The level 2 practical exam at The International Culinary Center was very similar to level 1 in terms of structure; there was the practical cooking portion, then the hand written test. The only difference was the content we were being tested on, which was more challenging! Any exam at ICC is stressful, but the level 2 test was particularly stressful because we had a major snowstorm the night before! We got over 6 inches of snow, followed by a layer of rain and ice. Half of my classmates were late because of the train delays, and the rest had there minds elsewhere because of the conditions. But either way, the exam had to continue, so we got to work!
Our first task was to quarter a chicken. Quartering a chicken is the process of properly butchering a whole bird into four portions (two breasts and two thighs). Learn how to quarter a chicken here.
After the chicken was complete, the second task was to break down a round fish. We had to properly fillet the fish, remove the pin bones, then remove the skin. Both of these tasks had to be completed in a limited amount of time, so you had to know exactly what you were doing.
After the butchery was complete, we had to show some of our pastry skills that we learned over the course of level 2. To start, we had to make creme chantilly (by hand), then pipe out 12 rosettes. My arm felt like it was going to fall off after all the whisking, but the perfect fluffy whipped cream is nothing short of delicious. We then had to make creme anglaise (aka ice cream base). The base is very tricky because it goes from thin and raw to thick and curdled very fast, so temperature and time is very important. Mastering a creme anglaise was definitely one of the hardest parts of the level 2 practical.
After the cooking portion was complete, we grabbed our hand written test and hurried to complete them. I was so happy that the practical was over, and I was ready to get home and out of the NYC cold!