Saturday, September 18, 2010

Culinary School

I am in my third week of culinary school and can scarcely wipe the smile off my face. It's awesome. I am taking three classes: Intro to Hospitality (how to run a restaurant), Sanitation and Safety (how to not make someone sick or kill them with your food) and Intro to Cooking (how do use a knife, convert recipes and cook).

I wish I would have done this years ago. I am a duck to water.

Top ten things I have learned in culinary school:

1. How to hold and handle a knife.

2. Cover the pan when you are boiling water and it traps the heat energy in the pan and boils the water faster.

3. Beef stock is made by boiling beefs bones for 8 hours with mirepoix.

4. Mirepoix is celery, carrots and onions cut in a large dice and added to most soup and stew recipes.

5. There are about 35 food borne diseases that can kill you or make you really sick. Use Clorox Clean-up to wipe down your kitchen. Seriously. Go wipe down your kitchen right now to kill all those germs. Throw away your kitchen sponge.

6. The internal food temp of 165 (for about 15 seconds) kills bacteria in your food. Especially eggs.

7. If a cow uses the muscle to walk or move, it will be tough and you have to cook it on low heat (225 degrees) for a long time with a little water and covered to make it edible. You only grill steaks that have enough fat in them to keep the meat juicy and tender.

8. If you get sick at a restaurant, it usually is because a restaurant worker DID NOT wash their hands after going to the restroom and got feces in your food. Ugh!

9. Eating raw oysters is a bad idea. The diseases you get from doing that are really bad and can cause you to forget your name (seriously) and go into a coma.

10. Chef's aren't necessarily good cooks (although it really helps if they are)...they run a team of people that are good cooks and have a kitchen staff that work their butts off to make great food and they depend on incredible waiters to make the customers feel great. But the back bone of the entire restaurant rests on the shoulders of the pot washer and the ones that do the dishes. Without them, nothing could get done.

11. Most likely, you can't go to the store and buy the steaks they serve at Three Forks, Ruth's Chris, or Bob's Steak and Chophouse. Those are Prime and cost a lot of money. Buy Top Choice (if you can find it) and only cook your steak to medium (never well done). Salt meat at the end of cooking or it will draw out all the moisture in the meat and make it dry.

Bon Appetite! More tips later.