Feb 3, 2009

top chef.

so i've now lost count of the number of times people have asked me when i'm going to be on top chef. i appreciate your enthusiasm and belief in my skills, but it's probably not going to happen.

or is it?

last week we did a little quick fire style challenge with our bass filets - chef pierre told us to save a section of one of our stiped bass filets for something he would explain later. so we iced it and went on to our flatfish and another demo and some cleaning up - and forgot about the filets.

then, out of nowhere he tells us to cook them. quickly. with a sauce and a garnish GO! all hell broke loose as people were searching the cooler, the spice rack, the freezers for ANYTHING that would make their dish remarkable. as my classmates were rushing around grabbing milk, capers, spring onion, rice, mushrooms, and tomato, i blanked. i had no idea where to start with my fish. i am a planner, i like to evaluate and take my time. i am not a quick thinker, but there i was, with time clicking away and people already starting to plate. so i grabbed a shallot, butter, a lemon. some parsley. found the white wine. discovered some flour. i did a simple dredge, pan fried the fish, and started on a lemon butter wine sauce.

as everyone was congregating at the tasting table, i sampled my sauce and to my horror discovered that it was terrible. awful. i added more butter and some pepper and let it simmer vigorously as i started to panic. the wine needed to cook off - it was way too pungent. chef pierre was beginning to his tasting and commenting going around the table to each person's plate and i was still cooking my sauce. at the last possible minute i poured the sauce, dropped the fish on top, garnished with some lemon slices and pushed my way towards the table to put my plate down, which drew all eyes my way. chef reached out with his spoon to taste it as i hid behind a classmate and cringed. "this one is simple. but good." really? he went on, praised some, criticized some, and then we were left to taste for ourselves. i went to mine first - and it wasn't half bad.

simple. but good.


Hillary said...

um, AND you are chili champ 2009!

Cinnamon said...

I just want to be an Iron Chef judge. Let other stress and run around and get shocked and cut themselves. I just want to taste and savor. yum

Sara said...

Now THAT is the kind of story I would expect to come out of culinary school!

I would have panicked too. From one planner to another, nice job.