Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Update: Cooking Journey (Sept 2014)


I have not been writing as much since my Stocks class. A lot of things have been happening.. 

So finally,  I managed to squeeze an update.. 
 
1) I'm in the midst of looking for a new job. Its either in childcare vs one in hospitality. My roster for childcare work seems to be thinning out, hence I realise I better get my arse moving or I am going to end up penniless.  

It seems that trend in childcare centres and companies recently seem to be tightening their budget belt, and looking more for full-timers. Added to the recent increase in tax rates doesnt seem to help matters much. 

2) It's a good thing that I now have my testamur for Cert III in Patisserie, which allows me to be multi-skilled ( meaning more work options). It is also a trade qualification for those wanting to find work in Australia. 

The good thing about having a trade qualification is it allows one to have a jumpstart and as a stepping stone into the world of baking as well as cookery. It doesn't qualify you a "chef" yet, but it just means that you have the training in the basics, and gives you structured understanding of the different aspects into the foray of the baking world. (i.e cakes, gateau, dessert, chocolate). 

It costs me $419 Australian Dollars for two terms in TAFE (six months) as a local resident here to enrol in this program. Trade qualifications generally receive more funding from the government. However from 2015 onwards, funding towards public education in technical schools as well as in universities have been reduced, and all local students have to pay pro-rata and a much higher rate. 

I consider myself lucky to have been able to enrol into the program when funding is still available, and also to take up this program in Australia as you cannot find this sort of inexpensive training even as a resident of Malaysia. 

I heard the starting tuition fee is at least RM15,000 for the hospitality program in Taylors College from TY, my makeup teacher (in KL), whose brother is enrolled there. 

3) I am currently learning about appetizers, salads and sandwiches in class. It is sort of a relief, and a change as in our stocks & soups class, we were constantly making chicken stock from scratch in each class...! 

The thing about making stock from scratch at TAFE is that the ingredients we have used is not economically nor effectively used up as it is in a public institution. (funded by the Australian govt by the taxpayers. >_>)
 
Anyways, that just means less wash up and cleaning at the end of the class. ^^

4) I've spent a lot more time on the meetup.com platform ever since I joined one of my drinking friends, Aaron, (I don't drink much, if you are wondering). It is a good experience using this platform to organise outings, and for me, foodie events. Our group is O Me, O Life! 

There is only roughly about less than 300 members in this group, but I think that's a good number to start working with to hone your organising and socialising skills. There are some things that you would like to do, but with my friends (who are mostly in their 30s, and busy with their babies and families, this is not so possible). 

Its also a safer option, as you get to control the numbers as well, and plan the itinerary for the group. Each meetup group has a different culture, and this group is a lot more close knit (I think it is). But I enjoy the role as being an organiser as it allows me to plan and research things and events to do. 


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Stock, Soup and Sauces: Beurre Blanc Seared & Roasted Chicken.

Wednesday was the start of my new unit, Stock, Soups and Sauces. My practical unit started today, but we had an elective apparently started last week. Hence, it is no longer James Collins who is my chef now, but a new guy called Scott H. (Cant remember his last name...)

There was a mix up, but it was all good. Though I mixed today's and last week's class, the chef wasn't too worried about it after I told him that I had come in after completing Patisserie.. (I only have one theory elective to complete, apart from Cost and Menu).

After a while, you pretty know which among the students are new in the kitchen.. seems like I am no longer the one who is the slowest in class. LOL.. My classmates comprised from a range of students who are new, as well to one who is running and managing his own restaurant. ^^

So for today's unit, we worked on making the most basic of white, and brown stocks. Using those stocks, we made our main dish of the day which was Beurre Blanc Seared & Roasted Chicken with Parsley.

Most of the time we use powdered stock.. but making stock the old fashioned way will ensure you have good tasting sauces, finger licking good to the very last drop! (to paraphase Heston Blumenthal....)

washing chicken in water to get rid of impurities.
The first step in making stocks is to ensure that the particular item is free and clean of impurities. The includes soaking and rinsing chopped up chicken bits and bones, fish bones of all  the blood, and etc. 

In making a clear and white stocks, say like chicken and fish, the ingredients used must not contain any browning ingredients, say charred vegetables or charred onions. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Produce Meat Dishes: Roasted Pork Belly, Pork Loin Cutlet & Pork Crepinette.

Chef Roux
So last Tuesday, we worked on boning pork. For those who don't like pork, you can always turn away from looking at the screen. 

We had a couple of Muslims in the class. How they got around the issue of touching pork was using the blue coloured gloves when handling pork. 

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