Culinary Arts Project

The Sun Also Rises – Back on our feet – Day 71


  • Add the powdered sugar to your cream only after it starts to gain some volume. This results in a better whip.
  • When cutting the tops of your profiteroles, align the bread knife parallel to the bottom of profiterole. It’s natural to align the knife with the top that you’re cutting off, but may end up with a wonky base, and the base has to hold the cream.
  • If you buy a knife sharpening stone, get the 1000 grit stone. Ideally you can get a stone that is 300 (rougher) on one side and 1000 on the other and use the 300 grit if your knife is really dull. But regular use of the 1000 grit should be fine.

Today was a much better day than yesterday. It was the second day we were all doing our dishes, we knew what we had to do, we certainly knew what NOT to do (see yesterday’s post!), so it was noses to the grindstone and whisks in the crème chantilly.– time to deliver for the chefs.

Grilled salmon with the sauce "locked in".
Grilled salmon with the sauce “locked in”.
Chef Dominique and Chef Joe prepare bouquet garnis.
Chef Dominique and Chef Joe prepare bouquet garnis.

We were rewarded by a “plates of pride” display, rather than our usual “plates of shame”. In the words of our chefs “A big rebound from yesterday”, “bigtime difference”, “everyone manchonneéd”, “garnitures looked nice”, etc… The two areas we seem to miss are getting the sauces perfect, and those darn pearl onions, but we’ll get there.

I made minor alterations to my dishes today. I grilled the presentation side of the salmon “at 2 oclock” for 20 seconds, and then “at 10 oclock” for 20 seconds. This is way longer than the recipe calls for, but I wanted to get those real nice dark sear lines. I then flipped the fillets over and only seared for 5 seconds. I still ended up with a succulent piece of fish, just a little under-seared on the plate side, but nobody looks at that side anyway. I also plated the dish as Erik recommended which was to make the fillet create a dam to prevent the wonderful wine-cream-herb sauce from spilling all over the plate, and definitely kept my herb out of the sauce till the very last second so they were green and fragrant.

Meagan and Spencer standing at attention
Meagan and Spencer standing at attention
Joe leaning at attention
Joe leaning at attention
Our "plates of pride"
Our “plates of pride”

I experimented with putting more sugar in the cream puff dough, but didn’t really notice any difference. Where I did put more sugar was the Crème Chantilly. “CC” is whipped cream with a bit of vanilla and a pinch of powdered sugar. I’ve decided that if you are using it more as a decoration then it should be “lightly” sugared, but if you’re using it “in” the dessert then it should be more “heavily” sugared – particularly because the dough isn’t sweet. If it is going with fresh fruit, it is better to lighten up on the sugar, because you don’t want the fruit tasting sour.

I plated a total of 12 profiteroles, and definitely wasn’t going to eat them all, so I walked across the hall and gave them to the pastry class. I figured I could pay back them a little for all the wonderful bread we’ve been getting from them. But it was a bit risky giving pastry to the professional pastry class.

Speaking of sweet, we have one more day of practicing these recipes, and then its on to the Lemon Tart, which I’m really looking forward to.

Salmon at "10 o'clock"
Salmon at “10 o’clock”
Me straining my fumet. Thanks Dalal for taking all the pics today!
Me straining my fumet. Thanks Dalal for taking all the pics today!

The class felt a bit smaller today. Joanne was out sick (get better soon!!!!), and Pablo/Vitor/Rachel all add to leave to do their “trails”. This is when you do a shift at a restaurant to see if they want you to extern there. I still haven’t heard back from my restaurants (Jean-Georges, and Lucien) so I’m starting to get nervous. On the good side, the James Beard House called, and I’m working for Chef Kruse on Saturday. He features food from the Lake Champlain area – I see at 16 hour cooked pork belly, and Sous Vide rabbit loins on the menu. Yum.

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