Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back In NOLA (New Orleans, LA)

Hello again! It has really been a while. I Have to say the last two years have been quite interesting. I was recently the pastry chef at St. Ives Country Club. It was fun, a lot of work, but learned A LOT! About a month and a half ago I decided I needed a huge life change. Well, as luck would have it. I ended back in New Orleans and back at Sucre. For those who Have not fallowed me for long or are just joining me. Sucre is a confectionary. (You can look them up at This is the place I started my pastry experience. I enjoyed it so much I wanted come back. And I couldn't be happier with my choice. So, over the past two years I graduated Gwinnett Tech with an Associates in Culinary Arts. Worked at St. Ives in the pantry/ dessert station in there dinning room. Then I went to being a pastry cook (the only one) for Chateau √Član. It was a good experience, but short lived. I went back to St. Ives to be the pastry chef. ( got offered a better deal and was closer to home). Around February of 2014 I decided to take on a pastry chef part time job working for Sweet Auburn BBQ. I can honestly say working two jobs in Atlanta that are far apart and about an hour away is a lot. I ended having to give up the part time job. I wanted to live. Then several months later realized I needed a life change. Texted a friend about any jobs she knew of and bam. I got a new job. :-) I am currently doing gelato. Yummy and cold. Getting back in the grove of it all again, but all will work out. I will post some pictures of some of the things I have done over the last two years for y'all soon. Thank you for fallowing and reading about the experience in the baking and pastry world.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hi! I know it has been a while. Been working like crazy. I graduated Gwinnett Tech college in culinary art in December of 2012. I did my culinary internship at st. Ives country club working the pantry station in the dinning room.Now I am the pastry chef at st. Ives :-) YAY! Just yo let y'all know I am now on twitter too. @AntoineMonique I'll fill y'all in later tonight. Thank you for reading my blog.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A quick up date

Sorry, it has been so long since my last post. I started working/ externship at St. Ives Country Club doing pantry (salad and dessert). I finished my spring semester well. In the summer I took contemp. and nutrition, and I finished well too. It was a busy and crazy summer going to school with a ton of homework and work. But I made it through in one piece. :) My externship is the last thing I am doing and then I graduate in December. YAY!!! I will fill in more details soon. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Friday, January 27, 2012

First Full Week of the Semester

On Monday I had my first class in Garde Manger (the art of preserving for later). Of course, typical of all first days of class, they go over the syllabus and what is going to be done during the semester. It looks like it is going to be a fun class. Plenty of homework, but it would not be college with out it. We did get to go into the kitchen today. We started on the topic of preservation and curing. Not everybody got to do each of the techniques individually. Each group perform a technique and not every group did the same thing. (Nothing new there.) But my group did dill pickles, bread-n-butter pickles, pickled beans, and cured salmon/grave lox. The other groups did pickled okra, kimchi, pickled ginger, sauerkraut, corned beef, pastrami, and bacon. I haven't tasted anything that we have made yet. But last semester, I know we used some of the products the other class made in garde manger and it was pretty good.

