Week Three & Montreal Restaurant Day

Time seems to be flying by with my daily routine beginning at 0530 everyday of the week, my mind seems to be thinking of a million things at a time and I’m always trying to do more with my days. It only was our third week in school and already I’m seeing that I’m surrounded with people that have that drive in them also, over lunch we sparked a thought that would fuel my brain for the week to come. But before I get to that I’ll cover what happened all week!

This week we were evaluated three times one a variety of things from food safety and the importance of hygiene, the safe handling of a meat slicer and other kitchen appliances to scenario based situations in the kitchen. We’ve thoroughly covered these points and are ready to start making our way to the kitchen to get the fun part started. I wish I could say I had a good start but that would be a lie, I realized the importance of storing my Tourner knife properly after it sliced my finger as I reached in to get my steel… Nothing a good old plaster and glove can’t fix though!
Rookie mistake… never reach into bag blindly.

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting a Chef that was subbing our class and she was quite inspirational, she is teaching at our school and working the weekend brunch service at the XO Restaurant in the St-James Hotel in the old port. I asked her about sous vide cooking knowing that they utilize many modern cuisine tools at XO and she told me she would get back to me with info from the team there that uses it more often. The next time I saw her she told me that after talking to the team they said that there are some books I should read first and gave me a few names that I didn’t hesitate to get there and then, one if them is Under Pressure by the Michelin Star Chef Thomas Keller that is very useful for home use, the other is Modernist Cuisine a set of books that covers food science in depth and with tools that the average home cook doesn’t have. I’m slowly working my way through them and learning new things about this food trend that has had a huge impact on modern kitchens already.

Sous Vide sweet chipotle chicken breasts
End result with a side of spaghetti and garlic rose sauce

Sous Vide cooking being such a niche topic when using it for home use, I’ve had to dig around the net and realized the importance of social media in the food industry. Being able to share our experiences with people asking about it on another continent is fascinating, to find people on instagram showing off the pork belly they cooked over three days at a low and slow simmer allowing it to be so juicy and crispy after giving it it’s final sear allows me to jump in and try it myself knowing what they’d change if they did it again.

Speaking of instagram! A few weeks back I had commented on a picture that Fentimans had posted and they got back to me with a sweet new T-shirt and a letter thanking me for supporting them! Next time you’re having yourself a cocktail night make sure you pick up a few of these bad boys to mix, I dislike the idea of putting in a subpar soda into a glass with some of my Barr Hill Gin and so should you!
Hand written letter included with the t-shirt
Me rocking the T while restocking my bar
Kentucky Mule (Bourbon, Ginger Beer & Lime Juice)

At last we made our way to the kitchen to make our first recipe! We were covering cookie bars that morning, it was a lot of fun seeing everyone getting in their zone. Our team ended up making delicious chocolate craisin bars that weren’t bad for a first run. I’m super pumped to be working with my class for the rest of the year, so far they’re all pretty great and are all very knowledgeable in their own way. And am looking forward to be working along side them in the many projects we’ll take on!

Chef Sistino folding some white chocolate ganache
Our teams cookie bars

This brings me to the project that’s been on my mind all week! We’d mentioned Montreal Restaurant Day over lunch and it sparked up interest in many people and I am determined to make it happen. I’ve taken point on the first run we’ll have because we have so little time to get everything together. We’ve got quite the handful of people that volunteered to tackle this first event, I look forward to showing off the results! We’ve got the location, we’ve got the labour and we’ve got the menu. We’re planning on having a Thai Cabane a Sucre three course meal that will blow your socks off, keep your eyes peeled for the reservations to open up. I’m hoping we’ll fill up on people we know so we get some honest feedback from everyone that comes out.

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