Culinary Sense

Adventures with Food and Life

AM Line – Hot Appetizers

What exactly is the AM Line?

The AM Line is the kitchen crew that prepares lunch for the restaurant. Our class, my block of five students, and one chef instructor, first preps and then cooks food for guests at the restaurant.

Every morning, we meet at 7:30 am in the kitchen and line up in brigade (our uniforms, aprons, and hats). Chef Ryan likes us to line up by height, so this is what we do – just to please him.

Chef Ryan

After the line up, it’s prep time. Depending on the station, we might make slaw, cook potatoes, make sauces, etc. I’ll explain each station as we go along.

My first station is the hot apps station. This means I will be cooking BBQ brisket with slaw, calamari and chorizo tartine, whiting gougeonettes, and French fries for the hamburgers (grill station).

Let’s start with the BBQ brisket. The brisket is a cut of beef that is tough, so we use a cooking method that will make the meat tender and flavorful.

The brisket is "cleaned" first, meaning you take off extra fat and connective tissue.

Dry rub for the brisket.

Sear the brisket on both sides, then slow roast for several hours.

After the brisket is seared on the grill (just for the markings), we put it in hotel pans, cover it with parchment paper, then in aluminum foil, and then roast it in the oven at a low temperature for several hours. One piece of brisket usually yields seven or more portions, which are measured out when it’s done (so that every person gets the same amount, and so the chef can control cost).

The buns for the brisket are made at the bakery. The whole thing is served with slaw – not necessarily cole slaw. The slaw I made was with broccoli stems, peppers, daikon radish, carrots, and sometimes scallions. And a simple vinaigrette.

Making slaw for the BBQ Brisket.

Slaw.

Once an order for brisket is placed and the chef calls it out, I put the portioned out brisket onto a small tray with some bbq sauce, and heat it up in the oven. In the meantime, I start plating by spooning out some slaw, and toasting the bun on the grill. After about seven minutes, the brisket is hot enough, and is placed on the bun.

BBQ Brisket

This is what the brisket looks like on the plate. Yum!

Next up: Whiting Gougeonettes

Gougeonettes is basically a big word for fish sticks. But really, they are fancy fish sticks, because it’s a culinary institute! Plus, we serve modern French cuisine, so it has to have a French name.

Whiting gougeonettes

Here’s what the plate looks like. (By the way, the pretty, professional photos are from the recipes we received, which the Institute’s Sous Chef created.) The fried whiting (basically a white fish) is on top, with the fried potatoes (blue and fingerling) around it. Underneath the whiting is a marinated bell pepper salad. The sauce is a spicy paprika mayonnaise. And the garnish (never forget the garnish) is pea shoots.

For this dish, everything has to be made in advance, and then fried at service. While the fish and potatoes are frying, I plate the bell pepper salad and the mayo. The blue and fingerling potatoes are cooked in advance (during prep time), and the whiting is portioned and battered in advance as well.

The third item I make at this station is a calamari and chorizo tartine. A tartine is an open-faced sandwich. The calamari is the steak cut, not the little breaded rings you usually associate with calamari. So basically, you grill the steak (which is oval-shaped), and saute pieces of chorizo at the same time. The bread is ciabatta, and there are some roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic that are spread on the ciabatta. You shingle the sliced steak with the chorizo pieces, and top the whole thing with mint and arugula.

Chorizo Calamari Tartine

Lovely, no?

The only other item this station is responsible for is making French fries for the grill station – to go with the burgers.

I stayed on this station for three days, and then I switched to the grill station.

More fun to come!

~ Carolynn

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