On Wednesday, we had our first production for Fundamentals of Restaurant Operations. the first half of the semester, I'll work back of house (cooking) and the second half of the semester, I'll work the front of house (serving). The week before I was assigned to work with one other partner on soup and salad. So, he did the salad and I made the soup. The soup just happened to be Creole Gumbo. (Now I love a good gumbo.) Now the fun part begins. That's were I learn a lot from my mistakes. Our weekly homework for this class is to create a menu plan containing a Mise en Place list (list of everything needed - food & equipment), order sheet, equipment list, time line, and templates (how we would plate the dish). So, as I go through the recipes at home I immediately started to have some questions and concerns. I have eaten plenty of gumbo in my life, watched my dad make it, and I have made it once. The way the Chef Instructor had this recipe laid out did not look right to me. But it is what I was given. So, I go to class and I start scaling and prepping out my ingredients. While working, I asked the Chef how he wanted me to do the chicken, cut the sausage and the shrimp, because the instructions did not tell me what to do. And I don't know what he envisions for this recipe. When I scaled out half a can of tomato paste I started to question myself, "Um... this is a lot of tomato paste for that little amount of chicken stock. This can't be right." (Here is where the mistake comes in.) I didn't speak up right then, and I just went with it. As I started to make the gumbo and I add the paste, then I asked the Chef to come over and take a look because I don't think this is right. He asked, "Did you use tomato paste?" Of course my answer was yes. And of course the recipe didn't specifically say how much tomato paste, it just said 1 can of tomato. (So I figure the Chef knows what size cans of tomato paste we have which is only one size, which is huge, like 110oz) But, the Chef helped me fix my mistake. It did bug me at the end when the soup was finished, because it didn't taste like any gumbo I have ever eaten. But the definition of gumbo, "everything in one pot", meaning what every you have, put it in a pot. And Creole does refer to tomato base. In the end all the customers loved the gumbo. I even got ask to come to the front of the house by the Chef to talk with one of the customers who wanted to meet the person who made the soup. They happened to be from Louisiana and they loved the gumbo. I was embarrassed, because I didn't think it was authentic as I'm used to eating in New Orleans. Even my class mates thought it was good. A happy mistake in the end.
Lessons Learned: If you think something is wrong and question it, it most likely is. So, ask first or go with you gut feeling. There is no such thing as a stupid question. (I had a valid question that needed to be asked.) Next time, I'll write down all my questions ahead of time. That way I can ask them all at once.

On Thursday, in baking class, we started off with quick bread and used three methods of making them. Creaming, biscuit, and muffin methods. It was not truly what I was expecting, as how the class would run, but it was better than the cooking class was taught last semester. Each group got one recipe that used one of the three methods we were being taught. Each group put the recipe together one at a time so that the teacher could talk about it and the rest of the class got to see it be done. I still liked how Le Cordon Bleu did it better. They demonstrated each method in the beginning of class and then the students went to their station and made what the teacher demonstration. At least the Chef is teaching how it is done for the whole class. We made biscuits, cranberry orange scones, blueberry muffins, chocolate banana cake (I made this.), and cornbread with bacon and cheese.

I can't wait to learn more next week!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

End of 1st semster

Well, I made it through the first semester with all A's in my culinary classes. I made an A and a B in my two hospitality classes.

In all I wasn't too impressed with the program so far at Gwinnett Tech. Of course it was not what I was expecting, and in part I did not ask all the right questions in the beginning. Live and learn is the lesson there. ServSafe and Foundations of Culinary should have been combined into one class or into half-semester classes. It was a waste of time for a 7 hour and a 5 hour class separated when in each class we got out early and the other one you meet every other week. Ridiculous!

Sorry, about the lack of writing last semester. But I would have written much of the same thing on every new topic that I have all ready presented. The following topics were covered after week 6 (this is what was made for lunch on that day):

Week 7 - Pork, Lamb, and Veal
The meat made : Pork Ribs, Blanquette of Lamb, Veal Cordon Bleu (Yum!), Veal Scallopini (came out good), and Lamb Chops.
The sides : Grits & Cheddar Souffle (Yum!), Lyonnaise Potatoes, Brown rice, Brussel Sprouts, Fresh green salad with Dijon Vinaigrette, and Escalope de Porc Normandie

Week 8 - Fish and Shellfish
The seafood prepared : Deep Fried Catfish (The bomb!), Lobster Thermidor ( I actually liked this even though I am not a fan of lobster), Pauplettes of Sole, Steamed Salmon, Steamed Mussels, Red Snapper Pappillote, Oysters Rockefeller, Sole Bonne Femme, Terriyaki Salmon, Seared Scallops

Week 9 - Vegetables : Roasted Butternut Squash, Parsnip Puree (First time having parsnip. Really liked it.), Stirfry Asparagus, Beer Battered Onion Rings (Yum!), Ratatouille, Brussel Sprouts, Tempura Vegetables, Braised Red Cabbage, and Stuffed Artichoke

