About Me

My photo
I am a student currently attending the California School of Culinary Arts Le Cordon Bleu Program in Pasadena, CA. I love to cook and I love to eat and I love to entertain... Next step is to graduate and open a place I can call my own... to entertain and serve YOU!

View of Fire from Pasadena

View of Fire from Pasadena
My thoughts go out to the families and firemen affected by the fire!

Tony in Uniform

Tony in Uniform
Fat and Happy Chef to be

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sorry to my followers.....

So here is the Pear Tart along with Chocolate Chip Cookies and Linzer Cookies

This is a close up of my Pear Tart

This is my fresh fruit tart - I am pretty proud of this one!

This is the whole kitten caboodle from Friday night - the frown changing day if you will!
You can see the tart along with my Palmiers Cookies (aka Elephant Ears) and some danishes that I made filled with fruit filling and in the top right hand corner you will see my Brie en Croute - but those that have had my brie know that mine is usually better than the one on this table. But do notice the "R" on the sheet! Thanks to David, I may be placing those "R" cut outs on my brie when I open Bistro R! Keep your eyes open for those!


Hello all! I am sorry I have not written in a few days. Some baking frustration and some school frustration just kind of killed my desire to write on my blog. Things have changed and worked out for the best so I am BACK!!!!

Those of you that know me well know that I am not one to share when things are not going that great. I had some personal frustrations that seemed to put me in a place that was not so positive and I didn't want to turn this into a "bitch" board... so, I waited until I turned my frown upside down and put on a happy face! I hate to say it but I think my fruit tart helped make things fun again!

On Friday of last week I learned to make a fresh fruit tart. I was amazed at how it turned out. Sometimes I feel that my creativity is lacking and then out of no where.... BAM! I come up with something pretty! We made the shell and then sealed it with chocolate (yum) and then filled it with a custard and layered beautiful fresh fruit on top. Once the layout was done we glazed it with a peach sauce made for shine and beauty. My first thought was to shilaack the thing and keep it for a display piece on my table but then I thought better of it and shared it with family. Side note - my Aunt called and told me I must have stopped at Gelsons to purchase this thing because it tasted so good and it was so beautiful. I love her for that!

Tonight, I took a test to start off the class and I really feel like I earned 100% on this one. That should make up for the last one so I will let you know my grade tomorrow. After our test, we made a Pear Frangipane Tart, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Linzer Window Cookies and Linzer Jewel Cookies. These were ALL fun and fairly easy. I am looking forward to the holidays so that I can gift FOOD this year! LOL

Anyways, check out the pics and I am sorry I took a leave but know I am back and looking forward to sharing some more!

Cheers and Bon Appetit!

PS... I saw Julie and Julia again this weekend with Drew B Doo and I just love that film!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Baking + Tony = NO NO..... but wait!!!

Me, Olga and Paul with my pizza.

My pizza... pepperoni, cheese and fresh mushrooms.

Pan de Mie - Bread in a box!

I am liking this baking thing. I just can't believe I haven't burned everything in my path so far. One thing I like about baking is that it isn't as stressful as the culinary part of cooking. Things have to cook for as long as they have to cook and it takes it time to rise and all that so it is more relaxing and therapeutic because you get to "punch" the dough which helps make this class more enjoyable.

Last night we made Pan de Mie, Pizzas, and we started our Brioche. Of course as you all know or would guess, my favorite was the pizza. I made a rectangular pizza with fresh mushrooms, cheese and pepperonis. It was delish! In fact it was good enough that I am enjoying the leftovers for lunch today.

The Pan de Mie was interesting. I am not sure when I would have had this dish in the past but I thought the process was interesting and the flavor was pretty good. It is a bread that you bake in a special box that has a lid. You want the dough to rise to a point that the bread has four squared edges when it has cooked properly. I did not let mine proof long enough because it came out like a loaf instead of a square. The flavor was great though. I am not sure when I would make this and serve it but it was good.

The brioche should be fun to finish today. I will have to update you on that one. Overall this class has been way more interesting and fun for me than I would have thought. I never thought I would enjoy baking and here I am planning out how I am going to make these homemade breads for dinner parties and holidays and such. We will have to see how I do there!

Well everyone! I hope you are having a great day and I will leave word after class tonight.

