Category: culinary school

Mia Menu: The Conclusion

After an intense week, my lunch menu has made its debut and finale at the Chefs House. It had changed several times since its original inception in Italy where it was much more grand and exciting. The menu I produced here was modest and simple and tasty. It was great to have my friends and family come to the restaurant and see what it is that I actually do. I was so busy I didn’t have a chance to take any photos, but I have a few from my photog friends and family.

Cabane au Sucre – A Slow Food Gastronomic Field Trip

The best class I have taken at my culinary school has been the Slow Food class. Our teacher is one of the leaders of the Toronto Slow Food convivium and has led us through some amazing taste workshops and has brought in many great chefs, farmers and business people.

So, what is slow food?

Slow Food is an organization that began in Piemonte, Italy by a man named Carlo Petrini. The basis of the slow food movement is that…Food must be GOOD (healthy and delicious)….Food must be CLEAN (produced sustainably)….and Food must be FAIR(produced and distributed in ways that respect social justice). These are the guiding principles. Very basic, but also very complex.

One of our field trips was to a farm outside of Guelph, Ontario owned by Jo Marie Powers. Her and her husband produce a small amount of maple syrup each year and she had us come up to help her make a batch. We gathered wood, emptied buckets and kept the fire burning under the molten hot syrup as it reduced down and down and down. We arrived and were greeted with an amazing breakfast of cakes and breads, coffee, tea and hot cider. It was amazing after a long bus-ride from the city. Getting away from the city, being outdoors and enjoying a new experience was just what we needed to break up the winter blahs.

After lunch, and before we got back on the bus, we were taught how to make tire d’érable, which is essentially maple candy poured on snow and eaten with a stick. A pure maple sugar lollipop. After the syrup is poured onto the snow, you take a stick and roll up the (now) hardened syrup onto your stick and lick lick lick away. Head-buzz to follow. It’s so addictive you must have two, or three. A guaranteed sugar high all the way back to Toronto. Yeehaw.

Intentions & Italy

Thankfully, I was more successful at finishing culinary school than I was at keeping a blog. Eight posts in two years. What’s that saying…the road to hell is paved with good intentions?

I finished my four semester culinary management program this past April. The scary Chef of semester two fame turned out to be a harsh but wonderful teacher. I made far too many aspic related concoctions to think about and graduated with the hopes of never making one again.
I am starting this blog again with the intention (cue highway to hell) to document my time in the post-graduate Italian culinary program I started a month ago. Myself and 28 classmates will be traveling to Italy for three month stages in restaurants, but only after completing our summer courses in all things Italian. Recipes, photos and melodrama are sure to ensue.

You want me to make what?

It’s been 4 months since I started my journey in culinary school. I thought I would blog about the successes and failures of culinary student life, but I haven’t. With a turbulent, but successful first semester under my belt, I felt ready to start the second. That is, until Monday, when I actually, you know…started my semester and realized things weren’t going to be as easy as last semester. Our new Culinary Skills Chef sharply warned us that things were about to get serious. He is not a man I want to mess with. He doesn’t seem to have a funny bone in his body, he appears terse and rude and unbendable. I am terrified. My first reaction, and that of my 7 friends in the class were to try to switch out of his section. My second reaction, upon realizing I was stuck in this mess, was that I had better get more serious. And hope for the best. The only glimmer of hope is that we only have him for 7 of our 14 weeks.

After his diatribe and admonishments of my improperly uniformed classmates, he started the demonstration. This week, we are making Woodland Mushroom Terrine with Aspic Jelly. Not only are we making aspic jelly but we are making an inlayed design within the aspic jelly on the plate. And not only that, but the 2 pieces of mushroom terrine will be coated in aspic jelly before placing them on the aspic covered plate. GOOD GOD. Could this be more revolting? I love a good terrine or pate, but I do not, do not, do not, ever, ever, ever want it to be served to me covered in aspic on a plate of aspic. The terrine we’re making is essentially a roux log covered in gelatin. Ick, ick, eww eww eww.

Tomorrow morning the gelatin extravaganza will begin, I’ll bring my camera…I don’t think it’s going to be pretty.

You know, I’d really like to see Battle Gelatin on Iron Chef America. I really would. I bet Paula Deen would kick any Iron Chef’s ass in that battle. I can see her really liking gelatin, perhaps gelatin coated chocolate-margarine filled truffles – something ghastly like that.