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exam question.

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey guys! well i have a question.
the next week if my exam. SEA FOOD.
and i need a recipe. or something. or some advice. tip. anything.

well it has to be a fish, with fruit, and 2 sauces, and another sidedish.
any help.. please?

post #2 of 18
It's an exam. It's supposed to be YOUR work. Not some one else's. Part of the exam will be to test your understanding and application of that understanding.

Getting ideas from others is cheating because you're not applying your understanding of the material to come up with your own menu.

Do the work.

Reap the rewards.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
OMG, your so rude.
i just wanted an advice or something.
im not asking you to go to my exam or anyhting. or to give me the full recipe with step-step.
what do you want. thanks for your BIIIIGGG HELP

post #4 of 18
Sorry you feel that way, but most of us here would agree with Phil. It's your exam so it needs to be your work. Part of what you will be judged on, I'm sure, is how well what you put together works. Spend some time coming up with your own ideas. Start by deciding what kind of fish or shellfish you want to use. Next I would try to pair the fruit, if that is a requirement. Think about the flavors of your choosen fish and then think of what fruit would compliment that fish. If you are having problems with that pairing search your cookbooks or the web. Once you have that the difficult part is done. The sauces and side dishes should almost take care of themselves or, at least, be much easier. Good luck.
post #5 of 18
You are not just being judged on how well you cook but how you think about food.

I too agree with everyone else. Why don't you come up with an idea or three and we can talk about it.
post #6 of 18
Wow- props to you chefs. I know that a similar question in my other forums about my chosen line of work would have gotten spanked that same way. Wacook- FWIW, I think you got the best advice possible, though you don't like it. Learn the concept and do the work.
post #7 of 18
wacook, Good Grief, talk about rude! As for some advise, get the freshest seafood possible, the ripest (although not over ripe) fruit and avoid getting sauced while serving the sides.
post #8 of 18
I'm sorry, Wacook. But if you think Phil's response was rude maybe you need to reconsider you choosen line of work.

With your thin skin, what's going to happen the first time Chef raises his voice to you cuz you done something only slightly wrong?

There wasn't anything the slightest bit rude about Phil's response. He merely spelled out---rather politely I thought---why you had to do your own work.

Do you think school is different from a real kitchen? Do you expect, on your first job, to have the other cooks doing your work? That's not how it's done in the real world.

Forget the seafood assignment. That's the first lesson you have to learn?
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #9 of 18
if you taking a sea food final, doing the paring should not be that hard because you should have been cooking this for a while in school, if you liked any of the recipes in school use them and then tweak them just a little to make them your own..

im in school also, and also working as a line cook, i know how i will get treated in a kitchen thats why im working my butt off in school so i know what i need to do once i get into another kitchen not only do i work hard but im not not happy until i am the top of my class. with the amount that school is why not learn as much as you can, go on the internet do your research. how he responded is not that bad i have been yelled at i have had dough balls through at me, and this is all for little mishaps, this is a industry that you cant carry your feeling on the edge of your sleeve.
post #10 of 18
This isn't a proposed menu, just a chef-ish way of thinking about the problem.

Monk fish. It's (a) trendy; (b) enough like lobster that you can adapt a zillion different sauces; (c) sweet enough in its own right to go well with fruit; and (d) rewards proper preparation. Don't forget to take all the membrane! Unlike lobster, monk fish prefers not to be poached. Cook the fish simply, and ala minute in a hot pan or a char grill.

Sauces from two different continents; complimentary to one another in flavor, but contrasting in color and texture and amenable to the same fruit. Something along the order of a grapefruit hollandaise / pipian mole (made from ground pumpkin seeds, etc) with chopped pecans / and papaya fans. If you have access to luxury ingredients only use them in one sauce. You don't want your sauces to detract from one another. To whatever extent you can, try to be seasonal and local. This impresses the heck out of teachers. FWIW, my examples are neither.

You didn't mention wine. Plan your wine. For instance, my meal would go well with something flowery/spicy like a good Moselle, Traminer, or dry Riesling, but better still with a brut sparkler -- perhaps a prosecco. Well chosen beats expensive.

The most common mistake with student cooks and pretentious restaurants is over-complication. Remember, fish is sweet and light and must dominate the flavors. The fish is the painting, the fruit and sauce the frame. Don't over-sauce. Fish presentation should be light also -- leave space on the plate. Practice your plating.

The most common errors with young cooks under pressure are under-seasoning and over-cooking. Kosher salt is your friend, because you can see it, likewise black pepper, likewise (smoked) paprika (hint!). (At this stage in my own cooking, I'd prepare a spice-rub as part of my mis en place.) When fish releases from the pan or grill, the first side is browned. Test for doneness with by pressing with your fingers. When it pushes back it's done.

Trust the Force young padwan,
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Oh ok. thank you.
sorry for being rude too. thanks for the advices
i really appreciate them! =)
and course ill think in some good ideas. :)
thank you all!
post #12 of 18
now now boys......apologies should be accepted is not giving them their homework but helping them work through it. Which it appears has happened.

