Tuesday, October 04, 2005

First Week at Le Cordon Bleu

Three people cut their fingers; one person never showed up; one girl lost her wedding ring (later found); another thought she’d lost her mind when she couldn’t find her things in the locker after class (she used the wrong locker and the rightful owner of the locker turned her things in to the administrator); many people locked themselves out of their own lockers (myself included, twice. LCB has a really stupid locker system). Yup, that about sums up my first practical session at Le Cordon Bleu. Eventful, huh!

So what did we make? Fruit salad (to practice cutting fruits the correct way) and Flan au Caramel (aka pudding).



The first lesson wasn’t too bad because the subjects were relatively simple. Besides the salad and pudding, the teacher also demonstrated how to make crème brulee. The fruit salad was really nice due in large part to the quarter of a vanilla bean that was thrown into the mixture. The pudding was the creamiest and most flavorful I’ve ever had. Granted, I don’t usually order the humble flan au caramel in restaurants so I only have the convenient store variety as a yardstick, but I’m still pretty sure it was good. I have mixed feelings about the crème brulee, however. On the one hand, the full-on vanilla flavor was heavenly (can you see the vanilla seeds swimming on top?); but on the other hand, I felt that the texture was not as creamy as the one I made the more scientific way. (LCB does not believe in giving baking time so everything is done by eye-balling, without even a timer! I find this very hard to get used to.)

I hate to sound like a wimp but I was EXHAUSTED after a full day of class (3 hours practical plus 3 hours lecture). Interestingly it wasn’t the practical session that tired me out, it was all that Japanese thrown at me during lecture that gave me a huge headache. It felt exactly like the first week at work: brain overload. The problem is that I have to listen to the lecture in Japanese and take notes in English at the same time. Maybe I will go for the test for simultaneous interpretation after I’m done with LCB, but for now it’s taking every bit of energy and concentration I have in me. It’s still fun though, and I can’t wait till my next practical, where we make classic apple tart. It’s a beauty to behold. I hope mine turns out pretty.

13 comments:

bilbo said...

hey lynn,
the food looks really good. I hear you, abt the overload thingie. Am in an all japanese environment and dont undersand a lot of it.
Hoping you have a fun time at the classes.

chocokat0718 said...

What, a bit of drama in the beginning eh? How exciting though, Lynn!! :D

Hsin said...

You go girl!!! Sounds like this is right up your alley, all this hard work with instant translations and eyeballing. The flan looked great, although, I hate to sound stupid, but what's the difference between flan and creme bulee? And by the way, I thought cooking was quite scientific. If you eyeball, how are you supposed to tell if everything's cooked inside?? And re instant translations, perhaps you'd like to become one of the interpreters at press conferences for visiting stars promoting movies. I sometimes end up watching these press conferences and they're hilarious, just because the actor/actress looks largely bewildered through the questions.

anna said...

i thought eyeballing was for savory food & measuring for baking. wow, that's hard. that's why i suck at it. :)

Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

Sounds mad but fun. First days are always tough. Soon you'll be sailing!

Lynn said...

Thanks guys, I am having fun and can't wait till my next lesson!

Hsin, shame on you! Didn't you just have a creme brulee at my house last week? the creme part is almost the same, except creme brulee has more egg yolks, but flan is topped with caramel sauce and creme brulee is topped with sugar and then torched to give it a crispy layer.

Anna, we are supposed to learn how to gauge with experience, which we all don't have any yet.

bok choy boy said...

What would an experience be if not a memorable one? Glad to see you following your dream, Lynn!!! Look forward to hearing about your journey as you go along.

frank said...

おいしい, すてきな
Pardon my lousy Japanese, Lynn.
I hope I'd made my point...

Lady Lavender of the Kitchen said...

First day sounded rough!

That's so funny that they had a proper way to cut fruit : ) I wonder if that's a japan thing, a cordon bleu thing or if it's just standard. I have no idea.

~e

Lynn said...

BCB - call it a mini mid-life crisis, but I figured if I didn't do it now I'd always regret it.

Frank - thanks, we should speak Japanese next time I see you =o)

Lady Lavender - I'm not sure either, but I suspect it's the LCB way because they try to keep everything the same among all the schools. We even use ingredients from France as much as possible.

aficionado said...

hsin, you can tell if a creme brulee is fully cooked by jiggling it. basically if it comes away from the sides or when you touch it lightly and it sticks to your finger then it needs more time. the reason why we need to judge by touch and sight is because of variables like people opening and closing the oven all the time, uneven temp in the oven, whether or not you're using a fan-forced convection and so on everything comes with experience.

cucina testa rossa said...

oh i am having flashback of cuts and burns and locker room trauma. congratulations on surviving so far. if you are up for a cafe, give a shout.

アレレ said...

Hi there,
I just so happened to stumple upon your blog when I was searching for Le Cordon Bleu.

I read that you had completed your patisserie course in Tokyo. Now I am starting my basic patisserie course in Kobe next Sunday.

Although you might have completed yours donkey years ago, but I like to know how was it like?