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.