During week 10 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit, we focused on the final two lessons: Pikeperch, Seared Duck and Stuffed Chicken. Keep reading for the details and stay tuned for next week’s post to hear about my final exam.
Week 10 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit
- Short Crust Dough
- Preparing Wild Mushrooms
- Snail Butter
- Filleting of Fish
- Bigarade Sauce (Herb-Vermouth Sauce)
- Cooking of a Duck Magret
- Waffle Potato Chips
- Preparing a Warm Salad
- Making Vinaigrette
- Stuffed Chicken Legs
- Forcemeat Stuffing
- Chocolate Mousse
- Candying Orange Zest
My Final Exam! The Duel of Two Fishes (more on this next week!)
Here’s What I Learned During Week 10 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit
- Duck a l’Orange is not anything like what I remember trying at home. I am thinking now I’ve always thought this was a Chinese-inspired dish because the ducks we find in the San Francisco Bay Area are often labeled as “Peking” duck.
- In this classic French recipe we learned in class, the sauce actually starts off as a caramel sauce; then you add vinegar and orange liquor to finish it, giving it a sweet and sour taste.
- We received a brief geography lesson to go along with the making of the duck. Apparently this is a preview of what is to come in the next “intermediate” course. Know where your ingredients come from is the Chef’s motto!
- We used a “special type” or brand of duck, if you will (imported from France of course). It is labeled “Magret” and can only come from a specific region in France, much like Champagne, where you can only label the wine as “champagne” if the grapes were actually grown and produced in the Champagne region of France. For the record, these were the largest duck breasts I have ever seen and these ducks are the only ones that are used to produce authentic “foie gras.”
- I have discovered that while I’ve had plenty of experience making orange “Supremes” and I can finish this task quite easily and quickly, I have had little experience creating julienne cuts from the skin of an orange. One technique I was shown by our Asian Chef this week was: use a fillet knife to remove or separate the inside white skin from the outer peel. This particular knife has a flexible tip that will make it easier to accomplish this task. We were warned: if you do not remove the maximum amount of inner white skin, your sauce will taste extremely bitter.
- I’m not sure our regular French Chef would actually approve of this technique, as he is very big on using the proper tool for the proper job. I have a feeling he would say that a Fish Fillet knife should only be used on fish! No doubt he would have told me that my regular chef’s knife was not sharp enough.
- In our last regular demo class of the term we were shown how to debone a whole chicken leg so that it could be stuffed. This was surprisingly easy, once I was shown the proper technique to remove the thighbone.
- It only took 9 weeks, but now I know the “proper way” to iron my necktie; yes, this is part of our school uniform. It should look crisp and tidy, not disheveled. I have a suspicion that the look of our uniform is included in our weekly grade under “hygiene.” It is just not acceptable to come to class looking like you wore your chef’s jacket to bed or that it is now “blue” or “pink” from the wash. I started using a travel steam iron before class and I never wear my uniform from home, as I fear it would get dirty and The Chef would ask me to change! All these weeks I was ironing my tie into a triangle, carefully taking it to school only to have it wrinkled once I got ready to use it. The better way is to iron it straight so that the creases stay sharp.
Grading for Week 10 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit
Here are this week’s recipes and critiques:
- Croustade of Escargot with Wild Mushrooms (Snail Tart)
- Pikeperch Steak with Herb Sauce and Ratatouille Garnish
- Duck Breast in Orange Sauce with Waffle Chips
The Grading for Seared Duck:
- The overall cooking of the duck breast was good, but could have used more seasoning; my caramel sauce was the right color but not quite the right consistency; taste was good.
- My waffle chips were the proper shape and size, and very crispy, but needed salt! I forgot to season them, as we were told that once salted, the chips would become very soggy quickly because of the humidity. I wanted the Chef to have crispy chips!
- After I came home, I added salt to the chips and they were so good my husband said, “I would pay for these!” This means he REALLY liked them.
Class 26: This was our last regular demo and cooking class of the term.
- Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Bacon
- Jamonette of Poultry (Stuffed Chicken Leg) with Madeira Jus
- Chocolate Mousse with Orange
The Grading for Stuffed Chicken:
- Unfortunately, my stuffed chicken was slightly undercooked, but not by much.
- The outside was well-seasoned (thank you!), but not the actually stuffing – bummer!
- My sauce: I finally made a good one!
Stay tuned for next week when I share details of our final exam and my final thoughts from this 3-month experience!
Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.