Montreal Restaurant Day + New Project Direction

It’s mid-week, I’m baking a salmon in puff pastry and I’m thinking back at what has gone on since my last post. There have been quite a few things since my last post and I wish I was able to put it all into words but it would be way too long! Instead I’ll give you the quick and dirty about what we’ve been covering in class since my last post, “Valentine’s Day Rescue”, the Roastbusters awesome Montreal Restaurant Day event and a little rant of what directions I’d like to take throughout this year!

What’s new at Pius Culinary Institute

The Roastbusters have been pretty busy this week with preparation for the exam ongoing this week, we’ve gone through all the mother sauces and how many derivatives we can make from them. We also all learnt that it’s possible to over-whip hollandaise and mayo… I will ease on the whisk for my test tomorrow or my hollandaise will end up as mayo. One thing that I certainly don’t miss is being in class, we’re spending most of our time in the kitchen and are all showing more initiative on all ends, our team is certainly growing closer and I’m hoping we create a bridge to our sister course and start working with each other seeing as we’ll be seeing our faces until December 2015.

Chef Sistino getting that instapic
That homemade tomato sauce and mayo

Valentine’s Day Rescue

This tale begins where a young man with little cooking experience decided he’d be cooking up a four course meal for his girlfriend. My friend recently asked me for advice on a menu he’d be cooking up on valentine’s day, without hesitation I jumped at the opportunity to give my advice on what to cook up for such occasion, he had decided on smoked salmon canapé, sweet potato and butternut squash soup, steak with a side of salad and creme brulé as dessert.
As time got closer to the day I could notice the stress he was going through and as a good buddy I offered to pass by quickly and walk him through the menu quickly before doing my errands. I showed up nice and early to walk him through the menu thinking I’d leave within two hours until he sliced his finger open as he washed my knife… At this point I realized that when I’d leave he would need to be fully prepared due to his new handicap, like a troop he continued to watch and learn with a gash that probably needed stitches being held by a band aid. When I left he seemed confident and I knew he was ready despite his misfortune, that he’d be able to crank out a meal one would go out and pay for.
Finger still bleeding and he sets up in style

When I told my girlfriend this story she made me realize that what I’d just done was something that I could do for other novice cooks that want to throw a meal together to impress someone. It’s something I would be super happy to do, to prepare someone have the skills to put a smile on his guests face is something I would absolutely love to do in my spare time.

Team Roastbusters MTL Restaurant Day

This has been quite the project for a group of the class to take on after only having been at culinary school since January. We’ve only been working on the fundamentals at school and yet we are taking on three separate services of three course table-hôte menu.

F. Menard my new pork butcher

Our menu ended up starting by a maple bourbon glazed pork belly steamed bun accompanied by a spicy szechuan cucumber salad followed by a smokey maple baked salmon topped with a candied bacon crumble, a side of lotus root chips, it’s skin baked to a crisp and a maple habanero papaya salad that was quite the mouthful to describe and finished off with a coconut sticky rice île flottante sitting in as pool of fresh coconut creme anglaise topped with diced mango, candied nuts and Thai basil. I didn’t realize how pleased our guests were until the doorman told me that the guests were still talking about how much they loved it all on their way out.

The finishing touch to the first course
Unfortunately we didn’t end up filling up all our reservations so we only ended up serving a little over 40 people throughout the evening. Despite how much fun we all had and how much we look forward to having another shot at an event, I think we can all agree that we’re glad it’s behind us and off our minds.

New drinks, New toys, New direction

With the abundance of Fentimans and booze I can say my bar is stocked for business! Lucky for me I’m it’s one and only picky client so I’m enjoying it’s new bottles and enjoying the brown water neat with a large rock and a twist of lime. The Fentimans won’t go to waste with all the bourbon for the ginger beer and the gin for that delicious tonic. On restaurant day we ended up serving up some amazing cocktails that will make their way on my recipe tab once it exists, the spiced maple old fashioned is certainly my personal favorite!
Bourbon, lime juice, ice and lime twist
256 bottles of top notch product
As far as new toys go, restaurant day let me justify a few purchases. Silpat, buy it! it’s beyond worth it, bacon, salmon, pastry dough slides right off as if it was on ice. Silicone ice cube mold, yes I’ve had these for a while but I now own a ton of them and so should you! there’s no way I can go back to the regular old ice mold, it’s all about the large cubes! The most recent purchase is the butane stove, I won’t start on a rant about how much I dislike the ceramic stove tops… a single butane stove will let you have superior control on the heat and the results you get.
Butane gas stove is much better then ceramic stove top
What will I do with my extra time was a huge concern I had when going back to school, to my surprise I don’t nearly have as much spare time as expected when waking up at 0530, getting ready, gym and then class from 0800-1600 is quite the start to a day. Yet I have the need to do more and take advantage of this year in school, so I’ve decided that I’ll participate in as many culinary events as possible, that I’ll try to make my way into personal chef services for private events and offer one on one cooking lessons to people that want to serve up an impressive meal they want to host. I’ll have to add hours to the day to get all this done, so wish me luck and let people know that you’ve got this ambitious cook that’s willing to take on a challenge!!

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