One-pot, one burner cooking

We began our final practical exams this week, with Chef testing our ability to cook without a recipe, along with knife skills.

Wednesday’s menu:
Steamed Mussels with wine and cream (seafood prep + sauce making)
Trout Meuniere (filleting, fish cookery + pan-frying skills)
Tourneed Potatoes (failed miserably!)
Zucchini Batonnet (perfect)
Carrots Julienne (perfect)

Thursday’s menu:
Mussels with Angel Hair (using up the mussels shipment, freebie)
Filet with Bordelaise Sauce w/ puff pastry crouton (beef cookery, pastry, sauce prep)
Broccoli Etuve (vegetable prep)
Sauteed Leaf Spinach (vegetable prep)

When Chef announced that our practicals were starting (surprise!) I felt a little nervous. We were cooking alone so that Chef could see exactly how each of us cooked, cut and plated food; there was total ownership of everything. Once I made my list (I make a mini shopping list for every recipe before I head into the walk-in and pantry) and figured out my timing, the test was a breeze.

My partner, on the other hand, stayed in full panic mode. He was confused about how to cook everything in as few pots as possible, using only one burner. He eventually figured it out, but essentially “cheated” by asking me what to cook next and how to cook it, every few minutes.

I passed with flying colors, and was given a pep talk about my tournees — they stink, but Chef took pity on me and is giving me a couple more weeks to practice, before final judgement.

Does anyone have a secret for cutting tournees? I can’t seem to get it right.

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