Mise en Whatever

I’m not sure why, but my teammates do not embrace the mise en place philosophy. And it’s driving me crazy. I’m a very organized person. I like mise, practice mise, live for mise. But by golly, there is always something not ready, not measured before we start. We talked about how to organize ourselves during week two. Apparently that’s all been forgotten.

Today we focused on vanilla sauce and pastry creams. While I was preparing tart shells for one recipe, R and TR were gathering and measuring ingredients for our second recipe, chocolate tarts.

R started the custard and, yep, we were missing an ingredient – the melted chocolate. TR rushed the chocolate to the microwave to try to melt it quickly, oy. Everything turned out fine, but it would be nice to get through a recipe without all the added stress. Ah, mise would take care of that.

Chef thought we had time for a third recipe and asked us to make creme brulee. Easy – I make it all the time. Easy, when you know your oven. Not so easy when an oven you’ve never used before acts like Linda Blair’s character in the Exorcist. Just when I was getting to know the nuances of the ovens in our baking room, Chef pulled a fast one on us and asked us to use the ovens in the room next door. And they are indeed Exorcist ovens. Our custards went straight to hell from the fluctuating temperatures, and not even a holy water bath could have saved them. Sigh.

I learned a neat custard tip today: When baking a quiche, after about 15-20 minutes a skin will form on the top. Chef advised us to carefully lift the skin or gently pierce the top and add more custard so the quiche doesn’t lose volume while baking.

We also practiced piping skills and became friendly with the kitchen torch.

We hit our semester mid point this week. Chef seems to be losing patience and steam with teaching and gets easily frustrated with our class when we ask questions or make a mistake.

I hope mise joins our group again before the semester ends; and I hope Chef gets his Chi back. I loved his class last semester, but this one, not so much.

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