Wait, really?! This is the last post I’ll be writing from the south of France… And we’re truly feeling the end nearing – concentration is diminishing and projects are being finished.
Last week, we made more chocolate bonbons and also several types of caramel. Mostly, it was fun figuring out the different possible temperatures and flavors.
We finished up fish week with eel, a 5-minute crowd-pleaser, and an assortment of three amuse bouches. The eel was prepared in a flavorful red wine sauce with red onions. The “crowd-pleaser” was a fun way to prepare fish – with scales! We simply basted the fish filets with hot oil until cooked. We placed the fish on rice noodles, cooked in seconds. Finally, the amuse bouches were sea urchin, – a revisit of a dish we made in week 1 – baked oyster, and fresh scallop with hazelnuts. I felt so fancy!
This week is mainly about the buffet that we have to prepare for this evening. In pastry, my group is creating a revisited nougat, including a praliné cream, honey meringue, and macarons. I look forward to finishing the assembly when I get to class! In cuisine, we prepared one last dish on Monday: lamb with artichokes and dates, as well as puffed potatoes and gnocchi. It was a fun and pretty easy dish overall. Yesterday, we each had to start preparing canapés for the buffet. I prepared more than 2 kilos of foie gras! Then I made slightly savory hazelnut macarons. While I prefer our normal classes, it was fun being able to collaborate and work on many things at once. I also think that this is a potentially more real situation.
On Saturday, my French adventure ends. While I’ll move on to new adventures, some people here will return for more classes in January, and others will go straight to their internship portion of the program. People found out about their internship placements a few weeks again. A few students will be working in Michelin star restaurants for 4 months and I have so much respect for the work they will be doing, now that I know how much labor goes into these amazing dishes. Other students will be in fancy hotel restaurants and pastry shops. At the moment, people are anxious to start their new daily routines, to find out whether they have to work 16 hours a day, whether their chefs will make them cry in week one, or whether it’ll take until week two. In the meantime, I look forward to taking my new skills home and trying them out in the calm environment of a home kitchen.