Yesterday we took our written exam, which nobody studied for. We tried to study, really we did, but no one was able to concentrate. The questions on the test never seem to match what we have in our notebooks so we've all just given up. The closest analogy is the American S.A.T., which doesn't test your knowledge, but instead your test taking abilities. I barely passed the intermediate written final and I studied. Go figure.
Nonetheless, Le Cordon Bleu students are a happy bunch. I caught one student flying back from our local cafe after our brief session of cramming...our brief session of cramming coffee and pastries into our bellies!!!
I left the written exam feeling pretty good until I got home and started looking up questions I thought I had answered correctly. Those darn questions in Celsius really drive me crazy (what is the maximum temperature of freezer?... uh, I dunno...cold!?!) Then I realized that I probably just passed the Superior written exam too. Hey, I'm an actor, what can I say? I memorize dialogue, not inane facts that anyone can get from the internet – Jeez, I can't be perfect at everything!
Speaking of perfect (eh-ehmmm), I was pretty darn proud of my technical plate exam today. Our demo was at 8:30 A.M with the examination following. I barely made it because my alarm clock decided not to work and I just happened to wake up with sunlight streaming in my bedroom window disturbing my slumber. I called a taxi who came pronto and sped me across town so that I could make my final on time.
Our incredible Superior Chef demonastrated a recipe that used just about every part and every animal I can think of. Delicious and deceptively simple: Selle D'Agneau Prince Noir Et Son Gateau Au Lard Paysan (Black Prince Saddle of Lamb and Bacon-Potato Cake) Our Chef walked us through the steps carefully making sure there was no cause for concern.
The most difficult part is butchering the lamb. It must be taken off the bone and then butterflied. The farce (stuffing) is made of ground up veal and carefully brunoised mushrooms, carrots, shallots, and black truffles. Served with a cake of mouthwatering fat: foie gras, cured tongue, bacon, and potatoes on a bed of savoy cabbage. Not for those on any sort of diet of any kind, with the exception of Atkins perhaps.
The practical was relaxed. We all whizzed through our technical cuts without any problems. The biggest issue was the heat in the kitchen and the sweat rolling down our foreheads blurring our vision. I'd say the hardest part was cooking the lamb to the right temperature. Even though I used a meat thermometer I could tell that it was still too rare.
I put my lamb loaf back in the oven – which was a smart idea. Lamb can be very hard to get just right. Over cooked and it's tasteless and tough, but lamb sushi isn't good either. It has to be perfectly rosé. I cooked it just the way I like it, so I was happy. My layer-of-lard-cake turned out nice and so did my jus. The chef told me "Super! Super!" (zuhpear, zuhpear!) Let's hope it makes up for my written exam!
One more exam to go..the Final where we get a basket of ingredients and have to create recipes. Hey, how come only two people have answered my challenge!?!?! Doesn't anyone like pigeon!?!?
Thanks for all the encouraging responses on my upcoming stage. I was happily surprised by all the positive feedback ;-)