Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Weekend recap

So Blue Ribbon Cooking School was fun. Robin was so thrilled she suggested we should do it every year! We had two instructors for the cooking portions, who I promptly dubbed "Chef Boot Camp" and Chef Laid Back." I ended up in Chef Boot Camp's group at the beginning of the evening but thankfully we started mixing and mingling as the evening wore on. Largely I photo documented the other guests, though I did participate in some of the hands on cooking as well. Unfortunately when I cook I feel most at ease in my own kitchen with my own equipment and without other people underfoot. If I'd started out in Chef Laid Back's camp, I probably would have been fine and participated more but Chef Boot Camp was more "my style" of chef, in that she wanted to have control and wanted to do things just so and consequently we clashed a bit. When the two "teams" were making gnocchi, Ray was kneading his dough and said, "I think I need more flour," but wasn't allowed to actually have more flour until Chef Boot Camp personally inspected a few minutes later, when she herself said "You need more flour," (as if Ray hadn't said that two minutes ago) and personally got the flour for him. Conversely, people on the other team were allowed to handle their own measuring cups and were getting their own flour, virtually unsupervised! OMG, anarchy!

We didn't actually get to cook everything on the menu, which I'd been wondering about when I saw the huge list of courses. The corn muffins and the salmon crepes were already prepared when we arrived. This was a little disappointing because we birthday ladies chose the crepes in specific because we wanted to get the professional guidance on preparing them, but also totally understandable. It was a huge menu and obviously we couldn't start from scratch on everything. Still, it wasn't clear that we wouldn't be preparing some of the courses when we picked and if I'd had my way I would have made the crepes and let the frickin' salads be pre-made! I've made a bazillion salads in my day.

There was one part of the evening where I feared that we were going to devolve into a bad place, as Chef Boot Camp was talking very critically about the choice of dessert. That creme brule-stuffed pears were "too much" and the Creme Anglaise "overrated." As the dessert was the only area of the menu that I really exerted myself (Christine pre-screened the rest of the menu, keeping every known special need in mind, and Robin and I signed off on it... willingly because Christine made excellent suggestions but still...) I was not thrilled to hear the chef thought so poorly of my choice. At that point I decided to go photograph the glassware for a while and felt better with a little distance. Heh.

Another contrast between our chefs was when we had mostly finished dinner (some of us were finishing coffee or wine, everyone talking and relaxing after a couple of hours in the kitchen) Chef Boot Camp came out to dismiss us! "You can wrap it up now," or some similarly expressed sentiment! I got up to use the bathroom and ran into Chef Laid Back on the way, so I apologized that we were lingering so long. He waved me off... no problem, he said. He really didn't care, where Chef Boot Camp was seriously stressed about time (at another point in the meal she came out and flat out told us to start eating... I was photographing my plate as I am wont to do and didn't appreciate being hit with the Achtung Baby.)

Anyway, don't read my whining as disappointment with the evening! Overwhelmingly I had a great time. It wasn't completely perfect and unmarred but none of my petty grievances even came close to being significant complaints. It was fabulous to get together with friends. I hadn't seen some of the attendees in many months and it was great to get together and share the experience. I loved having the chance to cook with so many of my friends all at once (and not have to clean up afterward!) and the meal came out spectacularly. They gave us a menu, complete with recipes, for us to take home. I will try to get it transcribed and posted on my recipe pages because everything we had (even the "too much" Creme Brule Stuffed Pears with Creme Anglaise and Port Wine Sauce our chef so disparaged) turned out phenomenally and ALL of us are excited to try making homemade gnocchi again soon.

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Blogger Evan Says:

By the way, dessert was the most kickass part. Better than the gnocchi, even.


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