Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tension, taste and technique

Chefs do a blind taste-test of the soup course. 

 All is quiet in the kitchen again at Liaison College Hamilton Chef School, and the air is heavy with concentration. Our Cook Basic A.M. class is in the midst of their final practical exam, creating a meal from soup through to dessert. Their timing is critical- chefs expect each course to be served at the exact time specified (no sooner, no later), and at the correct temperature (hot dishes served hot, cold ones still chilled).

Each course is blind taste-tested: students are assigned a number, delivering their food to the empty classroom before the chefs enter to sample from each dish.
James pipes decoration onto his dessert plate. 

Cole delivers his chocolate mousse to the test tables.
While the students work through their soup, main course, sauces and dessert, the chefs make careful notes on seasoning, taste, texture, temperature, and technique.

The dessert course offers an opportunity to explore garnish, presentation styles and sugar work. It also marks a drop in the intensity that permeates the campus on exam days.

Even when the last plate has been delivered to the tasting tables, students still wait on edge until their evaluation is complete. One by one they are called to discuss their meals with the chefs, emerging with relief or concern written across their face.

Chef Bill and Chef Dan finish their test notes before liaising with students. 

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