Monday, November 15, 2010

CIA, Day 1


I have not "gone rogue." I'm currently in Hyde Park, NY for a weeklong boot camp at the Culinary Institute of America. Or for a foodie like me, Nirvana.

At 5 this morning, my friend and fellow foodie, Wendy, and I awoke to make our way to our 6am orientation and breakfast. Ouch. Unfortunately, the coffee in the dining hall is not as good as one would hope. That said, it was caffeinated and hot which worked for me!

Class began at 7am and we went right into stocks - white vs. brown and how to make one. We also covered temperatures at which meat should be prepared. Though this sounds boring to some, I was happily taking notes and looking forward to slipping into my chef's jacket, pants and toque (a.k.a. that tall, columnar hat you see in pretentious French restaurants and old movies).

After introducing ourselves and changing into our snazzy new duds, we made our way into the kitchen. Once in the kitchen, the class switched between lessons on knife skills and us trying our knife skills on various vegetables, proteins and fruit. At this time I'd like to formally apologize to the lovely chicken I struggled with and the flounder I, uh, floundered. The upside is that the pieces were still usable. And delicious!

We just did the prep today, but our onions and garlic went into an incredible French onion soup and the flounder was sauteed and dressed with a Meuniere sauce (the movie "Julie & Julia" did not do it justice) and the chicken was dredged and baked. If only we had wine with lunch. Of course dinner is at Caterina de'Medici, the renowned Italian restaurant on campus and you know the wine will be flowing. Then again, we have another 5am wake up call tomorrow and we're working in teams tomorrow so we can't let our fellow foodie friends down....well, maybe we can sleep in until 5:15am.

Hopefully by then the smell of flounder will have warn off of our hands. If not, I may be writing about a full on citrus bath tomorrow.
Until tomorrow's class (in which I hope to recap the next sniff, sip AND quaff),
Cheers,

Alli M.

11 comments:

Will Sugerman said...

Great piece Alli. When I was at Vassar a few years back my friend attended the CIA. I went to watch him compete in a cooking competition (that he won, I might add)!!

The kitchens were amazing and watching the best young chefs at the CIA cook was like watching Peyton Manning run the two-minute drill down 6 in New England.

Enjoy your week. I look forward to reading more about it.

Jill Levin said...

Wow...intense, Alli! Can't wait for you and Wendy to cook for me. Wait! When would that ever be? Well, maybe sometime, somewhere. Although I'll always remember your 3AM mac and cheese as being THE BEST.

Pamela said...

So exciting ... cant wait to hear about dinner (full menu please) and about tomorrows classes.
Have a great time!

elliej said...

i envy you. We had dinner at Caterina de'Medici when bro was at Vassar. It was sensational. I should have you cook our Thanksgiving dinner (instead of just making pies).

Wendy said...

6am sounds rather challenging. You ladies are my heroines!

me said...

Please, please, please make me a flounder in Meuniere sauce!!! (Or at least let's find a place to get it, since you only did prep.) Had it one time in New Orleans and still have dreams....

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