Home > Cooking school > Knives and Fire XXV – Final

Knives and Fire XXV – Final

Written and Practical Finals

We began the class by everyone frantically asking each other questions that might come up on the test – well, not me. I’d read the chapters, and outlined them and, as Chef said, I’d been to all the classes and so I knew I was okay. And he’d assured us that the test would be doable – multiple choice and true and false.

We were to do the written test, plus three practical tests – knife skills, pico de gallo and American omelet. I was worried about the omelet, because to do it properly, it has to be flipped like a pancake, and I had yet to do it successfully. Fortunately, we could do each part as often as we needed.

We got ready for the test – I cut up parchment paper, and set up for blanching and shocking – a pot of heavily salted water put on to boil and a tub of ice water right next to it. G put the parchment paper on half sheet-pans and put the items necessary for the knife skills tests on that – we were to chop cilantro, julienne half a jalope&ntilda;o, small dice half a red onion, concassé two tomatoes, finely mince two garlic cloves, plus a julienne and bruniose each of half a carrot. We were to work clean and sanitary and show good hygiene skills.

The three women present did the written test first. When I finished and got a cup of coffee (which I wouldn’t drink for three more hours), I did the knife skills. I ended up doing my carrots three times because I didn’t like the first two. I also had to get an extra garlic clove because one of mine was in bad shape. What were my results? Everything passed except for the jalope&ntilda;o – I cut the strips too wide. He also didn’t like (and he was right) that I didn’t wash my board after chopping the cilantro. But those were the only down-grades and I was happy.

I recut the jalope&ntilda;os in half, and then I diced them up because the next item was the pico de gallo – mixing all the knife cuts *except* the carrots together, plus diced scallions, cumin, lime juice and olive oil, with salt and pepper to taste. We would be graded on taste and consistency. Since this mixture was too dry, I added strained juices from the concassé (no seeds, you see) and some tomato purée. I got every point for that one.

Then I made my omelets. Well, omelets. My first omelet (three eggs, some water and salt and white pepper)didn’t come out too well. Again, the idea is we flip it like a pancake. And while I managed to flip it, it didn’t flip evenly and some egg escaped the pan. (We had to flip the *pan*, btw, not use a spatula.) So I practiced flipping the remaining egg a couple of times to see how it would go, got another pan and more eggs and did it again. I put the teflon pan on the high fire and let it heat up – omelets need *hot* pans – and ladled in a little melted clarified margarine. Then I added the beaten eggs, stirring all the time with a rubber spatula. When they pulled away from the side of the pan, I loosened the bottom, banged the pan, tilted it and – perfect flip! All that was left was plating it. It wasn’t a perfect fold, though.

I garnished the plate with a thin slice of red onion, blanched julienned carrots and a twisted slice of lime, and put a spoonful of pico de gallo on top of the omelet (I got that idea from Y.)

Verdict? I had the pan hot enough to get a fluffy omelet, and it tasted good. The garnish was pretty and out of the box. It could have been folded better, so I didn’t get FULL marks, but I’m happy. Final score on the practical? 90.

I’m very, very happy.

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