- To keep your Hollandaise hot, put it in a thermos (courtesy of Diana Colman)
- 3 times – this seems to be the magic number of times that ‘most’ of us need to really nail a dish, unless you’re A2.
- When pressing the final roll of fettuccine through the pasta roller, I have found it is best to keep the strands all aligned (don’t let them curl up). This way you can lay them out flat to dry and won’t stick to each other. You can also see if there are any that fail ‘quality control’ and bin them.
I humbly accept defeat to the poached eggs dish. I find it so frustrating that every little diner in the city can serve up a nice poached egg with a ‘hollandaise’, and after three days I still can’t nail it. Ugh!
It was the class’s third day doing our recipes, and judging by the comments by the chefs at the end of the day (“Today was a nice improvement”), most of us did much better, though the chef’s didn’t hold back when the improvement wasn’t there. It was another mock final exam, which meant we all picked a number out of a hat (mine was A4) and plate according to the schedule on the board. At the end of the day the chefs go over their assessments, but for the past two times they’ve only said the number, not the person’s name. So you hear the comments, but aren’t exactly sure whom they’re talking about. I think I like it better when you hear the names, you’re able to give high-fives to those that do well, and also you know who to watch in the kitchen, and we all know each other pretty well by now that we can take the criticism publicly.
Anyway, when time came around to rate number A4 (me), the comments weren’t so good on the poached eggs. “The hollandaise didn’t cover the eggs fully”, “not enough vegetables”, “the vegetables were caramelized”, “could be warmer”. Ugh!!! It was super-frustrating because I knew I had slightly burnt the vegetables when trying to heat them up, and one egg I didn’t fully cover (the one chef picked), and I’m definitely going to bring in a thermos to try Diana’s trick to keep the Hollandaise hot. But then a nice surprise. The chef said “I don’t want to mention who this is because it will end up on a blog, but the beef was really outstanding with the best sauce. Really outstanding”. I was blushing all over because everyone knew it was me, and so I got a whole bunch of high fives. This is what its all about I guess! The “plates of the day” went to A2, which was Joe. The chef said you know you have an excellent plate when “you don’t want to stop eating it”. Congrats Joe.
Later, several people came up to taste my sauce and/or ask what I did differently. Today I was totally focused on getting the consistency of the sauce perfect because yesterday it was too thick and on the first day it was too thin. Today I knew I had nailed the consistency, which means the flavor is more likely to be right. But I really didn’t have an answer for any “magic”. What I do know is that I love this dish a lot. Maybe all you need is love.