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Old 02-02-2007, 05:14 PM   #1
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Just Got Back from CIA Boot Camp!

Hello everyone!!! I just got back, this afternoon, from my CIA (Culinary Institute of America) Boot Camp.

I want to thank everyone for all their encouraging words before I left. You were all right. IT WAS A BLAST!!! There was no need to feel nervous!

If anyone wants information/details/etc. let me know, and I'll give you the "blow by blow".

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Old 02-02-2007, 05:19 PM   #2
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start talkin, avalondeb - we're all ears!
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Old 02-02-2007, 05:19 PM   #3
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It's great to have you back, avalondeb!

Tell us - what was the most helpful thing you learned?
What did you surprise youself by already knowing?
What tasted best?
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Old 02-02-2007, 06:23 PM   #4
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NOOOOO!!!

Congratulations! I just finished the book and am so very jealous.

What did your team make for the 'final' dinner? What didi you eat at the CIA restaurants? Who were your instructors? What did your team make on day 1-4?

I would love to go there. I think there are about 7-8 bootcamps you can attend, aren't there...for specializing in a certain culture/field?

I bet you had the time of your life!
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Old 02-02-2007, 07:10 PM   #5
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OMG!!! How to begin.... OK, I'll give as much detail as I can.

First of all, they days were LONG!! Roughly 6 a.m. - 10 p.m. altogether. Not all of that was cooking, of course. Here is how it worked:

6:00 a.m. - 7:00 a.m. = breakfast
7:00 a.m. - 8:15 a.m. = 1st lecture
8:15 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. = coffee break
8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. = follow-up lecture & production review
9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. = production (cooking!)
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. = lunch (we eat what we cooked)
1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. = 2nd lecture
4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. = break (research, change for dinner)
6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. = dinner

Can you say, EXHAUSTED!!! But what a blast!! The 7:00 a.m. lectures were different cooking techniques.

DAY ONE

7:00 a.m. Lecture
  • Kitchen Orientation & Terminology
  • Knife Safey & Usage
  • Knife Cuts
  • Stocks
Production
We practiced making/cooking:
  • Batonnet cuts
  • Chiffonade cuts
  • Julienne cuts
  • Mirepoix
  • straining sauces
  • making all sorts of stocks and how to deglaze
Then we made:
  • Roux
  • Corn Starch Slurries
  • Citrus supremes
1:30 Lecture
Plate and Platter presentation
This is where we were shown how to "plate" food correctly, how to organize your menu to get a good mix of cooking techniques, color, and texture on each plate. AMAZING! We would use this later on our last day.

Dinner
St. Andrew's Cafe
We had (all included) two different wines, one red, one white - Maitre d' selection
I had for my meal:
  • Smoked Duck Risotto with Dried Figs and Goat Cheese
  • Korean Style Braised Beef Short Ribswith Steamed Brown Rice, Kimchee, Snow Peas
  • White Chocolate Cheesecake
The reason I say that the dinner was part of the class is that the next morning we spent a few minutes each day discussing our meals. How did the flavors and textures compliment each other, did we like the food, if not, what would be change, etc.

(as this post is so long, I'll send another one out ASAP on the next days)
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Old 02-02-2007, 07:31 PM   #6
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DAY TWO

7:00 a.m. Lecture
  • Grilling & Broiling
  • Roasting Techniques
  • Thickening Agents
Production
My team made:
  • Roasted Chicken w/Pan Gravy
  • French Fried Potatoes
  • Zucchini and Carrot Tourne
Hubby's team made:
  • Grilled Salmon with Caraway Orange Glaze
  • Rice Pilaf
  • Spinach w/Bacon & Pine Nuts
  • Sauteed Mushrooms
1:30 Lecture
Wine Tasting
AWESOME lecture. We had 8 different wines. The Chef was the Professor who instructed the CIA's sommelier students. Of course, it was fun, drinking the different wines, but we also learned how to identify a good wine, all about the wine making industry. It really is an ART!

Dinner
Caterina de'Medici
We had (all included) two different wines, one red, one white - Maitre d' selection
I had for my meal:
  • Imported Italian Prosciutto with Roasted Peppers Salad
  • House-made Tortellini Filled with Cured Meats and Parmigiano-Reggiano,
    Mushroom Mascarpone Sauce and Fresh Thyme
  • Tiramisu
DAY THREE

7:00 a.m. Lecture
  • Sautee
  • Stir-Fry
  • Pan-Fry
  • Deep-Fry
  • Soup & Production
Production
My team made:
  • Rainbow Beef (stir-fry)
  • Steamed Jasmine Rice
  • Chicken Consomme
Hubby's team made:
  • Pan-Fried Pork Loin with Herb Sauce
  • Spaetzle
  • Shrimp Bisque
1:30 Lecture
School Tour
WHAT CAN I SAY!!! This school is fantastic!!! We toured all the different sections, culinary, baking, pastry, fish, sausage-making. Then we went into the storerooms. You have no idea of the variety!! They had something like 15 different types of fresh herbs, 6 different types of beets, forget the cheese cooler - it was a big walk-in freezer type filled from floor to ceiling with different types of cheese! WONDERFUL!

