the stock to make sauces, using a “roux” in some cases, was explored. The 5 mother sauces were covered; Béchamel, Veloute, Espagnole, Tomato and Hollandaise. The difference between an herb and spice use to flavor sauces was also discussed.
A demonstration of knife skills, how to cut vegetables in to different sizes as described by French terminology such as chiffonade, julienne, batonnet etc… The proper way to handle, anatomy and how to care for a “chefs” knife was also emphasized.
Our demonstrations included rolling out of properly mixed pie dough and then forming it, cake decorating with icing and piping skills and a flambé using crepes and show casing the flambé “crepes suzette”.
The class ended with a prepared quiz, tasting of the prepared product and a drawing for the decorated cake.