While the students did a great job with various carving skills, I got the impression this class would rather actually cook than play with making garnishes.
Which is why they had a couple of days to play with a bit of molecular gastronomy. They used tapioca maltodextrin to create powders from olive oil, bacon fat and duck fat. It was sprinkled on french fries, chips, oysters and played within general.
They played with spheres, making pearls and eggs from various liquids like cucumber juice, blood orange vinegar and coffee. Not together of course. They created a jellied piña colada layered sphere – coconut, rum, pineapple – nice concept but awkward to serve and eat.
They cured watermelon in vacuum pack and served it with a seared duck breast and corn jus.
Using the Pâté de Fruit method, they were given an assignment of creating a jelly that would melt in the mouth or inside of something.
Examples being: a jellied stock with a morsel of meat, chicken or fish inside a dumpling. When cooked, the dumpling is full of the flavorful liquid inside. A surprising bite.
They made 4 different kinds of gravlax; a salmon cured with salt, sugar, herbs and spices.
I plan on working more of these things into the garde manger curriculum. These techniques are found out in high-end and cutting edge restaurants so why not explore it while in school.
The final assignment was to do an hors d’oeuvres party for 40 people. They had to plan, set up and do the entire event.
I think they did a terrific job.
Garde Manger II starts at the end of March. That session will feature curing meats, smoking, pate, terrines and all the other sides of garde manger.
Enjoy the slide show.