Culinary Arts Project

Ashes to Ashes: Level 3 is Dust – Day 60


  • Use Ghee (browned clarified butter) in your Indian dishes rather than butter. It adds a whole new dimension of nuttiness and even sweetness.
  • Apparently the best curry is in London. Curry Powder is a British invention to mimic the “Indian colony’s cuisine” whose key ingredients are turmeric, coriander, cumin, mustard, and chili. Curry can also refer to many types of dishes… and to confuse things even further, there is actually an unrelated curry plant whose leaves are used in Indian cuisine, though curry powder rarely is – they use the founding spices.
  • Truffles (which are an underground fungus, not a mushroom) are so expensive because they are very difficult to cultivate as they need specific surrounding nut trees and brush which is hard to mimic.

Today was the last day of Level 3, and while culinary school is flying by too fast, I’m kinda glad to see the back of this Level. We prepared Indian influenced food in ‘family meal’, while the other half of the class did the ‘action stations’ we did on Friday.

Meagan workin' the basmati
Meagan workin’ the basmati
Samosas - today's popular dish
Samosas – today’s popular dish

Meagan and I did a Basmati Rice dish. In true Indian fashion, all spices were heated in the frying pan to ‘open them up’ before incorporating them into the rice. We had a tough time getting the rice to taste amazing. We added more spices, more lemon juice, more oil. We never got it quite magical, but Meagan made up a yogurt sauce which tasted pretty good and saved the dish. I asked Chef if we could add some butter – he said no butter, but maybe ghee. Ghee (pronounced with a hard ‘g’), is clarified butter that is then browned to ‘noisette’ consistency and is very common in Indian dishes. I wished we had had time to include it in our rice. Linda used it in her lentil dish and it tasted great. She made the ghee, and then fried various seeds, cumin and onions in it. It really is a secret magical ingredient.

Terrence and Regina rollin' the Pappardelle - and getting to use Black Truffles!!!
Terrence and Regina rollin’ the Pappardelle – and getting to use Black Truffles!!!
Dalal checking Tinder
Dalal checking Tinder  :)

The popular dish of the day was Joe & Jess’s samosas which they served up with a pomegranate chutney. They had lots of potato/curry stuffing left over, so when the samosa’s ran out on the line, I just started offering it as potato curry and it went just as fast. Other highlights included Alton’s Avial, which is a kinda vegetable coconut turmeric stew.

I was bit jealous of Terence and Regina today. They were on the Alfredo station (the one I was on Friday). Head Chef Candy, you remember, the chef who came up and critiqued our Alfredo on Friday, said “Who is making the Alfredo today – it tastes so good?”. Hmmphf. Well, Terence is talented in the kitchen, so I don’t mind being number 2 to him, but it turns out that Chef John let them use black truffle in their dish, which they incorporated when reducing the cream. Black Truffles!!!!!!!

The 'new guy' Gabriel, who was with us for two days making up some classes
The ‘new guy’ Gabriel, who was with us for two days making up some classes
The gang prepping carrots for tomorrow
The gang prepping carrots for tomorrow

We got our Level 4 books today. Level 4 is focused on repeating complicated dishes for several days to be able to master them and get our speed up. It’s apparently, ‘pure chaos’. I’m looking forward to it!

RIP David Bowie. Thanks for all those great songs!

My level 4 book - let the chaos begin!
My level 4 book – let the chaos begin!

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