Archive | June, 2011

Day 2

30 Jun

There are 10 students in my class, but only 7 hats showing in this pic.

Today’s class was more nuts and bolts. The first half we learned about safeserv regulations and how not to poison people. We also learned some of the realities of food costing and waste, and that each chef who runs her own business will have some tough decisions to make as to whether certain foods should be saved or thrown. The question isn’t “to poison or not to poison”, as none of us wants to poison our customers. Rather, the question is does your staff have the same level of understanding of safety regulations, and cleanliness and respect for the food, kitchen and clients, as you? Hoping that the answer is “yes” is not enough. The Executive Chef or Sous Chef has a tough job in finding the balance between instilling fear in the staff over these issues and cultivating an environment in which employees feel free to say when there is an issue with improper food storage or handling, or that an employee is vomiting or has the runs and therefore by CA law should not even be on the premises. On that note…

On the menu tomorrow is: 1) Nicoise-style ratatouille, and 2) Roasted beet and goat cheese timbale with apple vinaigrette.

A chef is born!

29 Jun

Thanks to my new friend, Anne, I have a few photos of taillage techniques. For those who don’t know French, taillage is the practice of cutting vegetables into uniform sizes and shapes. We learned how to ciseler, emincer, and make macedoine and brunoise cuts from vegetables. No student cut themselves, although Chef Tomm ( predicted that 3 of us would cut ourselves by the end of the day.

We did actually “cook” some vegetables using 2 techniques – l’anglaise and l’etuvee. The latter uses a parchment paper “lid” with a steam hole in it to cover the vegetables in a pan with a little water, butter and salt. The purpose of the lid is to slow the rate of evaporation and the theory is that the vegetables will cook at the same speed of evaporation, and when the water is gone your vegetables are perfectly done. Let’s just say I ended up dumping off some of my water, as I put too much in the pan to begin with for 6 pearl onions. And, Chef Tomm thought my food was undersalted, which I’m predicting to be an issue throughout the course. All in all it was a fun day and I learned a lot of French.

Thanks, Carnet, for posting the photo, below, and for the encouragement! And, thank you to all of my wonderful friends for commenting and making me laugh.  You guys are a riot.


Ok.. Rachel is going to be a bit pissed, but I couldn’t help putting up a quick post during her first day at FCI.  It is 11 a.m. PDT and she’s about 3.5 hours into her first class.  I am so excited for her to finally be realizing a personal dream to test her hands at this cooking thing.  I know that I will benefit forever from this adventure she is on, but even cooler is that she is finally getting to take not a slight turn in life, but a radical lane change.  Go girl!  I’m your biggest supporter and can’t wait to follow your new creative path.   Always have fun and laugh at yourself when you cook something gross (just don’t feed it to me!).  I love you more than you can ever know.

Rachel's FCI outfit. Sexy!

The start of a grande adventure!

26 Jun

Hello family and friends!  This is my first foray into food blogging.  I hope you’ll enjoy reading about my cooking experiences over the next 6 months at The French Culinary Institute.  Then, who knows what will happen.  Hopefully, one day you’ll visit my restaurant in Hawaii, where I’ll be wearing a salty apron.