What I've noticed in many young culinarians is a proponderance of "fruffy ingredients".....truffles, truffle oil, foie etc.....just overwhelming dishes, normally only impresses negatively.

If your exam is soon and you are north of the mason-dixon line finding local produce would be difficult. Seasonal ie citrus makes sense.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #13 of 18
Wow, what a question. That's pretty limitless! Does it have to be cooked? Are you graded on originality or taste and presentation? None of these are original, however they'll range from awful to sublime depending on the quality of the fish and how well you prepare them.

Tuna tataki salad garnished with nice long katsubushi shavings (if you can find a whole block of katsubushi and have a plane) with yuzu dressing, spicy tuna roll, hamachi nigiri, barbecued eel, maybe some softshell crab tempura (they're great fresh, but the frozen are pretty good too).

OK. Now I'm definitely hungry.

Gotta go make some sushi:)

If you need to have something cooked, I'd go for something really simple done perfectly instead of something complicated that buries the fish. I'm partial to cod or haddock done in a Guinness beer batter. and really excellent fries, served with malt vinegar.

It's very traditional, but really excellent when done properly.

post #14 of 18

I write this not to point out a mistake, but point out how differently a professional chef looks at food and food problems than a good home cook.

Sushi's good. Fish and chips are good. Reading is very good. First rule of exam taking: Read the question. The way Wacook presented it, was: One fish. One fruit. Two sauces (we infer each should compliment both fish and fruit). One side dish (we infer the same).

You're thinking like a diner and not like a chef. Especially not like a chef-student or chef-teacher. Spicy tuna roll's been done to death -- and there's not much interesting left to "say" about it -- or any other conceivable maki, for that matter. Hamachi's out of season, so are soft-shells. "Barbecued" eel (unagi) comes in a plastic bag already filleted, boned and smoked. Even chefs buy it in the bag, because it's so difficult to bone. FWIW, anago can be easily purchased boned, frozen and raw.

Another thing about your sushi suggestion is preparing and having ready sushi quality rice. It certainly adds another dimension, and a very subtle one. Could be a good one.

Sushi quality tuna seems like it may be enduring as an ingredient in several different style preparations, mostly beginning with something tataki-esque. OTOH, it's a trend whose time may have run. I'm not close enough to wacook's school or region to know. FWIW, the big "seasons" for northern-hemisphere blue-fin tuna is winter; for southern, summer. We're at the end of the season for the best fish. Good tuna's not exactly seasonal though. It's a fish-by-fish basis for suppliers, they're caught when they're caught.

The rule in food since the nouvelle revolution, for more than forty years, has been to present fresh seasonal foods, local if possible. It's important wacook, as a student, show sensitivity to this rule. As a practical matter this means going to the fish market at least once, then at least phoning them a few times during the week before the exam to find out what's fresh and in good supply. It also means having a "plan B" if her preferred fish isn't in stock at the quality she demands.

You can apply this lesson to your career as a sushi eater -- remember to always ask the chef what's freshest and best. They enjoy designing your meal a lot more than they like being told to make the same rolls over and over. Trust me. You'll be rewarded on the plate.

It's also a good idea for a student to show some appreciation of the prep, cooking and plating techniques she's learned in school. I.e., "kissing-up." With an assignment such as Wacook's this could mean "splitting the baby," by keeping half the dish in-the-box and spreading her wings on the other half. For instance, one thing Wacook might take from your suggestion is a cold wasabi flavored sauce made with creme fraiche -- sourced from a Mexican restaurant as crema fresca (high-quality, delicious, fresh, inexpensive, locally made -- that's thinking like a chef). Running with your idea a little farther, she might consider using a sauce like that with a lightly grilled hirame-engawa (halibut fin-muscle) with lychee in a temaki (ice-cream cone shaped hand roll) presentation.

Simple but perfect is a risky strategy. Certainly you want a restaurant menu to reflect that aesthetic -- mostly. However, school is not a restaurant. The problems with "fish and chips" are saucing and a too-simple preparation to impress the teachers. It's also low-brow and juvenile. Fried. I like it, you like it, they like it. It won't grade well, though.

Q: "What are these two sauces?"

A: "Malt vinegar and tartar."

Q: "What do you plan to do when you grow up?"

Again, not to say that it isn't a good idea for dinner. Ten years ago, I had to go to London for a week on a heavily subsidized business trip and was able to bring my family with me. My then teen-aged son ordered fish and chips at Bibendum, and they, by God, made a great plate of fish and chips. Not to be outdone, the next night my septuagenarian dad ordered fish and chips at Simpson's in the Strand. Just as good. But I digress.

A chef analyzes food across a lot of different axes. Among them: wow factor, price to get on the plate, price which can be charged, availability of ingredients, quality of ingredients, seasonality of ingredients, the nature of the clientèle, adaptability with other dishes on the menu, etc. Being a chef is a lot more than getting good food on the plate. Wacook's not only being graded on how she cooks, but how she thinks. Not like a diner, like a chef.

post #15 of 18
Actually, I was thinking like both.

