Stage Lesson #2 – Cooking tips, factoids, fancy french terms

You could say I took a hiatus from the last post, perhaps from the disappointment of not being able to stage much much longer, short lived and due to some HR, “don’t want no liability for someone who doesn’t get paid to work there” policy, but I do have few stage lessons up my sleeves,  few tricks that I’m still using and constantly thinking about, so – thank you, Chef and know that I’ll be back soon;)

Factoids/cooking tips/fancy terms:

- A perfect sausage ratio is 60/40; that is 60% meat, 40% fat.  That also happens to be the flesh to fat ratio on a whole pig.  Pretty neat, huh?

- Vegetable blanching: green vegetables are always greener after blanching (as long as it’s not overdone).  And I have to correct the chef here, who said, “the oxygen inside the vegetable goes to the surface making it more green”.  What actually happens is (according to some research I did, thanks Hank from Cuisinology), the green chlorophyll of the veggie is surrounded by microscopic air pockets (i’m picturing bubble wrap used for shipping things) and when it’s heated, the pockets basically “pop” revealing the…tada!  greener broccoli, green beans etc.  Of course, too much and you go completely to the other side of nasty looking mushy vegetables.

- Roasting beets – add water.  Beets come out super juicy and easy to peel when you fill 1/3 of a roasting pan with water along with rosemary, drizzled olive oil, salt and cover with aluminum foil.  Luscious!

There are a lot of fancy words that kitchen use that I had to learn:

1) garde manger - the no-cook cold station chef (and probably the lowest of the totem pole in the kitchen making salads and cold appetizers) has literal French translation of “to guard/watch food” loosely translating to a cool well-ventilated pantry area or refrigerator.  Basically, a chef that doesn’t really cook with heat.  Almost everyone starts here and pays their dues.

2) amuse bouche – my fav, literal translation, to amuse/tease the mouth.  A (usually) complimentary little taste of something at chef’s selection brought to your table.  A “here’s a little something from the chef”…changes almost every day.

3) quenelle – refers to an oval football shape, usually serving ice cream, mousse etc at a restaurant.  Apparently takes a lot of practice with one hand quenelle-ing being the most impressive.  The pastry chef Amy said, “someone decided that the shape was a lot more palatable than, say, a round ice cream scoop” so everyone does it now.  I’m indifferent.  I guess it’s more special as not everyone can “quenelle”.

4) can you “brunois” this onion?  um…what?  ”bru-nuah”?  yes – that would be one of the basic knife skills where the thing is first julienned, turned a quarter and then diced so that each cube is 3mm or less (that would be 1/8 of an inch), one of the smallest cuts creating a “pleasant presentation”.  For my duties, it was used to make pate and sausage.  I ended up making the smallest cuts as possible but it was not a cube 3mm x 3mm.

I understand fancy food but outside of all that – know that food.  should.  taste.  good.

About chefkelly

Leveraging a lifelong passion for food and combining a unique cultural mesh of korean cuisine, robust flavors of Texas BBQ and California cuisine, Chef Kelly brings her own signature style to delectable perfect bites exploring complex and often surprising interplay of flavors, textures and colors. She has honed and shared her craft through her experiences from five star restaurant kitchens to private cooking instruction to her self-written food blog at chefkelly.com all made with 2 tablespoons of love; love for food, love for life.
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One Response to Stage Lesson #2 – Cooking tips, factoids, fancy french terms

  1. Me says:

    Hey Chef Kelly – where have you been?? It’s been TWO MONTHS since your last blog posting!

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