Monday, July 25, 2011

Every orientation presupposes a disorientation

I went to school hungry this morning and just murmuring that
somehow God will provide. True enough, our classmate from Israel
turned up with a chocolate cake to share!
We finally got to step into those beautiful kitchens I've been admiring from a distance outside the glass windows. Not to cook but to get orientated and understand the functions of the various tools and equipment. A key takeaway from the morning lecture for me was this - Proper tools are essential and could mean the difference between a job well done and one done carelessly, incorrectly or even dangerously. Doing the kitchen orientation brought this to life for me. In our home kitchen, and in the Asian context in particular, we seem to practise minimalism - you can use a Chinese chopper for almost everything including opening a tin can! The western concept, on the contrary, seems to have a tool for everything, even zesting a lemon, which my mom would dismiss as totally unnecessary, wasteful and "ley-chey" (troublesome, in local slang). I think a safe and practical balance between the 2 can be achieved.

With a thick layer of beautiful ganache! He is sweeter than the cake.
God bless his sweet soul. He's the one who wants to cook well
for his wife and daughter. I want to know who his Singaporean-
corporate-lawyer-wife is!
In the Asian Kitchen, we saw a modern
tandoor at 400 degrees Celsius.
I was excited to hear we will be learning
to do a naan later in the course.
This is a Tandoor pillow used to slap
the naan dough onto the Tandoor walls.
The dough will stick and cook there.

2 long skewers are then used to flip it back up.
Giant-sized dough hook, beater and balloon whisk. 

For baking a cake for Goliath

Rice cooker for Goliath

Skillet cooking pasta sauce for Goliath

Salamander - browns the cheese on top of your baked rice in seconds

Meat slicer and all the industrial accident horror stories.
I'm not going near this man-eater.

Sorry, no more pix as I had to take notes after that but we got a chance to go into the walk-in chiller at 4C and the walk-in freezer at -12C and tried to trap some classmates in there. We quickly snapped back to behaving when the younger students marched past us. We toured the Asian Kitchen divided into stove cooking and induction cooking. (2 cups of water can boil in 8 seconds with induction!) We saw very cool, James-Bond kitchen gadgets complete with blue tooth functionality.

The chef announced at the end of the tour that tomorrow, we will do the Pastry and Bakery Kitchen orientation. I let out a girlish Yeah! as if I had just won some Bieber concert tickets, to my own embarrassment! Hee hee.

Well, that's it for today. Signing off for now. Culinarily yours, Extra Virgin Chef.

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