Friday, August 20, 2010

The Blog of the Future (dodoododoodooooo)

Some of you may be wondering what will happen to this blog now that I am done with the program at OCI.  Well, I intend to keep it, though the content will change a bit over time.

I still have the 2-month externship at the Brasserie Montmartre (more on that in a few) and I fully intend to keep you all updated with that!  After that, I am planning a trip to Europe and then back home to VA for a bit before coming back here (right now the plan is to be back around the first of the year) and starting *nom*.  Now, while I originally created this site so that my friends and family could follow my journey through OCI, I named it The Rise of *nom* for a reason.  I am pretty much considering everything from the day I started school as contributing to starting this restaurant, so I intend to keep the blog going throughout.  There probably won't be as many pictures but I will post as often as I can. externship.  I met with Sarah, the kitchen manager/sous chef at the Brasserie today.  She gave me a run down of what they need and what I will be doing, etc.  I have to say, I am exceedingly excited and more than a little intimidated.  They just lost their pastry chef and they don't have any other dedicated pastry people which  They want me to help them re-vamp their dessert menu and come up with new items and platings.  OMG!  Saturday will be my first official day and they want me to come in and just make stuff, try out recipes, etc.  While I am confident I can do it, I am definitely a little nervous about it.  This is an amazing opportunity to prove myself and improve my talents and it's HUGE!  *SQUEE*

Day 80--Last Day

(Actually Tuesday, August 17)
Well, today was the last day of the school part of school!  We had a luncheon to celebrate, give out scholarships, etc.  

Most of the school turned out to say goodbye

The other half of the room

People from my class, L to R Mary, Adam, Dana

Nicole, Erica, Celeste

Our 3 chefs in the back ground, Chef Wild, Chef Hammer and Chef Hall

The man in charge of all things sharp, edible and orderable, Woody

One of the school's founders, the esteemed Chef Wilkie

Celeste and Jessica being adorable

Most of our class L to R, Back to Front
Jennifer, Jessica, Erica, Me, Adam, Dana, Mary
Nicole, Celeste; Not pictured, Amber & Ellen
(sorry the picture is dark)

When it was over, we gave our chefs a gift from the class

It's our own motivational poster about Time Management featuring the blackest carre EVER (courtesy of Jennifer)

Love blossoms at OCI between culinary and baking & pastry
Good luck Erica and Cassidy! :-)

Jessica made us all these wonderful key chains featuring the class motto, Celeste's "Oh Dear" <3

I had a wonderful time working with everyone and I wish you all luck in future endeavors.  Keep in touch!

Check out the next post for my plans for the future of this blog and everything else!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 79

Today wasn't terribly exciting.  I made olive rolls and cheese rolls for tomorrow's luncheon with the other classes that are leaving and we cleaned. Yay.  Also, it was like 8000millionbajillion degrees in the kitchen.  Yeah, no big deal, just died from heat stroke.

Anyway, I go back tomorrow to bake off the rolls in the morning and have lunch.  Then I'm done! YAY!  I can't believe I made it through.  It was hard and exhausting but fun and wonderful.

Thank you, again, to Vince, who was there for me every night that I came home frustrated or upset and let me vent at him or just hugged me when I needed it. I don't know if I would have made it without your support and friendship.  <3

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 78--Buffet Day

Well, today was it.  It was the last real day of class and I am so very done!!!  I finished most everything in time and I'm happy with the score I got (140 out of 150).  Monday we clean and get ready for Tuesday and then Tuesday is the luncheon and it's over by 2pm.  I am looking forward to a few days off!

Anyway, to the good stuff.  There were some really excellent displays today

This was Amber's.  Unfortunately I got a picture before her set up was complete. Sorry Amber!

Ellen chose to honor Portland with a bike theme

Erica duplicated her furniture in chocolate :-)

Dana's Italian theme was awesome!

Viva Las Vegas from Jennifer
(yeah, unfortunately I didn't get a shot of the side of the house of cards.  She hand-painted them and they looked wonderful!)