Cheers and Bon Appetit!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Some final shots from Intro to Culinary

You may all laugh at me but I just figured out how to post photos in a much easier way so here are some photos from the last day of Intro to Culinary Class... Enjoy!

Cheers and Bon Appetit!


This is our class on the last day of Intro to Culinary

This is my Cream of Broccoli Soup that we created in our final exam

This is what Consomme looks like after you strain it through a chinois.

These are the ingredients for Consomme prior to adding the chicken stock for cooking.

This is cold potato soup that we made during our last week of Intro to Culinary.

It's all about Baking now! Day 2

Hello all! I am back! I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Well, I started my intro to baking and pastry class and boy is this different than the intro to culinary class. First off it is about BAKING.... not really my forte! I can burn anything you put in front of me and really I prefer cookie dough to waiting for the finished product... That should tell you where I stand here.

All kidding aside though, I think this may be pretty darn fun! We made bread today and let me just tell you if I keep making bread the gym isn't going to be open enough hours in the day to take care of my fat ass!

We made French Baquettes, Whole Wheat Rolls with a Honey Wash and a bread known as EPI which literally translates to a stalk of wheat. When creating the EPI you simply take a roll of baguette dough and you cut it and form it into the shape of a wheat stalk. You bake it and it comes out as a bread that you can pull apart to eat. The presentation seems like it would be very fun for a Thanksgiving feast. You can put it on the table warm and let it be passed around while it looks pretty too!

I have attached a photo of all the breads so be sure to take a look.

Our class has increased in size and that is a little rough because we are not at all used to the amount of bodies running around trying to weigh out ingredients and use proofing machines and ovens and cooling racks and cleaning up. Tensions ran a little higher than usual! There are now 33 of us in the class. As you may remember, Intro to Culinary only had 12 people in it so it was much more hands on. This class they have combined HRM Students and Culinary Students so it is one body after the next. We shall make it through this though.

The Chef is really cool! He is pretty hardcore but he has been there and done that more than once. In fact, he has cooked for two US Presidents (while in office) and he has cooked for royalty and he was even at one point an executive chef for Ritz Carlton - and that is a pretty big deal. This guy ROCKS!

Well folks... I will write more tomorrow and keep you up to date!

Have a great night. Cheers and Bon Appetit!


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Final Day of Intro to Culinary

Today marks the end of the three weeks of our Intro to Culinary class. I am kind of sad but kind of relieved as well. We had our final exam today which was again in three parts. Written, knife cuts, and practical! I thought I had bombed this test! I felt out of sorts when cooking and for some reason I felt like all my cuts were off and then the written????... Well, that was a disaster, right?


I got my grades back tonight and my written was an 87%, knife cuts were a 92% and my practical grades were 90%, 83% and 100% (we had to make three dishes). Over all I got a 91% on today's test which gave me a 94.4% in the class. I am very pleased with my grade. I worked pretty hard to get that so I feel it is well earned!

On the test we had to make Chicken Consomme, Ravioli with Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce and our mystery dish was Cream of Broccoli Soup. We had never made or seen the broccoli soup made during our week so it was purely guesswork! I thought my soup was too thin but I got a 90% so I am happy about that. The ravioli dish was the hardest. I did fine constructing the ravioli and the filling but the sauce is hard for me. Part of it may be my hatred for sun dried tomatoes but my dish was edible.

I have to tell you all, Raviolis are pretty fun to make! I think I could make all kinds of designs and shapes with the ricotta and parmesan filling and put any other kind of sauce on it and have people enjoy it. I may need to buy a pasta crank machine. We will have to see how much I like this. I can see holiday appetizers and party food and all that with home made raviolis.

I have tons of recipes that I can share or give advice on so any of you reading this blog that want to know how to make something please email me at TRASMSN@aol.com and I will type up and send you the recipes you want.

Next week is Intro to Baking so stay tuned for what is going on there! Hopefully tons of sweets baby! Have a great labor day weekend and I will blog if anything interesting comes up. Till then, Cheers and Bon Appetit!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Day 14 of Intro to Culinary

Hello all... Here I am on the last day of adventure for Intro to Culinary. We have our final exam tomorrow and then we are off to Intro to Baking on Tuesday 9/9/09.

I will update you all tomorrow!

Cheers and Bon Appetit!


