Hey, look at that! I’m in a chef’s coat again!
Several weeks ago I was browsing my Life List and decided it was time to tick a few more things off before the end of 2011 and, since it was the middle of the holiday season, anything dealing with food seemed to be a great idea.
You see, I have this thing about respecting food. And I wasn’t doing a good job of treating my chicken well – not for lack of trying, but for lack of skill. I didn’t want to waste or massacre another bird.
Michael is a brave soul and also an awesome guy to work with. How many chefs do you know that have philosophy degrees from Princeton? Our history of shenanigans goes back a few years when we were both part of a large hospital system and I’d routinely call him up with insane ideas for an event – and he’d never fail to make it happen.
I told Michael I wanted to do something fun with him again and he could pick: Teach me to (a) break down a chicken, (b) filet a fish, or (c) make a souffle. His response? “Let’s do all three!”
I called my favorite photographer friend, Christine of Christine Tremoulet Photography and Big Pink Cookie and asked if she, too, wanted to be a part of some culinary shenanigans and she said yes, too! Remember this – it will become important in a few minutes. I have her to thank for all these awesome pictures in this post.
Let’s break down a chicken!
But then I wasn’t using my knife appropriately. It appears I was chopping instead of slicing, so Chef Michael decided to teach me a lesson all young culinary students needed to know …
You can see how awesome I thought that was. The lesson is that chopping straight down does not cut, slicing in long strokes does. NOTED, MICHAEL.
And now, let’s meet Sam.
Sam is a redfish. A redfish with the scales still on thankyouverymuch. And Sam needs to get fileted. Let’s go!
Repeat on the other side. Now let’s clean it up a bit before we take the skin off. Scales are not chic.
Now! Time to skin Sam.
Hey, what’s that?!
Oh, yes, we did filet a flounder! There are FOUR of those available on a flounder. Here’s how that looked.
But let’s get to the REALLY good stuff: The SOUFFLE. Before we arrived, Chef Michael had made some pastry cream. This will serve as the base of the souffle and is super easy to make.
Next we needed some meringue. Time to whip up some egg whites.
Time to combine the pastry cream and the meringue. We divided each in half so we could make two types of souffle.
Now let’s add some cocoa powder to the mix to turn this into CHOCOLATE souffle.
And bake! Try to contain yourself while they are baking and making everything smell like butter and sugar and unicorns.
Thanks, Chef Michael – you’re a star.
Disclaimer: The Art Institute of Houston didn’t have any formal involvement in this adventure and I received no compensation for this. I am just super thankful to Chef Michael for his assistance and happen to be a fan of him and his program. You should check it out.