Culinary Arts Project

Stocks and Tournage – Day 4


  • If possible, put an odd number of a vegetable on a plate: it looks more symmetrical but creates a tension
  • Add salt to fried potatoes at the end or the salt starts to interact with the starch
  • Mussels ‘moules’ can be a big money maker, a 15 pound bag will serve 15 people but pay for itself with the first person, and they look great.

The picture above is of Chef John showing us how to light a pilot light – always a scary proposition, especially considering he used the butter wrapper as a wick!!!!!

I think I aced the test this morning – we find out next week. We spent most of the day learning about tournage, the art of shaping vegetables to look elegant and are all the same size so that they will each be cooked to exactly the same doneness – i.e. perfectly.

carrots a la cocotte
carrots a la cocotte

We were ‘tournaging’ cocottes which are 5cm long egg-like shapes. They HAVE to have 7 sides, and be the shape of a flattened rugby ball. I think I started to get the hang of it, but 7 sides is an unnatural number of sides – potatoes were the easiest to do, carrots the hardest. Pablo had a real tough time of it. I thought he was going to master this no probs because he got the hang of ciseler very fast, but this proved harder. We also learned how to prepare an artichoke cooked in a-blanc , acronym f-l-o-w-s (flour, lemon, oil, water, salt). These are going to go into a Garniture a la Bouquetier (nicely presented vegetables) on tomorrow’s plate.


We also started learning about stocks (look at all those veal bones). Roasting all the veal bones, and vegetables, then putting them in that huge ‘marmite’ and simmering for 8-12 hours while skimming regularly.

a 'marmite' simmering stock
a ‘marmite’ simmering stock
roasted vegetables for veal stock
roasted vegetables for veal stock
roasted veal bones
roasted veal bones

Lent out my extra chef’s uniform to Tim from Hawaii, who forgot his. Met the head dean, and said ‘bonjour’ in my best French possible. He caught the accent …Vous parlez le francais? I told him about living in Cannes and Paris, which went over well.

IMG_1530Grabbed some more bread (there ain’t no possible low-carb diet around this place), and off to practice tournage.



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