18 8 / 2011
My first attempt at French Macaron!
Well, courtesy of photoshop these look okay but I made three trays of macarons and only about 10 came out. :-( These were much harder than I anticipated. The flavor was a vanilla cookie with a plum/rose butter cream. I didn’t do so good. I’ll try again next weekend and post the recipe if it comes out.
Things I learned:
1. Always put the cookie sheet in another cookie sheet. It keeps the cookie from getting to hot and cracking.
2. Let the cookie batter sit for a bit to dry out before putting in the oven. That really made a difference for the successful cookies.
3. Breathe. They are only cookies. (I kept repeating that OVER and OVER again)
Wish me luck on the next round!
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08 6 / 2011
Day Two. Craft Restaurant.
Yup that’s me. It’s my second day at Craft and Jenny McCoy (The Exec Pastry Chef) gave me my hat. The day started with going over all the protocol to ensure I don’t violate any health code regulations. That was a good education and definitely made me want to go home and scrub my personal kitchen.
Then Jenny put four recipes in front of me and talked me through them. Then she said, “Pop Quiz. Lesson in multi-tasking: How would you approach these?” I pointed at the Rhubarb Sorbet and said I start there, then while its cooling, I’d start and finish the Passion Fruit Sorbet. Then finish the Rhubarb Sorbet and move on to the bread component recipes. Jenny said that’s how she’d approach it BUT she’d take out the butter for the Hazelnut Shortbread and the Graham Cracker Crisp so its soft at the beginning.
In the middle, Jenny sat with me for an hour and gave me a vocabulary lesson. Telling me what some of her short hand, like VB - Vanilla Bean. or AP - All Purpose Flour. And some professional kitchen slang, for instance, the professional food processor is called RoboCoupe. I mean. Is that not a super hero name? And Turbo Sugar. That’s short for turbinado or raw sugar. Turbo Sugar and RoboCoupe are here to break you down and sweeten you up! If I ever have the guts to get at tattoo, I think it might just be ‘Turbo Sugar’. What do you think?
26 5 / 2011
My Professional Kitchen Debut - Craft Restaurant
Yesterday I spent about 7 hours helping out Executive Pastry Chef Jennifer McCoy and the Pastry department at Craft Restaurant. Well, I should say they were helping me out but either way, it was quite the experience.
When I walked in, I was really nervous. I saw Jenny right away and she brought me to the back, grabbed me a chef jacket, an apron, and hand towels. I had three hand towels on me (two dry and one wet). Then I came out and she gave me a tour. I met a TON of people, saw a bunch of equipment I’d never touched before. I’m probably going to have to relearn some of that and the names, but I remember the names of the pastry team. I spent time with Meredith the Sous- Pastry Chef, Eve and Kelsey who were on PM/Service shift and Anastacia (sp?) who was a prep chef (I think). I meant to take a photo in the chef gear but I was eager to get started and nervous, so I just forgot.
My first task was putting Streusel on the Muffins. They do a take away at the end of the night. One of Tom Colicchio signatures. (It’s his restaurant, if you didn’t know and Yes he’s a judge on Top Chef). After putting on the topping of 164 muffins, we put them in the oven and timed them for 12 minutes. Then I turned them. And then the buzzer went off. Jenny showed me how dark they should be and how light they can be. They were done and on the cooling racks they went. I forgot about them until the busers came in for service, put them in celophane bags and prepped them for the end of the night.
Then I worked on prepping the Banana sorbet. which was measuring, checking the sweetness by its fractal. I used this cool gadget that told me the number. Once I added enough simple syrup to get it to fractal 29, I had to sift the Banana into another container and that took me about 40 minutes. Yup. I felt very close to that banana after getting it into the container. Then I put tape on the container, marked what it was and the date and put it in the walk in fridge.
Then I did the passion fruit sorbet and learned how to work with Glucose. I messed up and put too much. To take it out of the container I dipped my hand in ice till it hurt and then grabbed the glucose. Such an interesting texture.
The PM staff showed up and I started working with Kelsely. I scaled a few different recipes for her. (That mean measure out all the ingredients). And then she had me chop 100 ounces of rhubarb. I weighed, washed and then proceeded to chop. Kelsey gave me two knife instructions, then Meredith and then Jenny. Oh how patient they were. I finally started to get the motion and uniform cuts. But if practice is what I wanted, that is definitely what I got. I even have a tiny blister on my hand to prove it. And I need to practice cutting this week at home. Like practice a LOT.
What I was most impressed with was how well the kitchen runs. Everyone knows what they are doing and when. The pastry team was so sweet and welcoming. And if you don’t know this restaurant, you must eat there. Everything I tasted was amazing. And believe me, I did a bit of tasting, and even more smelling. Uh, when that long haired chef took out the Potato Gratin from the ovens, I could feel the drool dribble on my chin. At the end of my day, Jenny had me try all the sorbets and ice creams. Wow, long pepper, Smoked Salt, Butter cream Rhubarb and the banana. Which after my day, I felt especially close to.
I really can’t wait to go back.
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