Over 5 weeks have now passed of my Leiths Diploma! It feels a weird combination of week 1 being ages ago, but also wondering how the weeks have passed in such a flash. The fact that I’m now in the 2nd half of the first term is terrifying! Here’s what happened in week 5…
· It wasn’t exactly the healthiest week: Tuesday’s cooking session was one long sugar high with both lemon meringue pie and swiss roll on the menu, followed on Wednesday with possibly one of the best dems so far: deep frying. Sitting in the dem room as plate after plate of different deep fried food was passed round – fish, chips, tempura, goujons, beignets etc – was one of those pinch yourself moments. I’m trying to convince myself that since we only have mouthfuls of each dish it won’t be too bad for me, but I guess we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to work out exactly what effect the cookery school diet is having!
· Jointing a chicken into 8 perfect and even pieces remains my nemesis. I practised at the weekend ready for making it again in class on Wednesday but I still hate it. Definitely been put off chicken for a while. It’s weird, at school I never would have been scared of the fact that I struggled with my Maths homework whereas the fact that I can’t joint a chicken properly scares me! I guess it shows that I care a heck of a lot more about cooking than I ever did about algebra… Nevertheless, I will keep practising and my freezer will just gradually fill up with a whole selection of chicken pieces!
· Thursday was our biggest challenge yet as we had our first day of all day cooking, rather than just our usual 3 hour session. We had to make stew, mash, 5 dishes for a brunch at 12 and éclairs in the afternoon. The morning passed easily (if very busily) and we got to sit and eat our brunch in the kitchen on our tables, rather than having to hurriedly grab a few bites and bin or clear away. Food never tastes quite the same after it’s been chucked in a tupperware or sandwich bag and carried down a few flights of stairs, so this was definitely a treat! After an all too brief lunch break it began to hit us that we still had a good 3 hours left of rushing round the kitchen rather than sitting peacefully in a demo! We were all a little bit delirious and exhausted by the end of it, but it was actually really fun and definitely brought us closer together as group. Also, new found respect for professional chefs who do much longer than 9hour shifts, day after day!
· Our next big challenge will be cooking an 8 dish buffet for 32 people – a task that currently feels very daunting but luckily is not for a few weeks yet, so I still have time to work on my speed and various other skills that need polishing! Chicken jointing, I’m coming for you. Bring on week 6!