Today was the final for American Regional – probably the most disappointing performance I’ve had for a final, not that I was alone however.
The assignments weren’t all that hard – make a salad that needed to consist of a base and three other things, one of which needed to be crunchy; a main course of jerk chicken, rice pilaf and a veg of our choosing; and our choice of dessert from key lime pie, peach pie or flan. Of course I opted for the flan. There was also a technical part which consisted of half a cup of brunoise carrot and half a cup of julienned carrot.
For the salad I used some mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, julienned zucchini, toasted/candied walnuts, goat cheese and made a tarragon/champaigne vinaigrette. Everything came together fairly well but Chef thought the salad overall was a bit small. For the most parts salads have been one of my weaknesses, so I was content at this point.
While the chicken was marinating I set to work on the flan and once they were in the oven I turned my attention to the main course. The rice pilaf was there only as a test of our skills and it was amazing to see how poorly most people performed. My pilaf was judged to be “not done” which I thought and still think is bullshit and my chicken (fairly) was deemed “dry”. The veg was just there and not graded, but the broccoli added some much needed color.
The flan turned out to save the day for me and was served with a caramel sauce with some more candied walnuts. Never underestimate the importance custards, especially if you can make them well. Custards have turned into my “go to” dessert I suppose. I don’t know why but they do fascinate me.
And for the technical portion my julienne were deemed “too long” though the very average score I received was above the class average – not that that’s saying much.
Overall I’m not sure where things went wrong. As I look back at the last three weeks a lot of it felt like bullshit, like we were just treading water in many ways. My attitude towards American comfort foods doesn’t explain my lackluster performance in this class however.
I’ve considered that for 13 days we were judged/graded in a pretty lax manner and on the last day he sticks it to us. I don’t care about the raising of standards, but I think the bar should have been set high from day 1.
In the end though I wasn’t happy with my own performance and it’s up to me to make the necessary adjustments for the future.
No kitchen work the next three weeks – tomorrow we start Food & Beverage Cost Control and Nutrition. Let’s see how it goes.