Aug 29, 2007

Last Day at The FCI : The Final Exam

Today was the last day of my curriculum at The FCI. The final exam consisted in preparing 2 dishes, Poissonnier and Pâtissier or Garde Manger and Saucier, four plates being tasted and criticized by a jury of three persons from the World of Food in New York or around... One middle age lady is a food writer (nice fancy blue glasses !) , one guy working for a big hotel chain and the second as a sous-chef in a restaurant. Early morning, every student had to pick up one paper indicating which dishes he would have to prepare, amongst the menu we had in Level 6 (see previous post...). I think I picked up the worst combination, at least considering the preparation time and the multi-tasking required :

Crevettes à l'ail au gingembre et persil chinois
Garlic shrimp with ginger and cilantro

Suprême de canard sauté et cuisse braisée aux pêches
Sautéed duck breast and braised duck leg with peaches

Both recipes call for a stock base for the sauce which means simmering and reduction to give it full elaborated flavour (the food writer lady called it Finesse...). So time consuming!. The entrée also requires two different garnishes : a rice cake cooked in a rissotto way then refrigerate for two hours and then fried and a white wine in sugar, corianger, peppercorn and lemon rinds poached peach... Both garnishes need different steps of preparation. So, in order to meet the deadline of serving, you add to jump from one recipe to another and so on.
So the result was more than correct (nice plating, right on time, flavorful, perfect cooking of shrimps and duck...) but there were a couple of things that upset me...

The Shrimp : my sauce was finaly too "limy" (lime is in the recipe). As the sauce went too spicy (probably overused of Guandilla chile), I counterbalanced it with lime... As a tip, if a sauce or flavor gets too salty or spicy, use lemon to balance it.

The Duck : the skin of the suprême (breast piece) was a little bit too dark (but very crispy though!). The rice cake should have been more creamy. That came from bad time management : meanwhile I was preparing the duck legs braising, my rissotto was running out of chicken stock and lack of attention from myself (Risotto preparation requires a great deal of care as you have to keep stiring all way long ! (TIP)).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow..It must tough to go thru everything...

Cooking seems sometimes so complicated....