Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A busy year ?

I think so and I am still talking duck so quack,quack to everybody. I have not kept up with this thing but I am here today trying to catch up. Apart from the searing heat we got in Dallas for three months, summer was pretty good overall. No matter how bad things get (still talking weather) we always get used to it and we just got to spend more time inside, worked for me just fine.
In July the American Culinary Federation was holding its National Convention here at the Gaylord and I was a presenter for 3 educational seminars. I was humbled and also very proud to teach these classes to Chefs from every corner of this country. I did two hands on seminars on Charcuterie and one seminar/demo on duck fabrication and foie gras. They were all very well received as the Charcuterie trend is on the rise with many Chefs doing ( or in some cases attempting to do) their own. The Charcuterie classes were the first to sell out and I did accept more attendees but without participation in the hands on segment which was fine as they got to understand the principles of curing and aging various types of meat and game.
The Chefs in this seminar got to taste ten different types of Charcuterie as show above. Yes it is a lot of work but the fun is huge along with the satisfaction from the results.
On the foie gras seminar 162 Chefs showed up as it was open to all; I could get used to this standing room only stuff, real easy. I was overwhelmed by the size of this professional crowd but recovered quickly (no other choice, so why worry) . I totally appreciated the level of attention given to my presentation by all the Chefs but was very surprised to find out that a lot of them were not very familiar with the topic. I went to work and did a PPT presentation on the raising of the ducks and the production of foie gras. The comments were all positive and I did not get any negatives on the process of force feeding the birds to produce the foie gras.
This a mi cuit foie gras marinated in a reduction of malbec and aromatics. The result ? YUMMMMMMMMMMM !
I had lots of help and could not have done this without the support of Junny and Guillermo Gonzales from Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras in California. Junny came in and was very excited and happy to see the support and understanding from the Chefs. It was a very unique class and I must give special thanks to Chefs Mark Schneider, John Jost, Stacy O'Neil and all the culinarians who volunteered and worked so hard to make me look good, keep me focused and on time. To all of you THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU !
After my demo I really enjoyed the Q & A session with my peers, it was great and I hung out as late as I could. My good friend and Chef Stafford DeCambra did process the second duck right next to me and followed my lead perfectly . Good Job Stafford and thank you for being there and being the best team player I know.
I cannot say how important it is in my field to attend these professional gatherings to learn new things, renew friendships and make new ones. Keeping up with trends in the food world and new techniques is absolutely critical, that is why we call it Continuing Education.
These are some of my best Chef's moments that I will always treasure. Just in case anyone still doubts my passion for duck and foie gras this pic should put any doubt to rest.
As they say "better late than never" and I am no different. So until the next post, keep on cooking .

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