Monday, October 6, 2008


Saturday was an eventful day for me. We didn't have class on Monday due to the Tulsa trip, so we had our mid-term practical on Saturday morning. All I could think about on Friday was the practical: what I would make, how I would make it, what order I would get my mise en place in line, etc. I was so focused on being ready for the test that I totally neglected the fact that this was my Saturday to work! The practical went from 8am to about 1pm and as usual I showed up early. About 10 minutes after 8 I got a call on my cell. I recognized that the number was from work and immediately realized my error. Luckily, when I answered it was my buddy at work. I thought "well at least it's him and he'll be cool about it." I sheepishly explained the situation, told him how sorry I was to leave him flying solo on a Saturday, and said that I would be there as fast as humanly possible once the test was finished. There was no way I was going to leave my practical, school is a much higher priority for me. I called him back later to give him an update on what time I'd be done and to see how he was doing. He said it was totally dead and it was no big deal that I wasn't there, which I was thankful for. He also told me that he was sorry but he had to call the boss on me. Okay... I know it was totally my bad. I know I screwed up and left him hanging and it was completely on me. But call the boss?? If the tables were turned I wouldn't have even considered calling anyone. It would have sucked, sure, but I would have covered for him. Oh well. I can't really be upset about it because again, it was my bad. I just figured we were buddies and that he would've helped me out. Today (Monday) is supposed to be my comp day for Saturday but since the boss new I was 5 hours late I came in today to make up the time. He hasn't said anything about it yet so I don't know how much trouble I'm really in, if any. It's not like I really care. Even if they fired me I'd be more grateful than upset. But they wouldn't do that. At worst I'll probably get a written warning or something like that. I've never had issues before.

Oh well, on to what really matters: the practical. Here's what I made for my entree.

We had to make two courses, a salad course and an entree. I was originally assigned chicken for my protein and saute for my method but when I got to school the chef decided too many people had chicken and he wanted more variety so he switched me to beef and told me I could cook it however I wanted. For a split second I was thrown off because I had really prepared myself to saute chicken, but really there's nothing I enjoy more than grilling some steak. So I grabbed a NY strip, threw it in some herb oil to marinate and then got to work on the salad and prepping the rest of the entree. For the salad (sorry, forgot to take pics) I used spring mix greens, cantaloupe, crisp raw onion, and a Thai vinaigrette, which turned out pretty nice, I thought. I garnished it with some minced lemon zest, parsley, cilantro, and red pepper. For the entree I made a pumpkin coulis (basically a puree), fried potatoes, and wilted spinach. The garnish was just scallions and bell pepper for color. Here's what I thought could've been better - the pumpkin coulis had a touch too much salt; the potatoes could've been a little crisper; and I felt like I used too much shallot with the wilted spinach. Here's what the chef though:

ACE!! Yep: 100%. He gave me a 10 out of 10 on everything. It's kind of funny how critical you can be of yourself and your own handiwork but then turn around and get a critique like that from a professional. Obviously, it made me feel great and the whole work issue just didn't matter to me anymore. It was a nice way to finish off before the fall break. Now I have a week and a half of no school to relax, read, cook at home, or whatever. My wife will be happy since I'll be cooking for her and I also plan on finishing The Physiology of Taste and writing a report on it (chef said he'll give extra credit and it's a phenomenal book anyway).

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