During last night’s class we focused on emulsified sauces (sauces that don’t bind together unless you bind them with a protein such as egg–kind of like how salad dressing separates unless you add mustard or something).
Just as we were about to get started making our five emulsified sauces (mayonnaise, hollandaise, bearnaise, buerre blanc, and sabayon) the first alarm went off. Now, you’d think the fire alarm at a culinary school would readily alert you that there is something potentially dangerous going on but, instead, it’s a pathetic little beeping noise. Anyway, we all paraded out of the classroom and down four flights of stairs onto Broadway (arguably one of the busier streets in Manhattan) in our uniforms. It was literally a sea of white. Needless to say, I now know what it feels like to be an animal at the zoo. There were dozens of people stopping and taking our picture–some people even pulled over in their cars to photograph us. It was all very weird really. Luckily, it was just a drill and we were able to return to work only about 5-10 minutes later.
I was nervous about last night’s class, because emulsified sauces can be tricky at first. They are delicate and can break (not bind together) if they get too hot, too cold, ingredients are added to quickly, and more. We made two of the sauces (the mayo and the hollandaise) by ourselves and then we made the other three in teams. I was with my semi-usual partner, Ron, again. I really enjoy working with him, because we seem to work well together, but I also really enjoy his company.
However, today was our first failure together! Our bearnaise sauce was coming together just fine and then, at the very last second, it just broke. Ron said it looked like yellow vomit. He was pretty much spot on. boo hoo. At least Chef was nice about this particular failure. He said that it was a good learning experience and that it seemed like we added too much oil and that we should have just stopped when it looked nice and thick. But, to make matters worse, we then messed up the buerre blanc–even though Chef said that was the easiest of them all and the hardest to mess up. Secretly, I think it would have been fine, but our assistant chef turned up the heat and the butter bubbled a bit. I think it got too hot after she turned it up, but I guess it was my job to monitor and it and turn it down if I thought she had made the heat too high. Oh well. The good news: The class was short on time due to the fire drill, so we somehow got away with not showing this dish to Chef.
The last sauce we made together, the sabayon, actually turned out deliciously. We made the prettiest little arrangement before plating it for chef, and he really liked both the taste and the visual appeal of our dish. It was a great way to end the night. I actually liked the sauce so much that while I was across the room, I spotted Ron going to throw away the sabayon and I literally ran over demanding he save the sauce so we could take it home. It was a weird instinctive reaction, but it was very funny and had us laughing pretty hard.
Tomorrow night we have our first test, so I’m going to spend the majority of my night locked in my room studying. It’s on eight chapters and I really just don’t know what to expect!