I heart garde manger

I think I found my calling in garde manger. We’ve only had two classes, but I’m loving everything about it. Because of my art background, I immediately found a familiarity in the creative concepts and techniques of garde manger, and felt very much at home, where others struggled.

This week we began our introduction into sausage making with a French-inspired garlic sausage. It took all of my strength not to mess with the recipe — I knew from the moisture (or lack of) in the recipe that it would turn out dry and crumbly. And it did. The technique was flawless, but the recipe itself needed more fatback, water, oil, all of the above, or something like bread or rice to help retain the moisture in the meat.

We also created a composed salad, which was the brilliant brain child of one of the students in our school’s competition class. The salad was comprised of spinach, poached pear, a warm vinaigrette and an incredible blue cheese panna cotta. I’ve never created a panna cotta before — sweet or savory — and this was such an appropriate introduction for me. We also created paper-thin toast crisps from a shaved baguette. Each thin was dipped in butter and placed in a baguette loaf pan to create a curved form.

The last part of the salad was a smoked duck breast. We rendered the skin of the duck, almost cooking it through, and the placed it into the smoker for 25 minutes. The duck had been brined earlier that day. I’m not a fan of brining anything because I hate what it does to the texture of meat. When it came time to taste, the duck was overly salty from the brine with a texture similar to below-average pastrami.

After some debate, we decided to make the panna cotta the star of the salad, using the crisps as a sort of cage. The pear and duck breast, along with a reduction of the poaching liquid finished the dish. The salad itself was delicious, with a nice range of textures. The duck, however was disappointing — the smoke was overwhelming and the brine was too salty. Despite, my favorite part about the entire day was the creativity that went into building the salad on the plate. It certainly was beautiful.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

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            • Each campus features a public restaurant where culinary students work under the direction of professional chefs for real-world experience.
            • Hosts Platt College’s Food Fight, a friendly dessert competition for students held once a month.
            • Offers programs in culinary arts, nursing, and healthcare.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (AFC) and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • 5 campuses in Lawton, North and Central Oklahoma City, Moore, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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            Sullivan University is a private institution of higher learning dedicated to providing educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social and professional development of its students.