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CIA Week 2, 2012 – Baking for Chefs

My brain is swollen.  Too much visual, auditory and taste sensory input.  Second week at the CIA (I’m done for a while, as I try to absorb, defacto, all the information) for a course called “Desserts from the Hot Kitchen”.  In other words, baking for non-pastry chefs.  Most savory chefs are not trained or very […]

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CIA, Round 2 — FIGHT!

I’m Baaaack!  In school that is.  I am starting on my Level 2 (Executive Chef) certification.  I am not sure yet if I am going to take the week long exam officially, but I’m preparing as if I am.  This will take about a year to do the intensive, study the (many) textbooks and practice […]

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The Test

Woo Hoo!!!!  I PASSED!!!!! This is not an exam for the faint of heart.  The pressure is heavy, the hours of sleep are light and the critique is brutal and nitpicky.  Knowing (and expressing) what you did wrong-or were not happy with- is as important as what you did right.  K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple, Stupid) […]

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The Practice Test

At the appointed time, saran wrapped plates in hand, I RUN to my assigned station.  Not only did I pull a crappy station-no storage, in the main traffic isle and in front of the dairy refrigerator where other students are “resting” ingredients on my station and a delicate fish entrée, but I have pulled an […]

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Can I Just Take the Test Already!?!?

So my final exams have been postponed.  The CIA is going through a full time student expansion-spurred by all the food-related TV shows that make chefing seem exciting- they are utilizing the CE kitchens and voila-no space for the practical exams.  SO, no finals until July 5th.  UGH. Need go home and keep the excitement […]

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Duck, Duck, DUCK

Duck!!  No, nothing’s coming at you, but I just finished a workshop on Chinese Banquet and my goal was to learn about making Peking Duck.  After eating the dish at the infamous Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant in Beiing several years ago, I was curious to know how this duck dish was made and to […]

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Entrée Project = Cleaning

Today is “clean out the fridge day”.  They call it an “entrée project”, but it is really “clean out the fridge day”.   So we are to create a breakfast or brunch item around leftover ingredients in the refrigerator.  We can’t order anything new-not even an herb.  Our team did a ham and cheese bread pudding, […]

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Salmon and Corned Beef and Ham, Oh My!

Now for a riddle: How many marines does it take to turn out 5 dishes in 2.5 hours? Answer: more than 2.  Today, our team is shorted, somebody is sick.  So here we go, trying to make up for the absence of that person.  I am a bit worried as my cohort is one of […]

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“Hellendaise”

If I say “poached eggs”?  What do you think of?  Go!  No, not that!  Now keep your mind on the food!  Eggs Benedict is the correct answer.  So EVERYONE knows that Eggs Benedict is poached eggs and Canadian bacon (closer to ham than American bacon) on a English muffin, SMOTHERED in Hellandaise, oops!  HOLLANDAISE.  So, […]

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Still Doing Breakfast

I hate breakfast-both eating it, which this week is my dinner every night, and making it.  Aside from eggs, which will encompass an entire test day, along with stocks, this stuff will not be on the exam.  Apparently, most of the instructors hate it too-or at least some of it.  My team was assigned Muesli, […]

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