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 13 of Week Three in Intro to Culinary

Holy Cow Folks!!! Today kicked my toosh. We only had three dishes but if you looked at our trays you would have thought we were cooking for 12. It was amazing the items we did. In fact it was so much work that I didn't even complete all of the dishes if you can imagine that. This was a first for me. I always finish with some time to spare but tonight to me to a new level.

Chef told us this would be the hardest week and boy was he right. We did Potage Parmentier, Pasta Carbonara and Hand Made Cheese Ravioli with a Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce.

Potage Parmentier is basically a potato, onion and leek soup that is blended and seasoned with a wonderful potato flavor to it. I really enjoyed it. The Pasta Carbonara is just that... it is a cream sauce with pancetta in it to give it a creamy fatty flavor that goes perfectly on all kinds of pasta. Tonight we used spaghetti shaped pasta. Then we made our own hand made raviolis stuffed with ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese along with some herbs. We actually rolled and then cut out the ravioli shapes and cooked those. We mixed those in with a very complex Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce which was actually pretty good I must admit even though I can not stand sun dried tomatoes. For some reason they make me sick just imagining the flavor!

I was pretty excited about the ravioli. Making home made pasta is fun but boy do you wish for someone to clean up after you when you make the huge pasta makin' mess that you do when you make these pastas. The mess just isn't my favorite part. If I could cook up a storm, make a huge old mess and then walk away and enjoy the evening while someone else cleaned... I would be in heaven!

Our class seemed to work better together tonight as well. I guess the stern talking to from the Chef last night helped get everyone on track. Thank goodness.

Well, I am exhausted so I am off to get some rest!

Cheers and Bon Appetit!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

13 Followers.... Yeah Baby!

Just wanted to note and thank all of you for being such good friends and for following me! If you want to pass this on to more folks please feel free! I would love to see this thing grow into a Julie and Julia thingy! What fun! :)

Cheers all!


Day 12 - Week 3

Well, here we are in the final week of Intro to Culinary! I have completed two tests and I have made tons of fun dishes. I have only gotten one injury - that tiny little burn that made me cry like a girl and of course the tomato stains that I actually got out of my uniform thanks to some help from my Mom and some advice from my dear friend Carolyn. I am tired and worn out but I have learned so much about this crazy world of cooking that I love so much.

As far as our test yesterday, I feel like I did pretty well on the written and the knife cuts. For some reason though when I got to the cooking portion of the test, I couldn't have ordered more issues with my cooking! LOL First of all, we did have to do Pommes Anna and I practiced that over the weekend three times so I was R-E-A-D-Y! What happens? Somehow I burned it into the pan - not once but twice. I ran out of time and had to do what I could to present it to the Chef. He did say that it wasn't my worst dish but it sure wasn't my best dish. I know I never went under a B range on the production end of the test though so Woo Whoo! I will share my grade as soon as I get it!

Tonight was fun though! I got to make Hand Made Pasta Dough, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Fettuccini with Marinara Sauce, and Risotto con Fungi. As much as I was not into the idea of the mess with the pasta, I had a blast with it. I kind of felt like a kid again because we had a mess and a half going! The pasta came out really fresh and good though and I want a pasta maker now! I know I will never do it at home though so I guess I should save that cash! And those of you who know me well know that I don't like to have my hands dirty with flour and egg and all that... I know it is funny but it is me!

The Cream of Mushroom Soup was DEEEELish! It was probably my favorite dish tonight. I love mushrooms so it was oh so much fun! We used button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and crimini mushrooms. All had wonderful flavor and when mixed with the velute sauce and the heavy cream.... well, you can just imagine the taste! WOW!

The pasta sauces were great because they had garlic! You all know my love affair with garlic I hope. YOU CAN NEVER EVER HAVE TOO MUCH GARLIC! That is my motto! The garlic and the onion and the fresh tomato made a magnificent marinara sauce. The alfredo was pretty darn good too with the garlic and freshly grated parmesan cheese. What can I say but YUM!

This week is going to be a crazy week because we only have two days of cooking and then on Friday we have our final exam. So be prepared to read about a lot of fun things. Hopefully I can come up with some pointers for some of you!

