Tuesday, January 20, 2009

French Demos: Day 1

Imagine walking into a classroom full of students you don't know at all. After a few minutes have passed in awkwardness, the chef in charge starts demanding students to take off their jackets and/or hats and remove any non-approved beverage containers from the tables. He then goes on to briefly introduce the visiting French chefs and then the demonstration begins. Your eyes are met by those of two french men dressed in their whites along with one properly dressed woman standing on the side. As the minutes pass you come to understand her purpose in the demos. You see, these two men...the chefs visiting from France, they don't speak any English. She is there solely to translate. After introducing themselves (and of course waiting for the woman to translate), they begin to talk about what they will be making today in our first demo. A slide is placed up for all to see, the first words not even in English. Looking at the required paperwork for the day, I realize it is my responsibility to copy down the recipes given and write down some things I learned during the course of the demo this particular day. As I begin to print what words I can actually read and make out, the paper begins to move down and I hastily quicken my writing speed. All too soon I realize I am in for a crazy two and a half hours. I scribble what I can decipher and only then do I begin to actually listen to the French chefs (or the translator in this case) and watch to see what they are really doing. Turns out they're showing us how to make three things. #1 is a pear, cheese, bacon pastry. #2 is a vanilla creme mousse dessert. #3 is homemade marshmallow. After I have finally managed to write down all the recipes along with some interesting facts learned, I settle down and finally am open to the knowledge these chefs have chosen to impart on us all. The lesson was fascinating, albeit long and tiring as well. At the end we were fortunate enough to be able to sample the pastry and I have to say, it was pretty good, considering I had never tried cheese like that before. It was some cheese hard to find here but easily accessible in France, along the lines of bleu cheese I believe. I've decided I'm going to try (my best) to taste everything possible and not refuse something just because I've never had it or think I don't like it. Now is the time for my taste buds to flourish!!

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