Module 3 Practical

Monday, March 8, 2010

OOh Practical Exam day....

I wasn't sure if I was going to write about today, but this is the "diary" of a culinary student, so it's only fair that I not only write about my successes, but also about my struggles and failures (no, I did not fail my exam!).

Today I let my nerves get the best of me. I tried to convince myself I wasn't nervous, but the knots in my stomach told me I was. I drew my number and was satisfied to be the 9th student to present (right in the middle!). However, I had 40 minutes before I could go into the kitchen... 40 minutes to stress and think the worst..

I entered the kitchen at exactly 2:00 and immediately started prepping-- I cleaned & trimmed spinach, minced shallots, garlic, and parsley, grated parmesan, zested lemons, toasted pine nuts, and sliced potatoes thin on the mandoline. After fabricating my supreme of chicken I was ready to start cooking.

Everything was going smoothly until I started making the "Pommes Anna" with parm. When I went to flip the potato, it fell apart. I panicked but continued cooking my potato mess and let it rest on a rack. Not only did my potato fall apart, but while it was resting it lost its crispness. I tried to revive it by putting it in the oven (along with my chicken because the skin wasn't crisp anymore). All this did was give the potatoes a burnt taste and dry out my chicken a little bit.

I was beyond flustered at this point and had only a few minutes until my presentation time. I quickly started to plate and cut a wedge out of the potato to try and make it look presentable. As I placed my finished plate in front of Chef, I realized I completely forgot to add salt to my spinach! I added the toasted pine nuts and lemon zest, but forgot SALT! HOW?!?!?!!?! Naturally, she noticed.. along with the other mistakes on my plate.

I honestly felt like running out of the kitchen crying because I was so disappointed in myself. Instead, I pulled it together and started cleaning up my station. I was really bummed out the rest of class, thinking about how I should have done things differently.

We got our grades back at the end of class and I didn't do awful. I think I deserved a worse grade than I got.. I am really hard on myself.

I really learned a lot from this experience. I can't let one little thing throw me off. I have to keep my confidence despite small mishaps. I'm going to keep looking up and staying positive throughout the rest of my culinary experience. Tomorrow we are ending out the module with a written exam & SUSHI! THEN i start PASTRY on Wednesday.. so look forward to some fun new recipes and pastry tips!


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