Stocks, Sauces, and Knife Skills

These first three weeks of the Culinary Arts program have just flown by… I’ve really enjoyed it so far.   It’s a rigorous schedule and a little bit tricky to find time to get everything done but so far so good :)

We’ve been working on Stocks, Sauces, and Knife Skills like crazy!

Let me introduce you to Chef John…

 Stocks, Sauces, and Knife Skills by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com

He’s my instructor for the first block of classes and teaches Cooking Skills where I’m learn all about savory hot foods.

Chef John is super patient, has dry sense of humor, and talks with a southern drawl.

Part of Culinary School is purchasing a pack full of fun kitchen essentials and a really great knife set….

Stocks, Sauces, and Knife Skills by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com

A couple of my awesome knives are in the photo above along with some carrots cut into Classic French knife cuts… (left to right) battonette, small paysanne, rondelle, oblique, julienne, large paysanne, and teeny-tiny brunoise (1/16 x 1/16 squares).

I’ve only cut myself once that was memorable AND all the other little nicks don’t really count, right?!

Stocks, Sauces, and Knife Skills by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com

This is my station with my Mise en Place lined out for the day… wondering what that phrase means?  Mise en Place is a commonly used term in the kitchen that means ‘everything in place’.  Basically, it’s gathering all your supplies to work efficiently at that days tasks.

We’ve been learning how to make chicken, veal, vegetable, and fish stocks… from these are made all your sauces and soups.  We don’t mess around when we make this stuff– think industrial size pots here!

Stocks, Sauces, and Knife Skills by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com

That smaller pot is larger than any pot I own…  just to give you an idea of the size!

Stocks, Sauces, and Knife Skills by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com

The photo above is a vegetable stock with a Bouquet Garni in it- that’s  a spice packet tied up in a leek leaf…

Stocks, Sauces, and Knife Skills by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com

Pretty Cool, huh.

We’ve been learning the 5 Mother Sauces AND I must  tell you that I successfully made a batch of Hollandaise Sauce… Whoot-Whoot!!

It wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be… in fact, it’s actually pretty fun :)

Stocks, Sauces, and Knife Skills by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com

There she is, all lovely and emulsified like a beauty.

The photo below is the makings of some hand-whipped (almost broke my arm off) Mayonnaise AND it tastes just like the stuff you buy in a jar… pretend I didn’t just day that :)

Really, do you all make your own mayo?  Me either.

Stocks, Sauces, and Knife Skills by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com

That’s a little bit of what I’ve been learning so far and so, so much more.  OH and I love that my textbooks are loaded with recipes.

I was asked recently in an assignment, “What brings me to the culinary field?”

I thought I’d share my answer with all of you….

“My love of cooking, it rings true to me in a way that nothing else ever has.  It inspires me and I love to share good food with family and friends.  I enjoy making people happy through food, not just to sustain life but to make it a connecting, enjoyable, and delicious experience.  I also wanted to broaden my knowledge base and gain a deeper understanding of cooking.  Becoming a chef has always been a dream of mine- one I never thought I’d get the opportunity to fulfill.  I attended the Gala last February and was so impressed with the evening that I decided to look further into the program.  As life made it possible for me to attend the program, I took advantage of it.  I’m thrilled to be apart and to be learning and developing new skills. ”

Happy Thursday!

xoxo~ Ruthie

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