Dinner
American Bount (my favorite)
We had (all included) two different wines, one red, one white - Maitre d' selection
I had for my meal:
  • Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras
  • Rack of Venison and Leg of Wild Boar w/Sweet Potato, Maple Turnip, Baby Beets, Huckleberries
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake and Rich Mousse w/Sweet Lemon Buerre Blanc
  • Banana Split (had TWO desserts)
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Old 02-02-2007, 07:53 PM   #7
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DAY FOUR

7:00 a.m. Lecture
  • Moist Heat Cooking including:
  • Braising
  • Poaching
  • Steaming
  • Stewing
Production
My team made:
  • Fillet of Sole with White Wine Sauce
  • Potatoes with Saffron and Parsley
  • Carrot Flan
  • Deep-Fried Parsnips
Hubby's team made:
  • Roasted Chicken Breast w/Tarragon Sauce
  • Mashed Turnips and Potatoes
  • Hot and Spicy Mixed Veggies (stir-fry)
  • Haricot Verts
1:30 p.m. Lecture
Wine Tasting & Food Pairing
Ever wondered which wine goes with which food? Now I know!!! We tasted 8 wines with lemon, bitter-sweet chocolate, goat cheese, blue cheese, and grapes. The best pairing was Benziger Cabernet w/chocolate or blue cheese. My next favorite was Dr. Loosen Riesling w/lemons, grapes or blue-cheese. The best thing that I learned was that, surprisingly, a Riesling is the best wine to have with dinner. It compliments the widest range of foods.

Dinner
Escoffier Room
there are no words!!!
We had (all included) two different wines, one red, one white - Maitre d' selection
I had for my meal:
  • Pheasant Terrine in Crust with Hazelnut and Foie Gras on a Toasted Brioche
  • Roast Rack of Lamb with Garlic Parsley Crust, Rosemary Sauce
  • Lemon Tart with Citrus Marmalade (OMG!)

DAY FOUR

7:00 a.m. Lecture
Culinary Jeopardy - this was hysterical. We played in teams, basically it was like a final exam, but as a game. MY TEAM WON!!! Each of us got as a prize the "Boot Camp" book.

THEN CAME IRON CHEF TIME!!!! Each team during breaks, during the week, were assigned two proteins. One as an appetizer, one as an entree. We had to design our own menus. Each appetizer was supposed to be a mini entree. Each one had a protein, a starch, and a fruit and/or veggie. We had to get the ingredient list, design our plates, conference with team mates, etc during the breaks.

IRON CHEF
My team made:
  • Pan-seared Scallops over Mixed Baby Greens with a Mango Salsa, sliced Avocado, and Deep-Fried Plantains (the plantains were cuts long and thin with a mandolin, deep-fried so that they took on weird and interesting shapes)
  • Beef Tenderloin in a Madeira-Black Truffle Sauce w/Foie Gras, Glazed Baby Turnips, Orange Turnips, and Red Turnips w/Potato Pancakes
Hubby's Iron Chef Team made:
  • Smoked Quail stuffed with arugula, macademia nut, date; Roasted Asparagus wrapped with Proscuito; Apple-Cheddar Savory Croustade
  • Grilled Lamb Chop w/Couscous and a Lamb Tangine (dried dates reconsituted w/wine, dried apricots, dried figs, etc), Roasted Yellow Summer Squash seasoned with a 5 spice rub w/honey and lemon juice (Hubby made up his own rub, wasn't a Chinese 5 Spice Rub)
1:30 p.m. Luncheon
The chef came and evaluated all our meals. We were judged on plating, taste, complimentary flavors and colors. We all won, actually, which I kinda expected. But everyone really knocked themselves out! We all ate each other's food, had a mini-graduation and said a tearful good-bye.

WHAT A WAY TO SPEND A WEEK'S VACATION!!!!
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Old 02-02-2007, 08:02 PM   #8
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I'll answer any questions anyone has! I wish I could tell you all how wonderful of an experience this was. The first day, when we were learning how to cut a mango and a pineapple correctly or learning the difference between all the different cuts used in traditional cooking, I thought it was going to be a waste of time or that we'd never get the experience and skills needed for the dreaded "Iron Chef" type exercise.

I was so wrong. We learned so much the next three days!! Chef "D" (yes, he was the one in the book!) told us that we covered in one week what the regular students learn in 8 months!!! The difference is that we learned and practiced it once, while they practice, practice, and practice some more!

The thing I was afraid of is that everyone there would be "super-chef" type people. But they were just like me and my husband. They loved to cook, were pretty good at it, but wanted to get the "basic skills" down. Everyone was almost 100% at the same level, and if not, we helped each other out.

What I learned:
Wine pairing - never knew which wines helped enhance the flavors of which foods
Roasting - I made a HORRIBLE roast, now I understand how it works and won't make the same mistakes
Plating - I never realized how important presentation was to eating. But it was really true, eating is a multi-sensory experience and the visuals are VITAL
Soups - I finally, finally made and EXCELLENT consumme. Never could get it down, now I can!!

Oh my, there is sooooo much more!!! I would recommend this class to anyone who can go. One of my fellow students is putting together a blog of our experiences. I'll post the link as soon as I get it.

I've already decided I'm going back for the next one, next year!!!!
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Old 02-02-2007, 11:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Pan-seared Scallops over Mixed Baby Greens with a Mango Salsa, sliced Avocado, and Deep-Fried Plantains (the plantains were cuts long and thin with a mandolin, deep-fried so that they took on weird and interesting shapes)
Beef Tenderloin in a Madeira-Black Truffle Sauce w/Foie Gras, Glazed Baby Turnips, Orange Turnips, and Red Turnips w/Potato Pancakes
This sounds so good to me. Oh, I would love to go to bootcamp. Was the housing included?
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Old 02-03-2007, 03:16 AM   #10
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That sounds SO fantastic. I'd love to do something like that. I wonder if there's anything similar locally.

How much did it cost, if you don't mind me asking?

Now you HAVE to join in on our "Golden Chef" challenge! You're all prepped for it!
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