Cheers and Bon Appetit! Be well


Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday August 31st - TEST DAY

Okay all! You have to think good thoughts for me this afternoon! I am getting ready for our test today in Intro to Culinary. When I get there we have a three part test that starts with a written test. In the written test we get to answer questions about terms, measurements, recipes that we have to write from memory and fun stuff like that. Then we move on to the timed knife cut section. It is amazing how hard that can be when you are timed! Then its off to the practical portion of the test which is where the teacher lists products on the board that we are to prepare from memory. It is always such a fun type of test. The pressure!!!! AAARRRGGGHHH! Can't it be Tuesday yet?

Anyways, I will let you all know what the test is like tonight when I get home! Hope you are all having a wonderful day!

Bon Appetit!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Potatoes, Potatoes and More Potatoes!

So based on the title you may know what we made tonight in class... If you can't tell, I will help you out here.... POTATOES! I have worked with more starches in this class than I ever have. Don't get me wrong because I love potatoes! They are so good!

Last night we made Pommes Anna, Pommes Dauphinois, Hollandaise Sauce, Tomato Sauce and Clarified Butter. I am going to brag for a moment here because I actually am pretty good with the clarified butter. This product can burn pretty quickly and I seem to have the touch that it takes to make this. I also kind of like Pommes Anna. They are tough though. You have to cut paper thin small round slices of potato and place them in the form of a rosette in a small pan. You then layer them (no less than 3 layers and up to 5 layers) repeating the formation and then you brown the edges, bake the dish in the oven and then when you pull it out of the oven you have to flip it over on the dish for a very pretty presentaion! Can you say BUTTER! The amount of butter in this dish is to die for!

Pommes Dauphinois is similar to scalloped potatoes. Made with garlic and heavy cream and sliced potatoes it is just really yummy! I could eat this daily but I would be looking like Robert on Hell's Kitchen and that ain't gonna happen!

Tomato sauce is easy and fun but boy is it a mess! It is hard to get the tomato stains out too! But, the end result is pretty delish and it goes great with some fresh pasta. You have to simmer long enough to melt the pork meat right off the bone and then you know you are good to go. The food mill is kind of a mess but it sure makes a good end product.

Tonight we make Latkes and Pommes Anna and Roesti Potatoes...oh yeah... Hollandaise too! Latkes are like small hash brown patties that are pan fried with very tiny diced onions and boy are they good! They go very well with some sour cream and I am dying to try them with some eggs and bacon at breakfast one time. Yum!!! I was pretty pleased with my pommes anna but I am going to practice over the weekend because I am pretty sure it will be part of our practical test on Monday and I want PERFECTION baby!

Roesti potatoes are kind of cool because you have to be like Julia and flip the pan and pray for the courage to do so without a mess. You for grated potatoes into a 1/2 inch thick pancake in the bottom of a hot pan and you wait for it to brown and then - all in the wrist now - you flip this thing over in one shot with the hope in your heart that it doesn't break into tiny pieces all over the range and make the mess from hell! I, surprisingly, did it perfectly the first time. I was so flippin' excited (no pun intended here!) and I ended up with some great color on my product which led to a great grade.

Hollandaise you may ask??? I need to work on this one and I am going to the master hollandaise maker this weekend (My Dad) to see what tricks he can teach me to make a great Hollandaise Sauce.

Oh yeah... Did I tell you all I burned myself? Well, I was in a hurry and my dumb ass grabbed a REALLY hot pan and burned my pointer finger pretty darn good. The blister was there within minutes. Luckily I know about this great cream that you can purchase at Wholefoods called "Calendula Cream" by Boiron. This stuff works miracles. My burn is half the size today and the blister that I want to pop worse than an 8 year old wants to open presents on Christmas, has shrunk and is not bothering me too bad at all. I am glad it is a burn and not a cut though so I just have to be happy about that!

Well all, have a wonderful night and enjoy tomorrow!

Cheers! and Bon Appetit!

Chef Boy R Tony

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sauces Again! This time better!

Good evening all! Let me first start by saying that I had a discussion with a classmate today while we were making risotto parmesan about the new movie that is out, "Time Traveler's Wife", and I have come to the conclusion that Rachel McAdams is quite possibly one of the most beautiful women on our planet! So, now that I have that out there.... on to the cooking!

