Sunday, December 6, 2009

Le Cordon Bleu

One day course with Le Cordon Bleu Director De Cuisine, Chef Marc Bonard,
at IFT Macau

Learning the art of French-Japanese cuisine

This creation got me and me and my partner Alan a 70/100 from Chef.
Barely passed.

But I am jumping the gun. Let me start from the beginning: the prep stage.

In the morning: a 3 course demo from Chef Mark Bonard, fusing French techniques with Japanese ingredients and using French and Japanese presentation styles

We arived in class at 10 am to find chef doing his mise-en-place

Assistants helped him lay out the ingredients: the meats, the rice, onions, butter, cream, even the sakura-ebi - a tiny dried shrimp that chef had carried all the way from Japan.

Interesting concotion: the chef 's inimitable French-accented English, the Cantonese translator, Macanese assistants and Japanese ingredients.

Appetiser: Skewered quail Yakitori style glazed with sansho flavour. Served with leek, chervil and parsley salad.
The dark diagonal in the middle is a single brush stroke of olive oil dotted with Japanese sansho pepper. Tre Bien !

The quails were sauteed in butter and finished in the oven For the glazing sauce, chef used quail bones, chicken stock and beef stock.

Main Course: Chicken Breasts Nori-Maki style. shellfish reduction, vegetable pilaf
A classic dish and a beauty to watch

The chicken breasts were hammered thin and covered with sheets of Nori. Chef made a stuffing of egg white, cream, chopped chicken, tarragon and sakura-ebi, piped the stuffing on the chicken-nori sheets and then rolled it like a giant sausage.

Steamed in the oven for 20 minutes, cut into sushi-like pieces and coated in sakura ebi powder.
The shellfish reduction was simply shrimp head and tails boiled and reduced with tomato paste, and the vegetable pilaf was cooked with chicken stock.

And this is the final composition on the plate. A visual haiku with a french accent.

Dessert: Milk chocolate 'shooters' with green tea cream, green tea streusel, chocolate granache and hazelnut crunch

Bottom layer: green tea cream, made with powdered green tea, heavy cream, egg yolk and gelatin
Layer 2: bombe chocolate noir - chocolate, syrup and cream
Layer 3: a thin spread of green tea, powdered sugar, butter and salt
Layer 4: milk chocolate and cream granache
Topped with: hazelnut biscuits made fresh in the oven

Frankly, I was completely lost on this one !

Class in progress.
I couldn't stop staring at the Cordon Bleu logo

So that was the morning.
In the afternoon we were divided into teams and asked to recreate the main course

Lots of chopping and stuffing, reducing and straining.

These culinary students from the IFT were fantastic. Look how expertly they are rolling the chicken nori-maki in the sakura-ebi.

I was teamed with Alan, a Chinese chef from Macau. We were a bit of a bumbling pair, though we did manage to look busy

Taking time off to pose for the camera now and then

Somehow in 2.5 hours we came up with this, which didn't look or taste bad at all I tell you. But of course it was nowhere near chef's standard. The chicken was slightly overcooked, the rice was underseasoned and overplated and the sauce was too thick and very slightly burnt. Wouldn't have got us any Michelin stars but we did get a 70 out of 100.

In the end , this made it all worth it. Never thought I'd be so thrilled at getting a certificate !



Anonymous said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

Cecilia said...

Hello, it just happened that I found out your blog while google-ing. You know what? I was one of the them who were having class with you at IFT the other day. So surprised to see your blog!