Feet up for now

Wannabe chef downs his bouchée in two

So I’m 8 weeks in and happy to have passed Basic Cuisine. Technically I’m a third of a (commis) chef now. Am I? Dunno. I don’t feel like I’ve even scratched the culinary surface yet. Confidence is growing though and I’m excited about Intermediate Cuisine and whatever is coming.

It has been amazing. I’m very lucky to be doing what I’m most passionate about, each and every day. It’s hard to put into words just how happy I am. Honestly, I’m dreaming about cooking and, in that semi-conscious moment just before waking, my brain is already thinking about the cooking du jour. When my alarm goes off at 5:45am I’m instantly fired up and my brain is fully switched on. Off to school I go, with a smile on my face.

And I know it’s going to get better and better. I try to keep myself grounded because I know it’s going to get more challenging too. After all we’re being trained for the bionic atmosphere of professional kitchens. But with more dishes, new ingredients, and more advanced techniques it’s just going to get more and more interesting. I only seem to notice how tired I am when I’m not in school. Nevertheless, when I’m not cooking I’m watching cooking videos, reading about the theory of food, relaxing with foodie magazines, or researching culinary ideas (for when I have time again).

There’s a crazy schedule ahead. I hope I can experience more of Le Cordon Bleu itself—I mean it’s the birthplace of gastronomy and spiritual home of cooking for god’s sake! I especially hope I can get to some of the guest chef events. So far these have clashed with practicals and I feel like I’m missing out on the community and some special opportunities.

On a lighter note, peeps have asked me what my favourite dish has been so far? That’s a tricky one.

Most surprising were the pastries. I grew up on Welsh pasty and various pies but for so many years anything with pastry, savoury or sweet, has been a treat for me. Sure, you can look at them and go, “Yeah, it’s a quiche and a vol-au-vent” but there’s no denying the incredible flavours of the Quiche Lorraine and the Bouchées. much of the flavour is in the fillings but the flavour, richness and texture in the pastry itself takes joy to a new level. Ask Roberta.

My favourite dish? Probably the pan-fried chicken Champeaux. Tender, succulent chicken and mushrooms in a deep sauce with a tarragon hit, served with glazed baby onions and potato noisettes.

Onwards McDuff!

Pan-fried chicken Champeaux

Quiche Lorraine

Bouchée filled with herby mushrooms