Garde Manger Finals

Garde Manger Finals means this is the last of the class posts for a few weeks.

Our final full week of Garde Manger had students exploring some aspects of molecular gastronomy and perfecting carving skills.

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.

Gulf Oysters, Blood Orange Vinegar Pearl, Duck Fat Powder

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.

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Another week in Garde Manger

Chilled Mussels with Miami Mustard Sauce

This week in Garde Manger we did a study of hors d’oeuvres and started to learn some basic vegetable carving.

We had one small event with 125 grazers, several evening events and now to work on a grand finale buffet the week after next.

Next week we focus on getting carving skills perfected and learning some molecular gastronomy elements for contemporary garnishing applications.

The most fun comes when the teams plan their final presentation that must incorporate everything we have covered so far in class.

This means I am expecting a spectacular centerpiece using carvings, sculpting vegetables, tallow or salt dough. One of the pieces I teach them is a carved daikon peacock. easy to do yet looks very complicated.

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This Week in Garde Manger – Sandwiches

This week in Garde Manger class they learned about making pickles, condiments and sandwiches. While most people know what a sandwich is, very few can actually make a ‘really good’ sandwich.

Sandwiches draw odd emotions from people. Some love them and some actually get angry at poor little sandwiches. There is a blog where the host actually uses the ‘f ‘ word regarding sandwiches. He seems quite hostile towards them. Amazing.

Really? Get angry at a sandwich?

Some have sworn them off for life, some get sick of them after eating sandwiches day after day after day. (Remember, we always have a choice.)

Some eat the same one always. For instance whenever I go into a Subway or Quiznos, I always order the BMT or Italian, toasted. Hands down, that is my favorite sandwich where ever I go. At home I make a wide variety, but not the Italian ones. I buy those out. Why? I don’t know, it is just the way I do it. My sandwich quirk.

I love a good sandwich. Here is what makes up “good”.

The four sandwich elements:

  • Bread –  sliced varieties, artisan, rolls, buns, wraps, look around, choose what you love or looks great
  • Spread – mustard, ketchup, chutney, relishes, aioli, mayonnaise, dressings , tapenade, taziki
  • Filling  – sliced meats, cheeses, vegetables, bound salads, fruit, cured meats, tinned fish, fried chicken, fish or vegetables
  • Garnish – lettuce, sliced tomatoes, caramelized onions, sliced apples or pears, arugula, spinach

All elements contribute to either a great sandwich eating experience or one that simple stops the growling in your stomach.

Choose great ingredients from each category and you will end up with a nice product. Shake it up and do something different.

Personally every time I eat, I want it to be an experience. Even if it is a snack. Since I have no desire to be fat, overweight or insolent, and considering how much I love food, there isn’t any time for poorly flavored or poorly prepared food.

Student assignments included: muffuletta, gyros (with grilled lamb leg), Italian hoagie, Maine lobster roll, Rubens, open face French radish and ham, Cubans and more.

We did an “Ultimate Dog and Burger Day” but I forgot my camera that day so no photos, sorry. If anyone sends me some of the Dog and Burger Day, I’ll add-on to this post.

Students made mustard, different ketchup styles: mushroom, yellow pepper and tomato – none like Heinz, pickles, aioli, and side things like vegetable chips and Greek fries.

Turkeys and prime ribs were roasted, cooled and sliced. Lamb legs were roasted and grilled. Whole pork loins, seasoned, marinated and roasted for the perfect Cuban sandwich with ham, mustard and pickles. Students made pita for the gyros. (The week after next they start making their own cheese.)

Our kitchens smelled so good!

Next week they start hors d’ oeuvres, canapes and carving skills. Wait till you see what happens to simple vegetables. They also have their first event: “Grazing with Student Chefs” with 125 guests showing up to graze. Come back next week and see what happens.

The students did a fantastic job this week. See the photos of their work and tell me what you think!

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This Week in Garde Manger I

This was the first full week of classes for Garde Manger.

What is Garde Manger?

“Garde” as we call it, is the art of the cold kitchen. In this class we learn all about cold food preparation and presentation.

Garde covers everything from condiments, salads, sandwiches, vegetable carving, garnishes, pickles, chutney, confitures, jams, buffet and grand presentation displays.

Each week I will post a gallery of our lessons and the students work while classes are in session.

This week the lesson was “Salads“.

Students learned about grain, legume, pasta and green salads; appetizer and entrée portions and buffet or family style presentations.

In addition they learned about oil, vinegar, dressing styles and techniques.

Students learned the nuance of different of vinegar by tasting them over vanilla ice cream. They learned about the different flavors of oils by dipping bread. (The vanilla ice cream makes tasting 20+ vinegar styles so much easier on the stomach at 9 AM.)

Enjoy this visual presentation of students work from “Salad Week”

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