It's not exactly Hell's Kitchen but my maiden cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu was no walk in the park either. I daresay there's a lot of sweat (remember what they say about if you can't stand the heat...?) plus a smidgen of blood (the mandolin was the day's lethal weapon!) and some tears (couldn't recall the last time I cried over cut onions...LOL) involved. Overall, the experience was still an invaluable one.
Under cuisine chef lecturer Franck Bruwier's tutelage, we whipped up French Onion Soup and Roast Duck Breast, Potatoes with Bacon and Mushrooms Cooked in Goose Fat. The end results were well worth our efforts too...these photos below are proof enough.
Sweet and hearty...the sublime French Onion Soup with a piece of cheesey toast
|Pink and tender...Roast Duck Breast with Mushroom cooked in Goose Fat with Smoked Duck Slices|
The seemingly simple French Onion Soup required the onions to be sliced length-wise so that their natural juices are released slowly during cooking. Chef Bruwier showed us novices a few tricks like the correct way to hold the knife and how to slice and chop onions without losing any of our fingers!
We learned how to 'sweat' the sliced onion with a little butter and a sprinkling of flour over medium heat until they turn translucent. Then they were literally put onto the back burner to gently draw out the natural sugars.
Once the onions were caramelised, some white wine and port were added in. The beef consomme (or chicken stock) was the last to go in after the spirits have been reduced adequately.
Of course we didn't just complete this dish in one go. In between bouts of stirring and letting our pot of sliced onion sit on the stove, the chef taught us how to prepare crisscut potatoes using a mandolin...
Needless to say not every spud made the cut and one can't expect to have nimble fingers overnight!
I rarely cook duck at home so this session was an eye-opener for me. Like beef and lamb, one shouldn't overcook duck and I've always prefer the centre to remain slightly pink.
|The duck breast was seared in a pan first before left to roast in the oven|
|Carrot, celery and shallot formed the mire poix for our brown sauce|
|A sumptuous feast that's akin to restaurant standards!|
Thank you to Chef Franck Bruwier and team for the first class experience at Le Cordon Bleu!
It was half a day well spent. I certainly look forward to cook up a storm at more of Le Cordon Bleu's culinary workshops (priced at RM450 per session) in the near future.
For enquiries and course information, call Sheryln Lee, Sunway Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts, tel: 603 5632 1188 or fax: 603 5631 1133.