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5th in our series following Gearóid O'Sullivan's journey from Finance to Cookery.
Day 2 … the day when things start to get real …
Chef Whites on …
Knife Roll in Hand …
Kitchen assigned for the week …
Partner assigned for the week …
First type of any cooking to be done!
However ... for some reason I didn’t manage to get much sleep at all … not sure why but hey ho … on we went! Coffee helps !!!
Now the next sentence a lot of my former colleagues won’t believe nor could they have possibly imagined I would write it … but … I was up at 6:50 and made breakfast for the house (proper sausages, non watery bacon and fresh eggs - only because it was our first day) … and I was at my place in the school for 8:15 !!!! Ready willing and able! That beats strolling in at 9.15 😁
It was a strange start to the morning … and to be very honest for a moment ... I felt like I was playing dress up … I know it’s a cookery school but there’s that type of feeling that you haven’t earned the right to wear a chefs kit properly … anyway it was for a moment and I rationalised it in my head fairly sharpishly 😁
Miserable weather for my first walk down to the school (that whole 55 seconds in the rain!) in my chefs trousers that are about 2 inches too long for me ... turn ups are back !!! I didn't manage to get that all important first photo in chef whites yet ... you'll have to settle for the visible strip of white under my jacket!
The day started with an hour or so of a demo … believe it or not it was on the famous Ballymaloe Green Salad … Yes ... I couldn’t believe it either but the amount of leaves that were presented and explained, a large percentage grown on the farm too … impressive (and very tasty … more about that later), I'll try get a photo tomorrow of all the different type of leaves and flowers they use (we will need to identify them for our six week exam !!!
We also covered dining room etiquette ... laying a table problem (thankfully it's exactly along the lines I was taught as a child, except for the two wine glasses, the water glass, the finger bowl, the sweet wine glass ... ANNE how did you not teach me about the sweet wine glass 😉 ... we also were shown how to clear a table properly ...
© Mikro Mou Cafe
After that we did a quick tour of the actual school where we saw the numerous kitchens (3), weighing areas, larder, dining rooms and met all the teachers (around 10+)
Before I forget … you can also see daily updates on the Ballymaloe Cookery school instagram feed and timeline … there’s sometimes someone following us with a video camera and taking photos and they update their story and feeds … https://www.instagram.com/ballymaloecookeryschool/
We then went to our assigned kitchens, today I was in kitchen one with Mamie (not pronounced Mammy …. clowns) and today we were really doing basics under her guidance … she previously worked for Myrtle Allen over at Ballymaloe house (about 2.5 kms away from the school) for many many years!
I don’t think I explained this previously but basically the way the course works …
You receive an afternoon demo of recipes of the dishes you could be making the following morning (you will have certain of the demo recipes assigned to you and your partner!) - more on that another time …
So today we had to make a soup, a bread, a pasta sauce and a desert.
My group of six (with 3 Dubs !!!) did a carrot and coriander soup, a modern brown soda bread, a mushroom cream sauce (served with tagliatelle) and a rice pudding. As today was really only an introduction to the kitchens and the process … we did everything as a group. It's an introduction to the basics, peeling & chopping carrots, onions, potatoes, chopping mushrooms, herbs, making a soup etc. It's important to remember that some people on the course have little or no cooking experience so they have to cover everything!
Sorry but I was a little late and stingy with the photos during the prep and lunch (so unlike me) … I must have been distracted or really busy! (I’ll do better in future)
All the dishes are presented properly in the dining room (properly laid tables) and all who cooked and more will all sit together to eat the 3 courses ...
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The afternoon demo session went from 2pm to about 6pm and covered numerous items, quiches, tarts, fruit and syrup deserts, wild garlic pesto (Mullins!!!) and a lot else ... Something I didn't realise until today is the effort that goes into these demos, Darina (will be Rachel and Rory at other times) leads out front with another one of her team, today it was Pat but there are another 2 or 3 chefs out the back working away prepping and cooking behind the scenes ! It's very impressive!
Anyway the day then finishes with a tasting of the dishes we will be expected to make tomorrow. Everyone gets a sample of every dish! (so no excuses not knowing what you dish should look an taste like!)
I am partnered with a young South African kid (around 18 I think) so we have had to split the dishes we have been assigned between us ... I am doing the starter (potato and leek soup) and main (French onion tart) and he has a Red and Yellow cherry tomato salad with mint, mangoes in lime syrup & fork biscuits with a coffee buttercream filling. He will have to do the starter and main tomorrow or another day this week and I the rest 😁
After the long day ... we have to complete an "order of work" for our dishes and processes that we will cook in the morning! It takes a bit of work to do it (it's basically a timeline of each step we will need to take during the morning) ... at least the first time ... I'm hoping it becomes second nature as it will be every night except Tuesday going forward. A normal week has no cooking on Wednesday ... it's a day of lectures normally including wine tasting :))))))
Anyway I knew I had a bit of work to do with the order of work and the blog update so ... I went to the gym, managed to floor myself and then relaxed a little in the spa area (no comments please :)) Then I wrote my order of work and this !!
Tomorrow will be an early start as we are allowed into the kitchen from 8am to start our prep! Oh how I long for the 9.15 start now !!!
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