Today went okay. We had a huge demo list tonight. Chef was showing us how to do the dishes that we are going to cook tomorrow because we are being hosted for dinner at the school's Bistro restaurant tomorrow night. Rumor has it we are having Osso Bucco. I hope that is true because I love that dish. The problem with our "free" dinner is that it cuts into our class time and our prep time. We have a lot to cook tomorrow night and we have had our class time cut down for dinner.

Tonight we did risotto parmesan again along with Bechamel Sauce and Veloute Sauce again. It was good to do these again because my grade went up for all three items. However, the only major drama tonight was when we made clarified butter. My partner and I threw our butter in the pot and threw it on the flame and we both got busy and the butter bubbled up and over the pan and went EVERYWHERE! What a flippin mess. I was over it all at that point! Once I composed myself again I started over and got it perfect! Woo Whoo!

The class is fairly interesting. It is hard to not throw my management urges into the whole thing. I can't stand when people stand around and dishes need to be done. People got to see the "Get your ass to work" side of Tony tonight and I am not sure many of them really enjoyed that part of me but what the hey.... everyone has to jump in and get the job done! I just won't stay quiet about it. God I wish I had a dishwashing staff at this school....

So until tomorrow all.... Bon Appetit and Cheers!!

Sauce Week!

So tonight was the beginning of Sauce Week... Could be mistaken for Hell Week but I guess I will change that to "Hella Bland Sauces" being whooped up during Hell Week #2 in the kitchen. With all honesty, this class is kicking my behind. I have so much appreciation for Chefs and what they do now. It is a lot of work to make everything come out perfectly and consistently. I am truly impressed by the work that trained and skilled Chefs do.

We made three sauces tonight and I must tell you, they were all bland. No seasoning at this stage so you hardly want to taste them to see if you made them correctly. Now understand that two of the most important standards for a sauce is the texture and the consistency of the sauce.

Tonight we made:
Sauce Bechamel = Sauce Mornay
Sauce Espagnole
Sauce Veloute = Sauce Supreme
Clarified Butter

The best of all three in my opinion was the Sauce Espagnole because it had some flavor to it. The other two were fairly bland white sauces... well, one was more of a blond than the other!

It was a nice night in the kitchen. We need to step up our A game in getting the dishes done. I think that is the biggest problem we have. TOO MANY DISHES AND NO DISH WASHER!!!

The rest of the week is more potato dishes and more sauces so stay tuned for a "Saucy Update"!!! LOL

Bon Appetit! Cheers!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I am back! Week one down and no cuts!

Hello all. I have been away a couple days. Sorry I have not been on here updating. We had our first test yesterday. It was probably one of the hardest tests I have taken in several years. I studied like crazy for it and I think I did alright! The test was a three part test. We started out with a written test that contained terms and multiple choice questions along with some fill in the blanks. That was not the hard part though. Next was to write 5 recipes that we did this week by memory. They were ten points a piece. I have never memorized a recipe before and that is hard unless you make it a few times. Anyways, I think I may have done okay on the recipes....not great but okay.

Then when the written portion was done we moved on to knife cuts. Those are hard because they are cuts that one does not normally do. I was shocked at how tired my hands got. I think it was because of the pressure of being timed. When I was practicing during the week my hands didn't tire out because I was more relaxed I think. Anyways, I got all the cuts done but I did notice a couple were off in size so I know where I need to practice more. The best thing to do is practice! Practice! Practice! Right?.?.?

The final portion of the test consisted of a practical exam. Chef posted three dishes on the board and we had to scurry around and gather all the ingredients and put the dishes together without using a recipe card. From memory! There was a two hour time limit and there was to be silence. Anyone who has met my classmates would know that is probably the hardest test of all for us! We are a bit chatty! Anyways, Chef posted mashed potatoes, rice pilaf and ratatouille. I whipped it all together as best I could and quite frankly I was shocked that I remembered how to do them. As I may have shared previously the only ingredient I really like in ratatouille is the garlic... I don't see myself making that much in the future! As we presented our dishes Chef would taste them and take notes but he did not share with us or give us critiques. The only comment he made to me was that my ratatouille was the worst of all three of my dishes and that would be in the "B" range. I was surprised because I was not that thrilled with the way my dish came out. The eggplant was undercooked.

I am happy with the overall results of my testing yesterday and I feel like I will start next week with a new approach and a more positive mindset. We are going to learn so much. I really like the Chef too. He is very smart and is a very talented Chef.

