Culinary Arts Project

Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes and a Duck – Day 11


  • Add salt to fries immediately after frying – the heat melds the salt flavour. Also, potatoes suck up a lot salt, so put more than usual.
  • When you want potato slices to stick together in a dish (e.g. in scalloped potatoes), don’t wash them after cutting, the starch will keep them together
  • Rubbing your scalloped potato dish with a half-clove of garlic will add a classy gentle hint of garlic
  • A human can survive on potatoes and butter alone.

We learned how to cook potatoes 7 different ways today – by the end of the day everyone was definitely sick of potatoes. The Gratin Dauphinois (scalloped potatoes) was by far the best tasting, but not quite as good as Julia Child’s when she adds an anchovy/garli/herb paste, which we didn’t do. We also learned Pommes Pont-Neuf (fat French fries), Pommes Duchesse (mashed potatoes piped from a pastry bag into cute florettes) – personally I didn’t think they tasted great at all, but they looked mawvlus!!!!.

Regins tries a 'flip'
Regina tries a ‘flip’
The "Vero" flip
The “Vero” flip

Pommes Darphin (potato pancake) was our first chance to ‘flip’ something mid-air. I over-flipped, but tried it again and got it right. We also watched Chef “Vero” demonstrate making Pommes Anna (overlapping spiral pattern, in clarified butter). This was a beautiful looking dish, kinda looked like an apple tart. And then “Pommes Gaufrette” which sounds fancy, but just looked like textured potato chips. Part of me was thinking…really(?)….a gazillion dollars tuition and we’re learning to make Lay’s potato chips?…. but that feeling was quickly dispelled when Chef Joe brought out the Duck Confit we started last week. (A welcome intermission in the middle of high-carb-potato-day). We took the thigh bone out of the duck piece, sautéed the duck skin side down in hot oil and had a taste – yum…. I’m taking that home tonight for sure. Then back to reality with potato puree (mashed potatoes).

Vitor's Duchesses - they don't look quite done yet Vitor
Vitor’s Duchesses – they don’t look quite done yet Vitor

We also got our “evals” today – our in-kitchen performance evaluations. Was pretty happy with it. Got a 10 for “asks questions and participates” which I do incessantly…. predictably Miyako beat me in the “Knife Skills” category….I have to practice that taillage!

Tim organized a quick after-class study session for our exam tomorrow which helped get my mind organized about what I didn’t know. Gotta know those garnitures! Grabbed the second-last piece of bread (they go fast) and then off to the Citi-bike for the ride home.

2 replies on “Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes and a Duck – Day 11”

Belated happy birthday, Stewart. I am following your blog with interest. I especially like the tips. So many things I have been doing wrong all these years.

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