I’m officially finished with Level 3 of culinary school, and I’m half way through culinary school! When did this happen??? I feel like I just moved to the city and started school yesterday. Time sure flies when you’re having fun!
For our Level 3 final we had our usual comprehensive written test, but we also had to cook two dishes and present them to a panel of judges. Half of the class was assigned a fish dish and a pastry dish, and the other half of the class (including myself) had to make an appetizer and meat dish. I had to make a consommé with vegetable garniture for our hot appetizer. This dish is actually not very hard to make at all, but when you’re worried about getting it finished in a certain time frame along with a whole other dish, it can be stressful! Oh, and guess who was the lucky individual to draw A1 and have to present first…ME! So by 12:30pm my consommé had to be perfect and ready to serve to three judges who were actually former students of ICC.
After presenting my first dish, it was back to the kitchen to finish my second dish; roasted chicken, grandmother style. There is an incredible amount of garniture with this dish. You have caramelized pearl onions, crispy bacon lardons, sautéed mushrooms, pommes rissolee (three step crispy potatoes) and hacher parsley. Then you roast the whole chicken and make a jus to go along with it. I had to present this dish by 1:12pm, so you can imagine how rushed I was for time. After speeding through the second dish, I was able to present on time and finish my exam feeling pretty confident.
At the end of the day, I wish I had about five extra minutes to taste components more and really perfect each dish, but all in all it went well. I am happy to have experienced the Level 3 final and to have passed, and now its on to Level 4!
Level 4 is another challenge we will have to learn and overcome. This level is where we cook family meal for the entire school, so basically we are cooking lunch everyday for about 250-300 people. An added pressure is that I have a small class (normal class size is 24 students, we have 13). Even though we have fewer hands, I’m sure we will get it done and ultimately better cooks for it!