Jessica danced through her buffet, just as she does with everything else. :-)

Mary went all-out and brought real china from home!

Adam honored the love of his life, Dolly Parton

Nicole showed her passion for baking

Celeste's Disney theme was great, right down to the Mickey Mouse cookies and the Pate a Choux mice! Love it!

I started off the day by going in a couple of hours early to try and get my sugar showpiece done.  If you remember, it has three components; cast, pulled and blown.  They all had to be put together to make one piece so I was going to do a ? cube from Super Mario with a mushroom coming out of it.

I did 3 cast pieces to make the shell of the cube since I didn't have time for the full thing

I started with a nice lump of melted sugar for the pulled and blown piece

Managed to make it into this (the pulled piece)...

...and this (the top of the mushroom and blown piece)

Now, unfortunately, sugar hates me apparently and decided to break two of my cast there went the cube.  But it was alright.  Through the burned fingers (melted sugar is HOT...also, when your latex gloves catch fire and melt...that's bad) and the dropping stuff, I still had enough to get everything checked off, all I had to do was put it together....then I reached for something, brushed the ball you see above and it shattered. Yep.  I was out of time for the sugar piece, I needed to get my actual buffet I finished what I was doing with the cast and pulled and gave up on it.  It means my sugar piece didn't get checked off's one point. Oh well.  Onto the food.

Here we have Key Lime-Tequila Parfait, raspberry rum truffles, puff dough cups with Irish Cream creme Chantilly and mini bourbon-pecan pies

Below the pies are apple turnovers (apples caramelized in Apple Jack Brandy) and next to them are chocolate covered brandied cherries

Candied orange slices (in the brandied cherry juice), chocolate fudge cookies with creme de menthe icing and coconut rum macaroons top it off.

After it was all graded I was able to put all of my pieces together (we were only allowed to have one of our showpieces up for grading) and here's how it all came together...


Well, that's it for projects!  Thank goodness it's all over and I can relax this weekend! I plan to have fun.  Yes. Me. Fun. Wow. ;-P

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 77

I made good progress today and I feel like I'm pretty prepared for tomorrow.  The only thing is really that I haven't done my sugar piece yet.  The plan is to get up early tomorrow morning, run a couple of errands and go into school to finish it. Ideally, when class officially starts, I will be putting the finishing touches on everything and be DONE.

Today I finished up my cookies and pecan pies, made my puff dough cups, made my Key-Lime Tequila Cream, and just generally did better than usual. YAY!

Chocolate Fudge Sour Cream Cookies with Creme De Menthe icing

Mini pecan pies (made with bourbon, of course)

My puff cups pre-baking

I also used puff dough to make apple turnover things which came out really well.  I have some finishing touches to put on them so I'll post pictures tomorrow.

I stayed a little while after class and finished my pastillage piece.  Here's the back of it...

When the royal icing holding the pieces together is dry tomorrow, I will stand it up and see how it does.  Cross your fingers!

I got an email from Emilee over at the Brasserie and they decided that they'd rather I start next week since some things are changing there, so that's cool.  Just means I get more sleep. YAY!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 76

I am pretty well on track with the food aspect of the buffet, I made the shells for my mini pecan pies and I finished my cookies.  I didn't get either of my creamy custardy stuff done but it's ok, we have more time tomorrow than we originally thought we would.  I still have to put my pastillage piece together, probably tomorrow and I have yet to do my sugar piece so we'll see how that goes. ...yay!

I do have some awesome news.  I got an externship at Brasserie Montmartre ( which is totally exciting!  I start this Friday and Saturday to train with their pastry chef, who is that should be interesting.  I'm really stoked about it and I can't wait to start, but it will be a LONG couple of days.  After class tomorrow I will go home, hang out for a couple of hours, go to bed, be at the Brasserie at 7a, class at 2p, work at 11p then back at the Brasserie at 8a on Saturday.  In any case, it's exciting and I am really happy that it's working out!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 75

I again got everything on my checklist done for today...but I'm starting to think that my list for tomorrow might be a little over-ambitious...we'll see.  Maybe with a little more sleep I'll be ok.

