Three More Weeks {Adventures in Culinary School}

We kicked off this blog in June just as we had moved to Vermont and Harrison was venturing into a Culinary Arts program at NECI .  Fast forward to today and guess what -he has less than three weeks of actual coursework left!  In a blink of an eye the student will become an almost graduated intern.  Holy smokes.

How is he doing it so fast you might ask?  Well NECI offers this fantastic advanced placement program for “experienced industry professionals” (a.k.a. those who already pulled the back to back double shifts cooking their way through the school of hard knocks).  If you qualify, you have an opportunity to place out of courses through hands-on and written tests to speed up the process and get back to grind.  That option mixed with the school’s focus on sustainable agriculture is what sealed the deal for us.  One year (six months on-campus and six months interning in a working kitchen) and that nagging life’s goal will be checked complete.  Take that 30!

You know it’s funny. When I look back at our posts, I realized that we haven’t been giving you the inside culinary school scoop as planned.  Truth is, this culinary journey is turning out to be our chance to really grow in the kitchen together and learn more about ourselves as individuals along the way.  And you know what, it’s been eye-opening to say the least… in all the best ways.

But in an effort to keep you up to speed on what he has been learning and keep you in on this adventure with us, today we’re serving you up a big ol’ helping of some of his culinary school creations thus far (as translated by me) …

Baking

This is from the dreaded week of 5am start times where he learned breads, baked goods and pastries which were supplied to the school's public bakery. Holla' for his pretty challah bread.

You ask the guy to make you homemade cinnamon rolls and he takes it to another level. Seriously, I have never seen that many come out of a can.

Meat Fabrication

This was the 3 week period where I received random daily texts full of meat breakdowns and a thumbs up. The girl in the center shares my sentiments. Let's move on shall we...

Art of Cuisine

Don't let him fool you. He pulled this out of his catering bag of tricks. But nevertheless, it's a pretty cool self-taught trick, don't you agree?

Homework assignment: Create a fun to-go item for guests. He taught himself how to make fortune cookies and raided the local chinese spot for packaging. Voila. Your homemade fortune to go.

Assignment: His group created a colorful platter of fish terrines. For those not familiar, a terrine is a French forcemeat loaf similar to a pâté. Or as I like to call it "jellied meatfloaf".

 
 

Wow caviar. I wonder what I had for lunch that day...

 
 

The Notorious B.I.G. inspired dish: his take on t-bone steak, cheese, eggs and Welch's grape

 
 
 

Chocolate Port Sauce. Bayley Hazen Bleu Cheese. Candied Nuts. Sign me up for seconds.

 

 Mediterranean Cuisine

Assignment: Create a real dinner special to offer at the school's restaurant. Here is one of his, wild boar, which sold out one night.


Catering

Special canape for Sunday Brunch at the restaurant: grilled baguette with pear mostarda, goat cheese, lamb tenderloin and fried sage.

 

Taste and Flavor

Mmmm... right up my alley. Assignment: Pair drink and food with complimentary flavor profiles. A sweet, sour & salty mojito meets a sweet, sour, & salty taco.

 

Stuffed bouchees.

  

Seared Salmon with Brown Butter and Sage Beurre Blanc, Fried Capers, Horseradish Potato Croquettes, Braised Swiss Chard with Bacon Lardons, Cipollini Onions and Roasted Garlic.

 

 Plated Desserts

Happy Birthday Carolyn... whoever you are. Tres Leches Cake with salted caramel and creme fraiche ice cream.

 
 

Almond chiffon with raspberry filling with orange buttercream and candied orange peel.

 
 

Another view

 
 

One of my favorites. Doesn't it look so refreshing? Pomegranate sorbet trifle.

 
So there you have it.  One more course to go!
 
Until we dish it up again,
A + H
 
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