Lessons 6-10: Fabrication & Stocks

This past week I have filleted a fish, killed and dispatched a lobster, cleaned a squid, shucked an oyster, and disjointed a chicken and a duck - all for the very first time. But before we could tackle the culinary lessons in fabrication, we had the last of our longer lectures on food cost control management, the kitchen brigade system, and the culinary science behind oils, fats and heat.The lessons were leading up to the preparation of two dishes: Salt-Wilted Cabbage and a House Salad.

Both salads were dressed in a basic vinaigrette and then were presented to Chef Ted for approval. Knife drills have become a morning standard as we work to get more efficient and accurate at medium dicing potatoes, carrots, celery and onions. New items are added to the mix each week with this week’s additions including leeks and shallots.

With Wednesday’s knife drill behind us, we moved on to identifying and fabricating fish and shellfish. Chef Ted demonstrated the technique for filleting flounder, striped bass and salmon, watching as each of us sliced and chopped our way to fish filets. Thursday marked the arrival of pounds of fresh lobsters, which we learned to kill and dispatch. The fish and shellfish fabrication all lead up to preparing fish stock that was added to our big finale, Fish Soup with lobster, shrimp, scallops, calamari, mussels and clams.

Early Friday morning signaled the start to poultry basics as we learned how to truss a chicken and disjoint it into 10 pieces. We then applied the same disjointing process to a duck, discussing the myths and the misconceptions behind foie gras (the enlarged fattened liver of a force-fed duck or goose). Chef Ted provided invaluable info about this delicacy, which he noted could only be made in the US with the Moularde breed of duck. From a House Salad to a disjointed duck, this week included major milestones in the start of our six-month journey here at The Institute of Culinary Education. I’m excited and ready to tackle next week’s culinary lessons, which will feature lessons for fabricating beef and rabbit.

Coming up next week: Chicken Stock Preparation, Beef Fabrication, Introduction to Veal, Brown Veal Stock and Pork & Rabbit Fabrication

A look back: Lesson 1: Mise en Place Lesson 5: Medium Dice & Mirepoix

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