Today we are having a knife cut party! I know that sounds like a rager!!! It should be fun. I have converted my dining room table into a knife cut station armed with tons of weaponry... LOL... Okay really just a bunch of sharp knives, a waste bowl, cutting boards and of course POTATOES! Woo Whoo!!! Can't wait for this Saturday night bash! I may just have to cook for my study guests as well.

Well all! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend and if you are near a stove, whip up something new and challenging. You might just happen to love it!

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 3 of Intro to Culinary

OMG! I am so tired after tonight's class. I almost fell down when I walked in the door of my apartment. Being day 3 I was shocked to see how much we had to do. It tested every ounce of me tonight. We had to make three things tonight and we were timed and we had to wear every hat known in a kitchen. I was the prep cook, the Chef, the dishwasher... All at the same time too! Crazy but fun!

So we started with a braised leek dish. Not my favorite but hey, I will try everything once. It was kind of a fun dish to make because it was different and I would never ever order it. The flavor was kind of bland for me and I love vegetables!

Dish two was amazing and super easy too so I will be doing this one many more times to come! It was glazed carrots and WOW were they yummy! The sweetness with the carrot flavor and texture is just phenomenal.

The third dish tonight was made up mostly of items that I do not generally eat but it was pretty good if you ask me! Ratatouille... and I don't mean the animated mouse!!! The ratatouille we made included eggplant, red and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, garlic and salt and pepper to taste of course... This was the hardest because of the prep time and the way you cook it. You must caramelize each ingredient by itself - but you have to be careful not to over cook the product - then at the end you mix them all together and throw a cute little paper hat over the dish and let them cook for a few. De-lish!

Over all, it was a fun night. Those of you that know me probably already get that I am not a huge fan of dishwashing... Well that is what screwed all of us up on our grade tonight. Our workmanship grades were hurt because we let some dishes pile up. I am not too cool with that so I have to figure this one out! LOL

So tomorrow I need to work on my knife cuts! These are going to be the death of me I swear. Our first test in on Friday and I have got to be prepared for it. So tomorrow will be practice practice and more practice.

I am sure those of you who are dialed in noticed that I changed the layout. I hope you all like it. I feel like it is more viewer friendly.

Until tomorrow my friends!!! Bon Appetit!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 2 of Intro to Culinary

I'm Tony Rasmussen and I am currently a student at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena. What you are about to read is written by me and only me. Everything is from my point of view and is being written as I go through the program at California School of Culinary Arts. The things that I write about are things that are taught to me while attending the school. - Hopefully that is enough of a disclaimer! If not send me what I should say and I will update my blog to reflect the correct disclaimer!

Let me start by saying that I am pretty excited about this blog thing. I have never done one and I saw Julie and Julia the other day and thought this would be a pretty cool thing to try. Because of the work load that I have while attending this school I figured that this would be a fun way to keep friends and family updated with what I am up to. So I hope you will add yourself as a follower and stay up to date with what I am learning! If you have questions or want to know more feel free to email me directly at TRASMSN@aol.com and I will get back to you!

Bon Appetit! Enjoy my blogs and I look forward to sharing many more days to come!

Okay.... Is it water from all the dishes from the cleanup or is it sweat???? Unfortunately the heat is up in the kitchen. It doesn't seem to matter how many fans are on... the stoves put out way too much heat for my fat ass!!! LOL The amount of water one drinks in class is amazing! I think it is the heat and the amount of work you do in a short period of time. I have a new found respect for Chefs now.

So today is the end of day two. We made blanched spinach (yum yum) and pommes vapeur (aka: steamed tourneed potatoes). The potatoes were pretty good actually but I need to work on the knife cuts because mine didn't exactly look like little mini football shaped potatoes. It was really neat to get to do the set up, the prep and then cook the food and present it to Chef Whitmore for tasting and grading.

Everything from how warm the plate is to how dry and fluffy your parsley is when sprinkled on top of a dish for presentation is important and part of the grade. The taste is actually only a small part! Once he tastes it and plays with it to check texture, temperature and consistency, he gives you comments and tells you to dive in or toss it! Thankfully, I took pictures before he played with my food. That sounds kind of funny to say that actually! I guess I had better get used to playing with my food.

