I know what you’re thinking, where is he going with this title then chicken? Work with me I’ll get there. First off this week in our Culinary II class we retouched back on poultry but more in depth. This week focused on deboning a whole chicken. The first day we went over how to de-bone a whole chicken whilst leaving the chicken and it’s meat intact for a dish on our meal service menu ” spinach and Gruyere chicken balottine”. Let’s just say my chicken looked more like a garbage disposal victim than a whole chicken.
Now, As a culinary student you obviously realize that you’re not going to get it perfect the first try. Some however take this a little harder than others. Namely ME. I cursed the chicken and the egg, and for Pepin making it look like taking the wrapper off of a stick of butter.
So, after my devastating defeat in butchery, I went home, and I studied. I watched that Pepin video at least a dozen times. Then after I was sick of hearing his voice, I watched it some more. I would close my eyes and visualize the chicken with paring knife in hand and walk through the audio. The next day, however imperfect it was it was leaps and bounds past the day before. Instead of a biology experiment gone wrong in front of me, I had what actually looked like a chicken! Now far be it from me to say it was perfect, but it was a start.
The difference between a good chef, and a great chef, is their pilot light. If you at least have that one little flame, that basic technique or knowledge, then all you need is a little fuel and you have a fire. Just like we learned today that the basics can be tough, but with practice and a thirst for perfection, even a green culinary student can tackle a whole chicken.