Culinary Arts Project

75 Liters of Chicken Stock, Roasted Chickens, and a little less Chaos – Day 43


  • The best way to reheat potato puree is the microwave (I know, a sin for most cooks).
  • In a fast-paced kitchen, no bowls unless you need to toss or whip. They waste too much space – use square boys.
  • Tortilla chips are simply tortillas, cut into 6ths, and deep fried.
Joe's herb beds
Joe’s herb beds
My stock vat
My stock vat

Today was breasts, thighs, heads and shoulders above yesterday in terms of organization and ‘reduced mayhemness’. Team leaders had their Prep Lists, we all knew a little bit more about what needed to get done, and we know the kitchen that much better. There was quite a lot to do, we were serving 50 Roasted Chickens (Joe – Chef de Partie), Glazed Carrots (Joanne), 60 pounds of Pureed Potatoes (Spencer), Greek Salad (Nina). Alton was sous-chef, Erik worked ALLLLL day on pre-prepping butternut squash, and I had 75 liters of chicken stock to produce. Oh, and at the last minute Chef Ben reminded me that I had agreed to do a bean puree and tortilla chips…..right…..I had totally forgotten about that, and have no idea how to make a proper bean puree OR tortilla chips.

The gang had trussed and brined the chicken overnight, so Joe’s team put them on huge herb beds in massive roasting pans, and put them in convection and conventional ovens. As an experiment they also basted some and some not. Since the chickens had been brined, the basting really didn’t affect the taste/moistness that much, but the convection oven produced a better chicken. Counter-intuitively, the non-basted chickens were browner (apparently the more moister the cooler and less brown). These were all quartered and served on a cutting board. Looked real cool.

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Joanne at the Tilt-Skillet with her carrots
Erik and the butternut squash for tomorrow
Erik and the butternut squash for tomorrow

Joanne’s glazed carrots were done in the huge Tilt-Skillet. This is a massive bin that is has a skillet at the bottom, but you can tilt it to drain off fat, or simply to empty it. The skillet was filled with water up the half the carrots, butter, cumin, s&p. Honey was used as the glaze. The potatoes were a nightmare. Megan and Spencer were cutting, ricing, mixing potatoes all morning. They did one with bacon, and one without for the vegetarians. It got top marks though.

Spencer and Megan in potato mayhem
Spencer and Megan in potato mayhem
Chef Ben and Joe discuss important matters
Chef Ben and Joe discuss important matters

I started to panic about this bean puree/tortilla thing, but what can you do. I grabbed the beans from yesterday, threw them in a Robo-Coupe, fried up some onions and garlic and threw them in, added some chipotle peppers, cilantro, some raw garlic, salt, and ground it all up. Chef said it was too salty, so I added lemon juice. Came out pretty good eventually. Now the tortilla chips. How on earth do I make those? DEEP FRY TORTILLAS came the answer from someone. So Alton got me tortillas, I chopped them into sixths, and suddenly was Mr. Deep Fryer for 30mins as I made tortilla chips. I let my stock making duties slip a bit during this panic, but throughout the day I was skimming the vat of chicken stock, and then finally drained it and cooled it over ice. Total result = 75 liters. A quarter for us and the rest for Level 1s and 2. NOW I know where are all that stock came from for our previous classes.

The line looked amazing. I have yet to figure out how the fruit salad gets on the line, but it was there.

2 replies on “75 Liters of Chicken Stock, Roasted Chickens, and a little less Chaos – Day 43”

Chef Ben was adamant that we don’t distribute food in hotel pans, so we always use nice dishes and wood cutting boards. It makes the food look sooooooo much better in my opinion. Several of us are going to ask if we can put candles and play country-appropriate music for next week (so if its french, Edith Piaf – I know that’s predictable, but I think it will be appreciated – A little Beethoven with German Schnitzel?)

You have fancy plates, and a buffet line inside your kitchen? I have never seen that, even when I did daytime makeup classes last month. We put everything in hotel pans, and people queue up in the hallway…. Only employees and level 3 students come inside. Funny, I’ve been in the room2 nights a week for the past 2 months, and your first picture looks unfamiliar.

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