One of the fundamental techniques of any style of cooking is stock making. Stock even comes from the French word “fond” which means foundation. Stocks are truly the foundation for numerous sauces, soups and dishes, so you can imagine I was pretty anxious for “stock day”.
We started off making a brown veal stock together as a class. It took about 10 hours to cook before completion, but once it came out and we got to taste it the following day, it was beautiful. So rich in color and flavor from the sucs (brown bits), all I kept thinking was, “Did I really help make that?”
We then made a white chicken stock. We cleaned the chicken pieces, cut up the mirepoix and added the aromatic elements to a stock pot of water. After hours of skimming the fat and simmering, we drained the liquid, and another delicious stock was completed.
While working on these stocks, we also made a fish stock, a vegetable stock, as well as a marmite (a white stock made with beef and onion brûlée). Overall, it was an extremely busy day, but also a very informative day that was extremely interesting.
After stock day, we had a full day of sauces! We learned the five mother sauces: tomato, béchamel, hollandaise, veloute, and espagnole. This was also an important day as we were learning five classic sauces that have hundreds of derivatives sauces made from each. We made every mother sauce except for the tomato, and we added a delicious butter and wine sauce. We even added cheese to the béchamel and turned it into a mornay, then added it to penne pasta and had “mac and cheese” for lunch. Absolutely delicious! Sauce day was long and grueling, but again very fun.
Finally at the end of the week we made emulsified sauces, meaning a sauce that has a binding element (ex. a roux, egg yolk, etc.). Some emulsified sauces we made included a classic mayo, a bernaise, and a delicious sweet sabayon. Emulsified sauces are very tricky for many reasons. For one, they are very temperature sensitive and can break very easily. They also take a ton of elbow grease…I’ve never whisked so much in my life! Even though they take a lot of work, nothing compares, and the final product is velvety and delicious.
I will be the first to admit, the first full week of culinary school was intense and challenging. However, it’s amazing how much we’re learning, and I cannot wait to learn more.