Friday, June 25, 2010

Cooking Bootcamp Day 1

Check out his famous glare.

Another apology for blogging tardiness.  What is my excuse this time? Helen and I were at a cooking boot camp from Monday to Friday.  For a thousand dollars per person, Dirty Apron offers a 5 day 9-5pm all inclusive cooking boot camp with Chef (more like Sergeant) Walter Messiah.

What you watched Chef Academy?  Well, it's not that bad, but Walter does not hold back from tearing student into pieces.  I love the guy though.  He was immensely skilled, experienced, and hilarious (when you are on his good side).  I found myself craving for his approval.  It was indeed a boot camp.  We cooked long and hard.

Day One was all about foundation.   We started off with making a basic fish stock: white fish bones, celery, carrots, shallots.  He meticulously explained the hows and whys with his thick French accent.  He would frequently quiz us to see if we are paying attention and comically humiliate us when we get it wrong.

After the fish broth is made, we then jumped into Mediterranean Steam Mussels with Saffron Broth and Spanish Chorizo.  The plating may seem rather lacking here, but we were instructed to not plate.  Mussels are only good when it is piping hot.

It was back to cooking, after we wolfed down the mussels.  The next course was Chicken with Roquefort Sauce.  We learned to de-bone an entire chicken.  I love the way he plated the potato and I especially love the way he cooked the chicken: panfry on the skin and then bake in oven.  This was going to revolutionize the way I prepare chicken at home. 

For dessert, Roasted Cinnamon Apple Strawberry Grand Marnier Jus.

It ain't French without butter, cream, sugar, lard, and more butter.   This entire meal had more butter, cream, sugar, lard than I have consumed in the entire year.  How come they are not fat? Chef Walter explained that the French eats croissants and cigarets in the morning, a 5 course lunch with a bottle of wine before returning to work (driving), then maybe some salad and more alcohol for dinner.

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