Although my suggestions are not original, they're all done poorly so frequently that pulling them off perfectly would certainly be a worthy task and could be done within the given parameters. Additionally, it would show off the student's skills, not just how technically impressive a dish can be made.

Anybody can hack off a piece of fish and serve it over bad gummy rice. The trick is to cut a perfect slice of perfect fish and serve it over perfectly cooked, seasoned and formed rice, served at just the right temperature, with just the right amount of freshly grated wasabi root.

I've been eating spicy tuna (or other local fish) for decades all over the world and have hardly had the same one twice. It's always interesting, since everybody's idea is always different. Saying that spicy tuna has been "done to death" is kind of just "giving up". It's like saying that "barbecue has been done to death." It's easy to say, but every now and then, someone comes up with something really phenomenal, and if you just dismiss it, you'll miss something great.

The named fish were simply suggestions, and there's no reason to use them if there's something better available.

The rice is difficult to pull off properly as a new task, but after maybe a half dozen tries, it's possible to make a really good batch in well under an hour, including rinsing, draining, cooking, cooling and seasoning.

That's unfortunate. Few things disappoint me more that "impressive" food done for it's own sake, and few things impress me more than simple food done perfectly, where every aspect of the dish is all that it can be.

If this is just a dog-and-pony show for the teacher, then I'm out of line with my suggestions. If it's a request for the student to show the quality of his/her skills, then I can't think of anything to do with fish that would be a better test than sushi. I'm also partial to excellent fish and chips, and wouldn't be embarrassed to serve them to anybody.

You've obviously been in the business a long time, but I have to say that as a paying customer I generally find overly-complex dishes to be disappointing, and tend to avoid them, and instead look for simple things done perfectly.

This winter I had a perfect medium-rare bacon and smoked-gouda-cheeseburger with grilled onions on a freshly baked bun on the island of Bonaire in a little restaurant overlooking the ocean, and it was miles ahead of any of the "interesting" dishes I've had at very expensive restaurants. If I was in culinary school and received a poor grade for it, I'd tell the instructor he needs to get out more, and demand a refund on my tuition.

If the teacher would grade a simple dish done perfectly worse than a complicated dish that was technically impressive but unnecessary, I guess that explains a lot of the menus I've seen over the years that promise "sublime" and deliver "substandard".

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey guys! thanks for all the support. and
all the adviices. i really appreciate them! are really

well im a culinary student is my first year. so im not that pro, to prepare a fancy food for my exam. i found a recipe that it looks really easy and fast. tell me what do you think.

its salmon, with a mango-kiwi relish. and as sidedishes could be couscous.
what do you think? its to simple for a exam. advices please!! :)

post #17 of 18
Wacook, now you are starting to think. But you still need to flesh it out some more. How are you preparing the salmon? Grilled? Roasted? Sauteed? What else is in the relish? Is it spicy? Is it sweet-tart like a chutney? Are you going to try and slip by the judges by combining the fruit and 1 sauce element if using the relish or are you still going to come up with 2 "more" sauces? The couscous-is it plain or what are you putting into it? As you can see, there are still a lot of options available to you. Don't just pull this recipe right out of book or off the internet. Give it your own little twist.
post #18 of 18

I agree with Pete, but am going to be a little tougher in hopes of getting you going.

You originally wrote: 1 fish, 2 sauces, 1 side dish. What is your assignment, exactly? Salmon with mango-kiwi relish sounds poorly thought through. It's certainly not a complete solution to the assignment as you stated it.

Here are some other thoughts:

At least salmon is a fish. It's mos' def' a fish. In what way(s) will you cook it? Have you investigated what fish are both seasonal and available in your area? Is wild salmon available to you, or will you have to settle for farmed? First year or not, seasonal definitely makes points with instructors and farmed salmon is a loser.

Choosing something you're confident you can cook well is important, but your choice doesn't sound very challenging. Neither does couscous for that matter -- unless you're planning it as part of a vegetable tajine or something. That, otoh, may be too ambitious.

Remember not to overcook salmon. It wants less cooking than most fish -- medium-rare to medium. Also, salmon skin can be a blessing or a curse. Have a plan for it. A blow torch, perhaps -- in which case you'll want to plate skin side up.

Is the mango-kiwi relish the fruit? One of the sauces? Is it cooked, or a mere a knife prep? The relish sounds as though it could be too sweet -- but that depends on the recipe, and my take may purely be a function of my personal taste.

Assuming it's a sauce, what is the other sauce? The fruit?

Assuming it's a fruit, what are the two sauces?

A classic example, maybe even THE classic example, of a fish with sauce and fruit (or fruit in the sauce) is "sole veronique." Are you familiar with it? Would you be comfortable doing something at that level of complexity and execution?

What school are you at?

What access do you have to fish markets? To ethnic markets?

Do you have experience in your own ethnic group's or region's cooking?

What's your budget?

How many portions?

I make a maple syrup/black-pepper glazed smoked salmon accompanied by a dill/horse-radish creme-fraiche. It would work well with poached prunes. Interested?

Can you prepare the fish two different ways? Or is it only two different sauces?

Good luck,
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