Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Charcoal" Cherry Gastrique

Current Class: Banquets and Catering
Current Chef: Chef Tom Wong
Current Group: Georgina, Brittany, Ryan
Current Mission: experiment with recipes and plating for the Greystone Wine Spectator Restaurant
Last Failure: Balsamic Cherry Gastrique

This week in class we are plating up different dishes to be made in the restaurant once we start in it next week. Chef Patrick, our Chef Instructor in the restaurant, developed a menu that he wanted to try introducing within the next few months. This week he instructed us to produce what we thought the dishes should look like. For example, yesterday we produced three different starter plates and today we will produce three different entree plates. Though we are all in groups of four or five, each individual has to form a unique plate of the starter and entree to make 17 different unique plates (17 people in my class) of each for Chef to analyze and consider.

One of the starters yesterday was a Smoked Lamb Loin Carpaccio with Lambs lettuce and olive oil poached cherries. Because these olive oil poached cherries didn't come out as delicious as we had hoped (bottom line, they were pretty bad...most of the flavor was sucked out and they ended up going from fresh beautiful ripe cherries to dull, canned-looking cherries) Georgina and I decided to make a separate balsamic cherry gastrique to tie in these not-so-good cherries to the rest of the dish. I grabbed the tiniest pot I could (about 5 inches in diameter and five inches deep) to make the gastrique and right after I put this tiny pot on the big burner that could essentially heat up a multiple gallon pot, Chef called us over to chat. When I walked back over about ten minutes later after Chef's demo I saw Chef Tucker Bunch (my Skills 1 Chef Instructor) holding our tiny pot laughing and saying he'd never seen anything like it. Inside was a miniature coal fire with charcoal bits so hot they were blue and bright orange. It was unbelievable! Right after we saw the little scene Chef Bunch threw the pot onto the counter and jumped back as he yelped at how incredibly hot it was even through the side towel he held it with. The burning cherry coals stayed a smidge orange for me to run and get my camera but it's almost completely out. We ended up not having time to do it over and making instead a balsamic reduction and drizzling that over the cherries. I have no idea if all the components went well together. Something about lamb carpaccio just really turns me off...even if the lamb was slightly smoked.

gastrique= a thick sauce made by reducing vinegar or wine, sugar and sometimes fruit. (
carpaccio= a dish of raw beef or other meat VERY thinly sliced.

Me and Gina reacting to the charcoal cherry gastrique we destroyed.

1 comment:

Marlene Taylor said...

I love experimenting with food and am a self taught cook. I love to hear about stories like this, equally what works and what fails! I love cherries, with by chance, fell here and love your blog!