Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's All a Big Blur!

Where has the last week and a half gone? It feels like my head is sticking out a car window, we're going 70 mph, but I'm not having any fun . . .

Okay, I'm having a tiny bit of fun, but this class is stressful!!! My sleeping/dreams are hugely affected by life's present situations. Yes, I have a lot of weird dreams that I usually remember... but when I am stressed out or worried, it gets into my dreams and I end up tossing and turning all night. On the weekends, I sleep deeply and don't wake up until morning. During the week, I feel like I wake up every hour. It is disgusting!!!

Being tired doesn't help with my schedule - class from 6:30am - 1:30pm, then work from 2-5, dinner (everything is scheduled here!), homework and studying... we have so much to do for this class! We are required to be super prepared, scheduled, make daily gameplans, meet with our partners and study every day for a potential pop "queeez" as our French chef says it. BAH!

When I step back and look at our products, they DO look amazing, interesting, contemporary, and cool! I am amazed! But in the heat of the moment, in the rush of the day, it just feels awful! My partner and I get along well enough; we get the job done and make minimal mistakes. I am totally comfortable making mousse cakes, working with gelatin, and working fast and cleanly.

Here's what I've been doing:

Modern Carrot Cake petit gateau:
Layers of cream cheese mousse, pear gelee and carrot cake. Modern? Yes. Weird? Yes.
Lemon Blueberry Basil petit gateu, made with a buche mold.
Layers of: basil glaze, lemon mousse, basil creméux, blueberry compote, chiffon cake, raspberry jam and 1-2-3 cookie dough as a base.
The "Take 5" entremet:

Layers of caramel glaze, peanut butter mousse, chocolate flourless cake, caramel creméux, pretzel crunch, and chocolate flourless cake!

Every day we follow a similar pattern for going about making these. All the bases (cakes, cookie doughs) were made on Day 1 by various teams. If our entremet has a cookie base, we have to roll it out, cut it and bake it ourselves. If the base is a cake, we roll it to make it a little thinner, apply some pate a glace (to make the cake stick to the cake board), and cut it to the correct size.

All the desserts have two types of mousse, or a mousse and a creméux ("creamy" in French). The insert (part in the middle) has to be frozen rock solid before the outer mousse can be made. Since we're using gelatin, it is imperative that once the mousse is made, whatever it is going into is ready. We have a lot of assembling obstacles to overcome, and a lot of components to gather and have ready.

In addition to that, we have to work CLEAN! A lot of times, we hide the dirty bowls under our station in the cubby and clean them once we get a chance. The table gets wiped down a lot, and our handtools sit in a bain marie of hot water. Good skillz for sure, but tedious sometimes!

Tomorrow is going to be interesting... Chef W is calling it a "Throwdown" - basically, it's a surprise. Tomorrow when we get to class, we'll find out what it is we're making. At this point, I'm not sure how it's going to go. I think he's giving us the mold to use, and flavors. Then we'll have 45 minutes to sit down with our partners, make up recipes for what he's given us and scale things accordingly. I've never had to make up a recipe from scratch on the spot, but we have all the ratios and percentages for mousses, so I think we'll be okay. It's not a race or a contest, rather it's a way to show that we have learned something in the class.

Just as we were getting used to the flow of the class...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

a year and some change later and this what I find when I google contemporary entremets for ideas in his class. It's nice to know I'm not the only one going through a head spin over the little french man.

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