Culinary school just got real, y’all. Why? Because I passed Level 4 and have officially moved downstairs to work the line in L’Ecole, the French Restaurant open to the public run by students from The International Culinary Center. Here’s how it works – the restaurant kitchen brigade is divided up into 5 stations: entremetier, garde manger, poissonnier, saucier, and finally patissier. Those entail the food prep, appetizer and butchery station, the soup and salad station, the fish station, the meat station, and pastry cook, respectively.
I started in the kitchen on entremetier with a chef instructor I had in Level 1. It was wonderful to see a friendly and familiar face of a chef I really enjoy and respect running my station in the kitchen for the first couple of days I’m getting my feet wet. My day on entremetier begins prepping the dishes I’m responsible for during service, and breaking down proteins for the poissonnier and saucier. I’ve taken down everything from hangar steak, branzino and char and cleaned about 500 mussels for one of the dishes I’m personally responsible for as well. I really enjoy butchery – once you get the hang of it and have an understanding of the cuts of meat you’re dealing with the practice becomes almost meditative through repetition.
Another fun addition to the prep station is the vegetable curry entree and a delicious, classic mussel dish. I’ve been making naan bread for the vegetable entree everyday in the morning before service to give the dough ample time to rise. I allow it to double in size, then break it into smaller pieces, allow it to rise further.
I then take each ball of dough and roll them out gently and convect bake them at 425 for about 5 minutes. They’re a nice addition to dip into the yummy curry sauce. I think they’re quite lovely, even when uncooked. Til next time, folks…