culinary school

School Days

I’ve finally updated Hotshots a tiny tiny bit! You’ll find some pictures of our first few days at Greystone. And since I was at it, I thought I’d share the rest of these random “product pics”! In this first photo, Team HC prepares some goodies for the cafe.
And here’s a bleu cheese & chive quiche our group made the other day. It was so delicious–and extremely rich. Perfect for those family Sunday brunches when you’re looking for a savory adult-type treat.

Wendy proudly displays her traditional bially.

Below, the cake with the powdered sugar stripes on it is a roman apple cake, and one of the first items we learn how to make.

Moving right along to the laminated dough station, here’s a variety of croissants–some savory, some sweet, some filled, some not. I filled mine with gargonzola dolce, carmelized onions, sage and walnuts. Yummers! SIDENOTE: gargonzola dolce is my new favorite cheese.

These little numbers are filled with — you guessed it — chocolate! And when they’re hot out of the oven, oh baby oh: soooo good.Moving clockwise from the back of the plate, here’s a Christmas stollen (one of my new favorite breads, stollen–pronounced schtollen–is NOT a fruit cake). Next we have Kugelhopf. And finally panetone. Filled with golden California raisins that were soaked in dessert wine for two days, our rendition is a decidedly Norcal-style pastry.

Here’s Ann with some more panetone. Seriously good stuff–for any meal!

Daily wrap-up with Chef Jorin. It’s important to evaluate each new product and share constructive criticism.

Here’s a close-up of that stollen. When it’s hot out of the oven, we brush it heavily with butter and dip it in two different kinds of sugar. This helps preserve it for a long period of time and makes stollen an ideal bread to make early for the holiday season.The flavors of the rum-soaked fruits and nuts mature with age.

Pumpkin Fever

pumpkins.jpgI am so happy that Autumn has finally arrived! It’s been a busy couple weeks–I’m helping edit the recipe book for the Worlds of Flavor conference that’s coming up in November, working on the hot side for our special events department on the weekends. Dave came to visit this weekend and we had loads of fun! Pictures and stories to come soon!

Much more than a hunch

While reminiscing I discovered these pics of the fam and just couldn’t resist. A full family tree version may be coming soon! This picture of Ben is from last summer during football season. He occasionally dyed his mohawk blue, but, alas I never captured it on film! Seth’s picture is from our most recent trip to the Outer Banks (recently pummeled by hurricane). And here’s Phoebe at her Wedding Rehearsal Dinner in June. The picture of me was taken last weekend after our attempt to Nightclub in Napa. We ended up going to Bouchon for coffee and dessert after three un-happening bar hops. Bouchon is related to the world-renowned French Laundry of Chef Thomas Keller (Known in these parts as Tommy K), where the girls and I will be dining on a 12 course meal in early December! HOTNESS.

Certified Sanitor

Maturity does not exclude playfulness

This week has been quite crazy! We had our final exam for Baking 1 today, and have our first lab practical tomorrow. Eeeks! 🙂 I’m sure it’ll go fine! Also learned that we all passed the serv-safe course! Whoohoo! I got a 99, the second-highest grade in the class, which isn’t really saying much because everyone got above an 89 anyways, but I thought that was sort of exciting! I’ll be glad when tomorrow is over…test, work, commute to doctor’s appt…. The B&P girls are going to Ana’s Cantina tomorrow night for karaoke, though! Ding! I’m sure that will be extremely fun, as we will partake of many refreshing libations.

*Interesting tidbit*
Much to the North American caviar conoisseur’s dismay, the FDA prohibits our caviar growers from treating those little eggs with Borax (which is a naturally occuring substance, but is potentially toxic in certain situations). Borax softens the caviar and gives it a creamier texture. In the U.S. we use sea salt instead.

Busy week

grapes.jpgWell, you’ll all be happy to know that I’ve secured a job with the Special Events department of the Greystone restaurant. Woo hoo! I’m an on-call prep cook basically, so when there are special events, which is just about all the time, they’ll call and see if I can come in and work, and then I go work! Ding! The only problem is that you never know when you’re going to be working, and the hours vary a lot. But, it’s a start anyways. And I heard from a little bird that there may be open opportunities to work as a Banquet server at Roux! Thanks to some impromptu networking I did after class the other day, I got the scoop on this little dealie-o. Will know for sure tomorrow, but I would rather work there because it’s more of a regular job, I’ll get more experience in the real restaurant setting, it pays about 3 dollars an hour more, there are more hours and it’s about a 1.5 minute walk from my house! Ding! We’ll see if they actually are hiring…

This week has been quite exhausting I must say! Three finals, a four page paper and a quiz in five days: yowzahs! It’s a great pace, but I don’t think I’ve quite adjusted to this whole getting-up-at-five-in-the-morning thing yet.

Jen and I hiked at Robert Louis Stevenson state park yesterday. We were supposed to do the ten miles up Mt. St. Helena, but we took the wrong path (and got lost for an hour on the way there…), so ended up at Table Rock trail instead. It was actually perfect! We met some very interesting people, who we’re hoping to run into again, and still got in a four mile hike. So it was all good.

The harvest has officially started! Rutherford, the town about 10 miles away, smells like wine! This picture of grapes I took last week by the library. They’re sooo delicious! I’m planning on making a new sourdough starter with these grapes tomorrow.

Understanding the Sourdough

I just wrote a whole wonderful huge long entry with pictures and everything and the FREAKING library computer logged me out and now, it’s gone. all gone. I absolutely cannot stand this internet situation a day longer. tomorrow I am going to search until i find a solution. I will not stop at anything. ARG. SOO ANNOYING!

france.bmpSo, anyways, a FAMOUS chef–Daniel Boulud— came to school today! This was my first encounter with a really FAMOUS chef and was quite exciting. We had a book discussion in the Eco Lounge and I had the opportunity to speak with him personally for a few minutes afterward while he was signing my book. Pretty exciting stuff! I’m not convinced that he’s got any backbone supporting his notoriety, but after I finish reading his book this weekend I’ll let you know what I think. It really wouldn’t be a complete review unless I ate at his restaurants, so maybe I’ll have to take a trip to NYC and then give you a full review. Anyone want to come with?

I’ve decided once and for all that it is Imperative for me to learn French and improve my Spanish speaking skills immediately. Especially since I’m going to be heading to Europe (to study chocolate) as soon as it makes financial sense (within the next 3 years or so). I think I’ll start in Belgium then head to France, Switzerland, Germany, and Spain. After that I’ll be off to South America–maybe hit up Costa Rica and hang out with Uncle Brian for a while.

OH MY GOSH! You will not believe what we did in Baking Science today!! Go ahead, guess! We started our very own sourdough starters!! HOW EXCITING THIS IS!!! Did you know that you can start your very own sourdough starter using only flour, water, and some organic produce! HOT! Think of the endless variations!! Besides there being hundreds of fruits and vegetables out there just thriving with yeast cells, you can do any combination of these fruits with any combination of flours (and there are thousands of flours!!!). And, since starters are living things–you have to feed them and take very good care of them every day–it’s also a cheap and rewarding pet! Especially for those of us living in places that don’t allow pets or those of us who don’t want to be tied down with real-life responsabilities (you can dry your sourdough before you go out of town and then reactivate it upon your return!). Ding! I’m going to start (at leat) one at home too, so I’ll let you know how it goes. Well, I’m about to get kicked off again, so I’ll say adieu for now. Hope y’all have a great weekend!

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