Week 10 - Fruit : Candied Citrus Rind (Delish!), Apple Fritters (Yummy!), Cranberry Relish, Poached Pears, Mango Chutney (wonderful), Figs with a Honey Mousse, Braised Rhubarb, Warm Baked Nectarines, Baked Apples (wonderful as well), and Dried Fruit Compote

Week 11 - Potatoes, Pasta, and Grains : Bulgur Pilaf, Deep Fried Potatoes (Who doesn't love French fries), Risotto Milonese, Potato Gnocchi, Hoppin' John (First time I have ever liked black eyed peas), Creamy Polenta with wild Mushrooms, Quinoa, Potato Pancakes, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Goat Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Red Peppers and baby spinach (was really good), and Fried Rice

Week 12 - Healthy Cooking : Falafel (I actually really liked), Veggie Wrap, Saffron Vegetable Risotto, Pan-Seared Tofu Provencal (The tofu was not so bad), and a salad with Garlic Yogurt Dressing

Week 13 - Eggs : Egg salad with Smoked Salmon Sandwich (absolutely loved), Eggs Benedict (The Best my Hollandaise sauce has come out so far), Shrimp and Avocado Omelet,and Garden Frittata

Week 14 - American Regional Day : Each group had there own region assigned to them. My group was assigned Cajun/Creole which works for me being that my family is from down there. My group made Crawfish Etoufee and a White Chocolate Bread pudding. The Bread pudding was absolutely wonderful. The other groups had the regions of Carribean, Southwest, New England, and West Coast.

Week 15 - Practical : For the day of the Practical we had to individually produce 8 knife cuts and a conquesa of tomato, minced garlic, sheffanod of basil, and minced parsley. Everyone also had to break down a chicken into 8 parts. We were also put into new groups. Fun! We were given a "mystery basket". Not so mysterious, because we are on a budget now. Because everyone fabricated a chicken that was the groups meat along with 12 shrimp. We where given potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, and some other basic cooking odds and ends. We had to use 6 cooking methods and four knife cuts, and produce one platter and a single plate (for the teacher). My group did really well. We served roasted potatoes, sauteed vegetables (yellow squash, zucchini, and carrots), pesto marinated grilled shrimp, and pan-seared chicken thigh. It was really good.

Week 16 - Deep Clean the kitchen and practical : I have to admit that I totally thought the teacher was nuts when he said we are going to clean first then take the final. I wasn't to happy with that idea. I mean think about it. We are all awake and ready to take the test when we first walk in. If we clean first we get tired. mmmm...... It didn't matter too much, I did well on the final. So I'm all good.

In ServSafe, I passed the test with a 95, which was two points higher than when I took the ServSafe test at Le Cordon Bleu. Yay!

I'm still disappointed in the fact that every class was based on putting out a lunch instead of working on the basics. They told us that if we had not made over a "B" on our knife cuts test to drop out or not sign up for Fundamentals of Restaurant Operations. Ummm.... if you have to say that, then why didn't you prepare the students better. (Yes, everybody should have been practicing outside of school.)

Next semester I am signed up for 3 classes: Fundamentals of Restaurant Operations, Baking Principles, and Gard Manger. I couldn't get out of taking the Baking Principles class eventhough I have a Baking and Pattiserie certificate from Le Cordon Bleu. It's supposedly due to the accreditation agency that Gwinnett Tech uses being different than the agency that Le Cordon Bleu uses. The real issue is money, they just want more of my money. If any one figures out how schools work let me know. In Fundamentals of Restaurant Operations, for the first half of the semester I will be in back of house (cooking) and the last half of the semester, I will be in front of house, serving. Garde Manger means preparation of cold foods (i.e. salads, pates, and presentation of the food. Garde Manger also tries to use up scraps and make good use of them to make money with every part of what you purchase for the restaurant. So if you by a chicken or fish, try to use as much of it as possible.