Goodbye, Garde!

I am relieved to say that I survived Garde Manger, but the last few days of class were a bit of a whirlwind.  A large portion of the class was focused on platter presentation and buffets.  During the 9 days, our class put on two buffets, the first of which our chef was in charge and the second was entirely up to us.  And by entirely up to us I mean that he flat out refused to answer any questions during the second buffet.  He wanted us to rely on each other for help, rather than use him as a crutch.  When we tried to ask him a question, he responded, " I don't know.  Ask someone else."  It was a little frustrating, but I did understand his point.

As I mentioned before, the menus for the class are broken into clusters of recipes that relate to each other.  I was assigned the turkey platter for our first buffet, but for the second buffet I was assigned my favorite platter of  the entire garde manger menu: the lobster platter.  Why do I like it so much?  1) It has aspic-free lobster medallions.  2) There is only 1 pate. 3)The salad is a bowtie pasta salad with crab and lobster meat.  4) It only has 5 recipes as opposed to 6 or 7 so it's more manageable for a group of 2 people.  Yes, I think I'll have one of those please.  The only problem?  We had to kill lobsters which I had never done before.  I had to bind their tails with skewers (to keep the tails from curling up during the cooking process) and say goodbye before shoving them in the steamer.  As you can see, this was not my favorite part of class.

Preparing for the buffet was a two day process just like before, and on the day of the buffet, my teammate and I were running a bit behind.  I think we got a little over-confident in our ability to complete it on time so we were quick to help other groups before helping ourselves.  Before we knew it, we only had 45 minutes left and a lot left to do.  Our platter was somewhat thrown together when it was all said and done, and as you can see it was a little off-center.  Overall though, my chef said he was proud of the work our class had done, and I was just happy to be done.

I tried to get a picture of our entire buffet but this was the best I could do.  It's neat to think that our class this together all by ourselves!