Two weeks in and I am beginning to settle in to my new life. Days are long, information is plentiful, the pace of learning is relentless. Days are split in half, either cooking or watching demonstrations, scribbling madly to ensure nothing is missed as you are bound to be cooking it, or a variation sooner or later. Then it is home to write a timeplan for the next day.
In the past couple of weeks I have probably consumed as much, if not more, butter, cream and meat than in the six months previous. Sweating onion in olive oil is a distant memory, everything is cooked in butter. I’ve pot roasted partridge with lentils and pancetta, made veal and ham raised pie, baked creme caramels, ridged, rolled and folded flaky pastry for my chicken pie, made gougeres, risotto, hollandaise, and enjoyed trout en papilote.
Demonstrations are great, yesterday we munched our way through various offal. I enjoy calved livers but rarely venture beyond them in restaurants or in my own kitchen, so I was pleasantly surprise to love lamb kidneys, faggots, and slivers of pan fried ox heart. Tripe less so – just because it is so bland! I will definitely be more confident ordering offal dishes in future.
They warned us we would be exhausted by the end of the first two weeks and they were right. My fatigue was enhanced by completing the cooking for 50 challenge, where 4 of us cooked for the harshest of critics, fellow students. It was up to the wire – making vast amount of rough puff pastry took longer than I thought but my right angles are now near perfect – we made it and the majority seemed to enjoy it. We get feedback next week…