A few of my classmates cut themselves pretty good tonight. Thank goodness I haven't done that one yet. Those of you who know me well know how well I would do with a cut! (Mr. Schranz!)

Knife Cuts:

Not sure how many of you have ever done these but personally I feel that this is the scariest part of this class. Over the years I have eaten in a number of fine dining establishment... probably more than I should have, but either way, I have eaten all types of food and I must say there really aren't many places that I have noticed some of these cuts so I am learning something totally new.

There are three categories of knife cuts:

1. Long Cuts
a. Julienne = 1/8" x 1/8" x 2" - 3"
b. Battonet = 1/4" x 1/4" x 2" - 3"

2. Square Cuts
a. Brunoise = 1/8" x 1/8" x 1/8"
b. Macedoine = 1/4" x 1/4" x 1/4"
c. Parmentier = 1/2" x 1/2" x 1/2"
d. Carre = 3/4" x 3/4" x 3/4"

3. Miscellaneous Cuts
a. Rondelle
b. Asian
c. Oblique (or Round Cut)
d. Paysanne (or Tile Cut)
e. Tourne
f. Chiffonade

The Misc. Cuts are the most unique cuts of all with the exception of the Rondelle which basically translates to small like size slices. For example: Cutting a carrot into small similar disc size pieces is a Rondelle cut.

It was a fun and fast paced night. I can't wait to see what tomorrow is like. We are learning to do brown veal stock, braised leek, glazed root vegetable and le piece de resistance (of the day) is Ratatouille - not the little mouse but the dish! That should be fun!

So I am off to fetch my bag of potatoes and my carving knife to sit and watch some television and practice my cuts. I see many 5lb. bags of potatoes in our future my dear readers!!! LOL

And, if you have not seen Julie and Julia yet, you should put it on your list. As Chef Julia Child once said, "Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy! Dining is not a fuel stop, it is a recreation!"

And I will steel her famous line tonight!

I'm Tony Rasmussen! Bon Appetit!

Day 1 of Intro to Culinary - CSCA Le Cordon Bleu

HOLY COW! HOW AMAZING! There are not enough clean expletives to explain how unbelievable class was tonight! Let me apologize for the wordy notes to follow but I am very eager to share my excitement with you all.

Chef Whitmore is a complete hard ass and I love it! He is demanding, very rule oriented and above all, a great teacher! This is going to be an incredible three weeks. He has it packed full. Tonight was the absolute earliest we will be out of class and that was 11:00pm. He said to plan on being in class until 11:30 or 12am each night depending on the cleanup time. I am completely exhausted but I feel high as a kite! The excitement and the rush from the running around the kitchen and learning is really neat!

Chef is a very hard grader and our attendance and work habits are 70% of our grade in this class. Each day will consist of a lecture, a demo and then our individual work of the recipes done in the demo. We get to eat or take home what we make in class each day. We will have three tests in this class. We will have knife cuts due once a week and we are strongly encouraged to get a bag of potatoes and a bag of large carrots and practice practice practice... The knife cuts are a large portion of the test grade.

Tonight we jumped in and started with a chicken stock. We are going to be learning a lot about stocks over the three weeks. We will be learning a lot of other recipes as well.

Chef said that those that practice a sense of urgency in the kitchen and take initiative will surely do well. His average students are C students so he says you must work hard and excel in order to receive higher grades. He is not quick to give out A’s. I am going to jump in and work very hard at this and enjoy every minute of working in the kitchen with a great Chef instructor. He also teaches our business law class and he has a law degree from UCLA, he is a cancer survivor and he was an Executive Chef for several years for the Marriott Corporation. He has been with the school for 7 years and he even traveled to Europe to help design the Intro to Culinary program for the school. He seems to know what he is doing inside and out and has taught our class over 100 times.

I am going to be staying very busy with this class but it is going to be quite a chance to learn some amazing things about this business. One small fact about kitchens the Chef shared with us tonight is that Cornell University did a study and figured that it costs an establishment 2 to 3 cents on average per step that the executive chef takes in the kitchen. That adds up pretty quick so it is imperitive to have a Chef that understands EVERYTHING that needs to be done and how quickly it needs to get done and done correctly...

If only you guys could take this class with me! What a blast!


Tony, Nigel and Chef