Day 4 of Adventures in Culinary Land and a Secret Revealed

If you promise not to tell anyone I’ve got a secret to share with you ………… promise? ………….okay, I’m trusting you ……….

…………. I have terrible hair! Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I look like a rooster because my hair sticks straight up out of my head. I’ve been known to look in the mirror first thing in the morning and start cock-a-doodle-dooing! I’m serious. I can get it to look fairly decent, but it takes a lot of coaxing and it doesn’t stay put very well. My kids laugh at me cause I need a bunch of hairspray for it to stay somewhat acceptable. So……. I don’t wear hats, even if it’s very cold, only if it’s freeeeeeeezing. I’m just kind of funny about my hair.
So there you have it, one of my secrets that I try to keep to myself. I’m telling you this because this week has been different. I’ve had to wear a hat all week and I haven’t even cared about my hair, haven’t even cared that I’ve looked like a pancake in front of all sorts of people when I’ve taken it off!
Do you want to know why?
It’s because I’ve been wearing a CHEF’s hat all week ………….. a real chef’s hat! I’ve been studying French cooking at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York at one of their week long Boot Camps. One of the requirements for students in this program is a uniform which consists of a traditional white chef’s coat along with black and white houndstooth checked pants and a tall pleated chef’s hat. It’s been a dream-come-true for me to be here and the hat has been ………… well, it’s been kind of a badge of honor for me …………. irregardless of “the hair”! 🙂 So there you know my secret ………… but  remember, you promised not to tell anyone!

Seriously, it’s been a wonderful week that has sped by like lightening – I can’t believe that tomorrow is the last day and I’ll be packing up my white jackets, checked pants and tall white hats and saying (sadly) au revoir to the CIA. At the same time, I’m excited because my husband/photographer joined me today and tomorrow we head down the Hudson River to New York City where he’ll studying food photography and styling at ICE – the Institute of Culinary Education.

We’ve been apart all week so I’m going to make this post short, but I did want to share a few pictures with you from the day. We studied the geography and culture and agriculture of Central France, Bordeaux, Gascony & Basque Country along with Languedoc-Rousillon today and cooked traditional foods from these regions. My cooking partner, Kenneth and I prepared Omelette á la Basquaise (omelets filled with a roasted red pepper mixture), Gigot á la Solognote (roasted leg of lamb), Aligot (potato, garlic and cheese purée),
and Carottes Glacés (glazed carrots). The two other teams prepared an equally ambitious menu so lunch was one again, truly and epicurean delight!
P.S. I learned to make the perfect French omelet today. The first five I was horrible at but by the time I got to 9 or 10 they were looking quite acceptable! BRAVO to me!
A few scenes from the kitchen today ……..
Jeff, Beverly and Maria all looking (and cooking!) like pros.
My cooking partner, Kenneth(right) and our wonderful assistant Tim. Tim is close to finishing up at the CIA. It seems that whenever we have a question, problem or need to know where to find something, Tim almost magically shows up to solve our dilemmas.
Kenneth is very energetic in the kitchen (he runs circles around me!). He finished up his assignments early today so he decided to do some “extra credit”. He made the most delightful, light as a feather French donuts called Pets de Nonne. Sounds quite sophisticated, right? ……NOT! ………. You’ll never believe what the translation of that is …………… are you ready? ……………… Nun’s Farts! It seems that the French have quite a sense of humor…….
Why is it that when Chef Bruno demonstrate the perfect French omelet it looks making omelets is a piece of cake but when I try it, it takes me five floopers before I get one right …………… not perfect but acceptable…….
Miranda (left) was another of our assistants today. She’s a student here at the CIA. She was invaluable today, in fact without her, we’d probably still be the kitchen!
Like I mentioned above, one of my assignments today was French omelets. They had a delicious filling made from roasted red peppers, tomatoes,  onions, and garlic. One of the great things we learned this week is Mise en Place which is a French term meaning “everything in it’s place”. At the CIA this term is used to refer to the importance of organizing and arranging all of your ingredients on a tray before beginning to cook. This is my Mise en Place tray for my omelets.
A demonstration on cutting onions the “French” way. Why didn’t I think of this, it makes so much sense.
I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t mind any of these cute young fellows cooking dinner for me. These are a few of the professional CIA students on break. They all seem to love what they’re doing!
All done for the day, very tired still grinning like a you-know-what. See you tomorrow!  Au revoir!

25 thoughts on “Day 4 of Adventures in Culinary Land and a Secret Revealed”

  • you really made me chuckled reading about your hair! now what is it abt the nun’s farts?! haha..that’s really so funny!i think you will probably never forget this french word!

  • Tim assisted us when I took the Basics bootcamp earlier this year, and he was amazing…always there when we needed him, never ruffled, extremely brave when it came to lighting the cranky stoves, always able to find exactly what you needed, and always able to rescue a recipe when something went wrong. By the way, in my class, mise en place was everything. We were not permitted to bring our recipes into the kitchen! It was fabulous!

  • You look great in your hat Chris, but I bet it took a while to get used to. My hair sticks out normally, no hat needed 🙂

    Your omelets sound fantastic. My husband is our omelet maker. He would have had a wonderful time in this class.

  • Hi Chris, it looks and sounds like both you and your husband had your dream come true throughout the week..It must have been an amazing experience judging from all your posts, with lots of good food involved..Loved the pictures, thank you for sharing your experience and I wish that you could relive it before long..Have a great week, hope you’ll have time to rest..XO

  • One of the things I just don’t do well is French omelets. I can make acceptable looking omelets, but a different style – I really do need to learn how to make the classic. I envy you! Loving your adventures.

  • I’ve thought of you this week and have been so envious (no, not of the hair) and now thinking of your husband going to food photography school – well, I’m over the top filled with envy. Envy and joy that you two are following your dream. What a fantastic week! You look blissfully happy under that hat, Chris! 🙂 (and so you should)

  • Ohhh too bad it’s almost over Chris,,
    Beautiful pictures, thank you so much for this trip my friend, of course I will wait for your last post tomorrow. I have to tell you though you’re quite a good photographer yourself. I love the pictures.
    Hugs and Kisses have a wonderful weekend in New York

  • We all have our secrets:) Omelettes are not that easy to prepare, when done à la française, I tried a couple of times and I think I’m getting a little bit better at it. Everything à la basquaise pleases me…

  • Just typed a comment which seems to have gone AWOL!!

    I laughed at your hair story, my hair is very curly and how ever I sleep on it that is how it sets, often straight up in the air LOL.

    I am so jealous of you with your cookery course, and of your husband with his photography course. Two things I would like to do well.

    Take care, Diane

  • I had to laugh about you hair, my hair is very curly and however I sleep on it that is how it sets overnight LOL Often straight up in the air.

    I am so jealous of you doing this course and also of your husband doing a photography course. Two things I would love to be good at.

    Take care. Diane

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