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The ‘Ateliers’: Something to Prepare Students for the Final Exams – La Gourmandista

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The ‘Ateliers’: Something to Prepare Students for the Final Exams

Even though we all know that in these classes would be called Workshops, everyone at school sticks to the French term ‘Ateliers'. These classes take place three times during the Superior program and are aimed at making the get trained on several aspects before the final exam takes place, for a two serving menu has to be planned and executed. The aspiring chef is to prepare in five hours a starter course and an entrée following the rules given, which means, a list of compulsory ingredients and techniques have to be included in each dish, and of course respecting the allotted time.

Truly no given time would have been enough, and although we were advised at the beginning of the session, I blamed it on lack of inspiration or ideas to come about with something I felt comfortable with. The Instructor Chefs can and will serve as advisors if any student deems needing a bit of help. I don't know about my classmates, however, for the first one I decided I would feel more comfortable if I had my menu ‘okayed' by one of my chefs. So, I met with him for about a half-hour and we organized my ideas to an extent at which both of us felt comfortable. I then trained at home and got ready for my session.

I have to say that all went quite smoothly, and I am still not sure if it had to do with the prep work that took place at home the previous days or if I was extremely calm because I had everything in my head in an orderly fashion, or even if it was because I felt more confident after my menu had been previously ‘approved' by one of my chefs. Not sure, but I guess it doesn't really matter.

For this, my first I served a ceviche with guacamole, cantaloupe seasoned with Espelette pepper, and vinaigrette with red bell peppers and celery as a starter course. As an entrée I served a breaded chicken suprême filled with a mushroom duxelle and chicken jus on the side, accompanied by honey-glazed carrots, a vichyssoise flan and a vegetable tian. I have to say it came out pretty tasty. However, had I been served all that during one meal, I would have never finished it.

On the second atelier, which took place only a week or so later, I decided to fly solo and worked on my menu pretty much by myself. I thought it was a matter of overcoming the fear more than not being capable of creating good dishes. So, after a few dribbling here and there, I decided to serve a sardine napoleon as a starter. To prepare this dish, the sardines had been cooked in a herb, garlic and shallot aromatized olive oil at low temperature, and the sardines were mixed with a good amount of whipped cream. The napoleon was then formed with slices of raw cucumber and blanched beetroots. The top layer was a cucumber and chlorophyll extract jelly. The preparation was accompanied by a sherry vinaigrette with chlorophyll extract. For the main course, I served a lamb tenderloin on the grill cooked medium rare with a pistachio persillade, its jus, and accompanied by brown glazed spring onions, turned artichokes cooked in a blanc, and celery root puree. I felt pretty satisfied. Tired but satisfied.

The next would be even greater, since for the last Atelier is the final exam test run, and that was a whole other game.

Lamb Tenderloin Entrée

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