Sorry for the blurry picture but here's what I did today

I made coconut macaroons (with coconut rum, of course) and raspberry-rum truffles and then dipped those and the last of my brandied cherries in tempered chocolate

My chocolate didn't temper as well as I was hoping, it bloomed :-/ (a layer of fat shows up as light brown streaks on the chocolate)  Oh well.  They were tasty anyway.

Day 74

I finished my goomba today and started on the food for my buffet.  I got everything on my checklist for the day done, which is nice.  I am feeling very time-pressured and lack the energy to meet it.  While I'm excited about the buffet project (I LOVE projects!),  I think the whole menu project just took too much out of me.  I need a break and to recharge.  It's almost over though, this is our last week of class....

I started by candying fruit today.  Just a note, it's WAY better to candy whole slices and cut them into the size and shape you need them afterward than to cut them first....

It's a long process involving 4 pots...3 of boiling water for blanching and the last one on the right is full of simple syrup to simmer the fruit at the end

I candied the oranges in the cherry-brandy liquid that I made.  Hope they turn out!

They turned out pretty, anyway.  The one on the bottom I've already rolled in sugar

I still have to put my pastillage hills together and make my sugar piece but here's my goomba...

This is right out of the mold.  I could leave him like this and it would be fine....

But I felt cutting him out into his true pixelated form was more fun :-)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 73

I was able to finish my chocolate piece today and Mr. Goomba is drying nicely.  I'll take him out on Monday and see what he looks like!

In the mean time, I started on my sugar piece but that didn't work out so well (I tried twice before feeling like I was wasting my time and deciding to come back to it later).  Just to get something done, I decided to paint my pastillage with food coloring...

I will put them all together at the end of next week.

One of the pieces broke as I was sanding down the rough edges but I think I can get it back together without too much trouble. Cross your fingers!

Day 72

Now that my pastillage is drying, it was time to start my next project....Chocolate!

Since my theme is Super Mario, I chose to do a goomba for my chocolate piece.

Here he is before chocolating (my printer is running out of ink).  He's all reversed and taped down

I ran out of time before I could finish the white bit but here's most of it traced in chocolate. 

Keep in mind that what you're seeing will be covered up by a block of chocolate and the part that's actually facing the plastic will be the end result.

It's going to be a fun piece I think.  I am excited to see it done. :-)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 71

I got my pastillage done today!  Well, at least as done as I could today.  I have to wait on it to dry (possibly done by tomorrow) and then I have to paint it and put it all together but that's the easy part!

Here's what I've got so far:

These will be the background for my display, they're the hills from Super Mario!!  

The only thing is, I did run out of pastillage before I made the brace to make it stand up, so I will either have to make some more or use some of someone else's if they have extra.  In the mean time, I am going to do my chocolate piece tomorrow and hopefully start my sugar piece.  I would like to have all of my showpieces done this week so that I can spend all of next week making the food for the buffet.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 70

OMG I was completely useless today.  My brain is just fried after last night and the lack of sleep certainly hasn't helped!  I was supposed to start on my showpieces for my next project, the buffet project, which is due next Friday (the 13th) but since I really didn't have any idea what I wanted to do, I spent all day in the computer lab trying to plan out what exactly the food on the buffet would be.

The term "buffet" is a little misleading in this instance since it's really just a tray full of small items and 3 show pieces.  So here are the Terms and Conditions:

I have to have a minimum of 27 pieces of food on the buffet.  3 categories, 3 items from each and 3 pieces of each item. Confused yet?  So the first category is pastries, which encompasses a lot but the most important factor is that each item must be 3-6 bites.  This includes tartlets, cream puffs, puff pastry, etc.  The second is petit fours which need to be 2-3 bites and is also pretty well anything; cookies, small cakes, etc.  The last category should be 1-2 bites and is candies and accessories; filled chocolates, truffles, jellies, I could go on... I've pretty well designed my menu for it and, once again, it has a theme. Liquor! Because who doesn't like BOOZE??

