Our first night on the Garde Manger station and our two dishes to complete were a Consommé Printanier and Oeuf Poché sur Macédoine de Légumes, and Sauce Hollandaise. The mission: complete these two dishes by a set time given by our Chef-Instructor. Level III hones our organizational and multi-tasking skills – Chef really pushes us to have our dishes complete and perfect by the required time. We roll into the kitchen around 5:30 pm and after roll call and a brief lecture we get cookin’ with most dishes required to be presented by around 8:30 pm and time flies!
We began with the Consommé – we took a veal stock (Marmite) and clarified the stock with ground beef, egg whites and aromatics to add more flavor. It is a really fascinating procedure, I had no idea this was the way a Consommé was prepared when I made it the first time in Level I. The Consommé is left on the stove to barely simmer and the spring vegetable medley takes time to cut into perfect Macédoine-sized shapes. I really need to work on my knife skills, it takes me much too much time to cut these things.
We prep all our vegetables for both the soup and the poached egg dish. Happily we meet our deadline for the soup and the egg dishes, Chef suggested more salt for the soup, and liked our presentation of the Oeuf Poché. Chef gave us tips to perfect it the next time but it all comes with time and repetition.
Our Hollandaise died on the table – it broke twice and we revived it both times. The nice thing about the Sauce Hollandaise is that it can be salvaged. That night I was able to breathe easier – our timing was great, yet the pace was a little frenetic. My partner and I handled the night like troopers – always leaving room for improvement and continued learning.