Goals: My goal this week is to stay healthy, be focused, and keep my area clean. I didn’t feel completely well last week, so I want to make sure to manage my time, get enough rest, and be ready for the week to come.
Expectations: Next week Chef Hamada will be teaching us about seafood. I have the least experience cooking seafood, so I expect it to be challenging, and I hope to learn a lot about cooking seafood because I don’t know much now. I don’t know what his teaching style is like, so that will be a new experience too.
Reflection of Experiences:
Friday was an easier and shorter day. We worked on rice pilaf, polenta, risotto, baked potato, and prep for court bouillon. The recipes went pretty well, and I did a pretty good job of keeping my area cleaner today. I think we were all relieved to make it to the end of the week, especially with all the homework we had due today. I’ve tried making risotto before, but I think now I have a better idea of what the final texture should be like – nice and creamy. Starches overall have been less stressful and simpler. It was a nice little break.
Tuesday was another easier day. We worked on finishing our julienned onions and carrots for the court bouillon first. Chef Hamada told us to work on our grips, keeping our fingers curled, and having good posture, all good things to not forget. Then we prepared the court bouillon, which was a very simple recipe. It doesn’t taste good to drink, but I’m curious what the fish will taste like after we poach it in the court bouillon. Then, we did prep for the cioppino, and later Chef Hamada talked about how to inspect and store seafood overnight. He also prepped and cooked lobster and crab (boiled and baked). It was delicious both ways. I learned a lot about seafood storage and cooking crab and lobster today.
On Wednesday we spent most of the day working on cioppino. It was my first time working with a lot of the seafood, so I learned a lot – how to shuck oysters and clams, how to clean squid, how to sear seafood. It was messy but fun. Chef Hamada also demoed how to fillet a whole salmon, and then we poached salmon in the court bouillon we made yesterday. I thought the salmon would pick up more acidity. It stayed nice and moist though, so it tasted pretty good.
Thursday we spent the day on the snapper. It was very messy but fun eviscerating and filleting the snapper. I enjoy seeing the process of preparing food closer to its natural state; it’s more interesting to fillet a fish yourself than to just buy a fillet at the store. It also gave me a better understand of fish anatomy. I never had any idea how the gills were connected to the head and the innards. I had some trouble with not tearing the fillet, but I think I can get better if I practice. I also had some trouble removing the skin from the fillet. It was pretty easy to sear the fillet, but I messed up the brown butter sauce. I burned it the first time, so I had to remake it. The sauce tasted pretty good with the seared fillet.
This week was seafood week, and I got to learn a lot about seafood and do a lot of prep and cooking that I have no experience with. I definitely learned a lot about what to look for in fresh seafood, how to store it properly, how to clean it, how to prepare it, and how to cook it. Scaling and eviscerating the snapper was quite fun. I wouldn’t want to do it everyday, but it was a positive experience, and I will definitely try it at home. Eating all the seafood this week was also great.
When we were searing seafood for cioppino, my shrimp was overcooked, which was disappointing because that is the one seafood in the dish that I have more experience with. I didn’t pay attention to my heat while I was searing the shrimp, so I overcooked it. It’s a reminder that you really have to stay focused and pay attention or else bam! It’s overcooked.
Of the things that I learned this week, I am best prepared to demonstrate to someone else? (list in bullet form)
What feedback did I receive from my instructor and how did I use the information to improve my performance?
Chef Hamada said my shrimp was overcooked or the cioppino, so on Thursday, I paid more attention to my fish and the heat so it got browned without being overcooked.