The showpieces will be a bit more difficult.  There have to be 3 of them, one a minimum of 6"w x 10"t and the other two have to be at least 3"w x 5"t.  I have to make one of them out of pastillage, kind of like a clay that will dry hard, one out of chocolate and one out of sugar.  The sugar piece itself has to have 3 elements, a cast piece (pouring liquid sugar into a mold to set), a pulled sugar piece and a blown piece (kind of like blown glass).  I was becoming very frustrated because everything I came up with kept getting shot down by finding out more about the requirements for the pieces so tonight, when I got home, Vince helped me come up with a new plan.  MARIO! YAYYYY!  I am excited about it and will start on it tomorrow. :-D

Oh!  In all the excitement yesterday, I forgot to mention that I got a call from Pix and they offered me the position as an extern.  I haven't called back (I just haven't had time) but I am going to let her know that I appreciate it and I am definitely considering it but that I'd like to keep my options open for a little while longer.  I am still not a big fan of the idea of doing everything in the microwave.  I'm going to spend some time this weekend exploring other places and see what I can find.

Day 69--Menu Project Day!

Today was Cuh-raaaaaay-zeee.  I cannot tell you how glad I am that it's over!  I'm super exhausted and I've only had a few hours of sleep in the last few days.  That being said, things went very well.

We basically had 3 hours to prep in the kitchen today, an hour to get everything we needed together/finish things and then it was go time.  We had 15 minutes to plate 2 desserts (I know it doesn't sound like much but when you're super nervous and shaky and forgot to draw your stupid diagrams, the time goes FAST).  So at 6:45pm we started plating the plate going out for service (which was my pastry) and one of the other 3 of our choosing.  At 7:00pm, while Chef was evaluating the ones we'd finished, we started plating another of the service plates for our classmates to evaluate and one of the remaining two.  At 7:15pm, we plated the last dessert.  It was a nerve-wracking but somewhat enjoyable process and I feel pretty proud of what I did.

If you remember, my connecting element was ginger between all the plates but I challenged myself to introduce it in new ways each time.  First up was my custard.

Dream A Little Dream
Orange dreamsicle cheesecake topped with vanilla buttercream and a candied orange slice dipped in ginger sugar, garnished with ginger creme anglaise.

Next was my chocolate piece:

The Number 42
(because chocolate is the answer)
A layer of Devil's Food Cake, topped with ginger chocolate mousse, wrapped in a tempered chocolate band and garnished with white chocolate, chocolate sauce and raspberry coulis.

My fruit dish:

Princess Peach
White peach slices coated in ginger sugar lining a caramel batter bowl and filled with raspberry curd.  Garnished with ginger creme anglaise and raspberry coulis.

And last but certainly not least, my service plate and what I hope will be one of the signature dishes of *nom*:

The iTart
A triple ginger cookie crust filled with thinly-sliced apples and brandied cherries, topped with crumble topping and served with vanilla bean ice cream in a caramel bowl, garnished with caramel sauce and the cherry brandy juice cooked down into a sauce.

It was definitely a learning experience and there are a few things I would change but over all I am happy.  And glad it's done.  So very glad.  My scores on my plates were decent two 17's and two 18's out of 20.  I won't know my full project scores until Thursday since there are two more groups yet to go.  

The best part?  I have fabulous friends!  I had 8 people come out to support me and it was wonderful!  I could feel the love all the way in the kitchen. 

Up front is Liza, I've known her since we were little and it was her birthday!  <3

From the back left, Brandon (who I had not met in person, he's another hotel vampire like me), Chanelle in the back right, Victoria next to her, then Roy, then Gloria and Matt.  And of course, front left, my lovely friend Vincent, who I could not have done this without (at least not as sanely as I did).

Thank you again to everyone who came, it means so much to me and I am really happy I got to share this with all of you. <3 <3 <3!!!