Monthly Archives: May 2009

Top Chef in the Hizz…

OHHH...AHHH

OHHH...AHHH

So, last week we had a demo courtesy of the California Almond board. I guess I have never really given much thought to the fact that some people love almonds so much, that they champion them for a living. At least I think that’s what happens. Most of them looked pretty pleased with their job, and they were all so nattily dressed…the nut business must be booming. They are pretty filling.

Anyways, there was a panel of really talented chefs who made dishes of varying interest; both sweet and savory. I am sorry to report that most of the cooking took a back burner (pun intended) to the antics of Top Chef alumni

Stefan screwing up his lines

Stefan screwing up his lines

Stefan Richter. He certainly proved that some people are exactly how they portray themselves on television. A gal couldn’t get a drink of water in the TK without him creeping up behind you. He made the lamest Trout Almondine ever and pretty much challenged all of us to ask him a question. I wanted to ask him how he was able text the 19 year old girl next to me while on cooking on stage and still retain any shred of decency, but then I realized he lost that a long time ago.

On a brighter note, Richard Blaze was also there to represent the almond, and although I did not see his presentation because I had to leave for work…boo…I DID get a snapshot of him pouring liquid nitrogen all over some of the nuts. The photo kinda reminds me of Culinary Mad Scientist in action. Maybe it’s the hair.

Finals this week, and then it’s on to Meat Fabrication. Bring on the sliver skin!!!!

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A few school pics…

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Another day, another vegetable.

So I am a week or so into my second classes and I fell like they are a blur.  I spent all of last week on the phone with every Copenhaver I know dealing with my Dad’s cancer, but things have calmed down and he just had his second day of chemo today.  I am nixing my trip to NYC during our 3 week summer break and am going to spend it in SC with my family…I am looking forward to it.
My classses now are Food Safety and Product ID.  The fist class is taught by a Kevin Bacon knock off…”A Few Good Men” Kevin Bacon, not “Footloose” Kevin Bacon.  He even works in a Navy  Mess Hall.  Mr. Bacon used to own a shady deli  that he references EVERY DAY when he is teaching us about viruses and parasites.  He hates that deli.  Then, when Kevin Bacon is really hurting for class material, we play games like “Parasite Jeopardy”.  Riveting stuff…

In Product ID we finally get to get into the kitchen and chop, blanch, saute, fry and broil vegetables and fruits.  Then we take a tray of the 17 varieties and eat/discuss them in class.  I never thought I would be so proud of Okra…but today I was.  I started working in the kitchen at school and I really enjoy the pace (slow) and I feel like I am learning alot there too. I cannot wait for this weekend to chill out and work on some Tapas recipes for a school competition…the winner gets to go to Spain and compete there…paid by the CIA.  I hope I have enough time to come up with something good!

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2 Classes Down, 20 More to Go!

So I had finals this week.  It’s been really weird getting back into the swing of school…but I am a nerd at heart so it’s buried down in there somewhere.  We had a menu creation/presentation in our Gastro class and my team won…woot, woot!  I’ll take the extra points wherever I can get them!

I finally got my whites, but we still haven’t touched the TC (that’s Teaching Kitchen in CIA speak).  My next classes are Food Safety and Product Knowledge so I am deducing from the titles that I might get to at least look at some food…be it salmonella chicken or stale bread…please, let me at it.

I drove home and went to see Ruth Reichl (NYTimes former Food Writer and Gourmet Editor in Chief) speak at the Hearbst Theatre in SF with my foodie friend Tonya.  It was really inspiring…both from Reichl and the 10 year old aspiring food writer (who has a blog  AND a food journal)who asked her “What can I be doing in the next couple years to promote my career choice?”  Lisa, meet your competition.  Damn, I feel old.

As if this last week was not hard enough, after a 6 days spent in the hospital my Dad found out that he has Stage III Lung Cancer…WTF????  I am going to have to squeeze in “Cancer Specialist” along with student.  Unfortunately I do have some expertise in the matter, not that I ever wanted to dust off that book of knowledge…any of the volumes.  Lycopene is going to be flowing like wine…or the wine is going to be flowing like wine…whatever works.

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I’ll have the Spata Spata, Please?

So this week I’ve been primarily trying to focus on getting some gainful employment so I can continue to go to this prestigious(read exorbitantly expensive)school.  Things are chugging along, but I find Napa Valley people to be even more laid back (flaky) in the hiring process than in SF…and those folks took the cake.  However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t had time to pay attention to all of the strange happenings at school.

Here’s an example.  I was walking to the computer lab and and noticed a familiar glow coming from the externship recruitment office.  As I neared the doorway an enormous flat screen came into view with a woman blankly staring off past my shoulder…very creepy in a Max Headroom kinda way.  I gave it some thought in the bathroom and remembered some email about a video conference appointment you could about set up via the Hyde park office to discuss careers.

I felt strangely sorry for this woman the rest of the day,  so I kept checking on her…wondering if I might catch her polishing off a sleeve of donuts alone in her office or possibly napping.  I only saw her conduct one meeting during her several hours on camera.  I guess thats what we pay the big bucks for.

And, another guy puked in class because he “let his tea bag steep too long.”  Is that code for something cooler or did he get taken down by some pekoe?

On the brighter side, my Dad called me to this week to inquire about a side dish I had made during my recent visit over Easter weekend.  Even though he remembered it be called “spata, spata,”  I correctly identified the healthful grain by it’s more familiar name, “cous cous.”  God Damn if this school isn’t already paying for itself.

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