This is part 2 of a 5 part series on my adventures at the CIA Boot Camp. You can see other posts here:
Our Boot Camp instructor was Chef Michael, our student worker was Dale, and our dishwasher was Elvia. Dale helped us with finding things and he did a lot of fetching during the week. We took all of our dishes, except the knives, to the back room where Elvia washed them and put them away. The knives were kept separate, for safety reasons. So, we didn’t have to do dishes, but we were responsible for cleaning up our work area at the end of the day.
Topics covered in the Day 2 lecture, and reinforced in the kitchen included:
- Dry-Heat Cooking with Fats & Oils
- Thickening Agents
- Classic and Contemporary Sauces
We learned that the word saute actually means “to jump.” It requires small amounts of fat, high heat and a rapid technique. We also learned about stir fry, pan fry and deep fry methods. And of course, sauces to go with our meat dishes.
The class was designed for 4 teams of 4 each, or a total of 16 students. There were 6 students in our class, so we divided into 3 groups. Each team of 2 had a lot of food to prepare for that day. In fact, we had 4 dishes: a salad, a meat, and 2 vegetable dishes. As well as a sauce or gravy for one of the dishes. Only one team succeeded in creating all 4 dishes. Two teams, mine included, did not prepare their salads.
The first day of cooking was the roughest. We had to learn where all the food was stored, where all the dishes and utensils were stored, and plan everything with out team mate. Even with eliminating the salads (although we had started them), we still didn’t finish on time.
On the other hand, all of the food was quite good – pictures follow. We ate family style, of course, and got to taste everything that was made. I was hungry that day at lunch. And I may or may not have eaten more than I should. In fact, I never ate again that Tuesday. AND, it would be Saturday before I even really felt hungry again. We were definitely well-fed.
Fun Facts we learned today:
- You should chop fresh herbs just before you use them, otherwise they will begin to taste grassy.
- When you add milk to a warm sauce mixture, you need to warm the milk first. You’ll only do it the other way once, because it will curdle and you’ll have a big, unforgettable mess!
- Mushrooms are wusses – they sweat very easily. If you pile them up in the pan, they will simmer rather than sear.
Team 1 (my team) prepared:
- Pork Cutlet with Mustard Beurre Blanc
- Braised Red Cabbage
Team 2 prepared:
- Sauteed Chicken Breast with Wild Mushroom Ragout
- Potato Gnocchi
- Sauteed Spinach
Team 3 prepared:
- B.L.T. Salad with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing
- Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Country Gravy
- Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon
- Glazed Carrots
Got questions about my CIA Boot Camp experience? Leave a comment below or use my contact page.
This is the second in a series of 5 blog posts on my adventures at the CIA. Look for the series to continue for the next few Fridays. To view other posts: