I should have just stuck with what I knew for yesterday's Culinary Foundations final. My Salade Nicoise turned out, well, I think OK would be generous. It was fine, totally edible. Except the potato--that was raw.
It's weird that my first cooking class in school is already over. I'm going to miss going on Tuesday, if only for a couple weeks until the next quarter begins. I really enjoyed cooking with all the nine others who made it through Chef Tim O'Donnell's course in intimidation. It's possible he might be a little disappointed to know that by the end of things, his tough critiques didn't phase anyone. "The sanitation was unacceptable." He was right, not enough gloves or hand washing. The plating, not up to standard. Yep. The salmon, either overdone or underdone.
When it came time to do the final yesterday, tension was pretty high with most the class. My friend Jess probably didn't crack a smile the entire four hours until her plate was turned in and she had her stellar grade. Chef O'Donnell said he would pay to eat her salad. That is not what he said about mine.
After chopping and dicing away at the most ginormous carrots I have ever seen (we're talking 1-foot long and a four- or five-inch diameter--they tasted awful), we got to the cooking part of the final. Hard-boiling an egg, boiling and then searing a potato, blanching and the sauteing green beans, searing a salmon, making dressing, etc. I got stalled out on the egg. I had to make five eggs before one came out right. Five. Five eggs. The first one cracked in the water immediately. The second, third and fourth weren't cooked all the way through. I had spent an entire hour trying to get a perfect egg before I finally peeled and sliced open the fifth egg to reveal a perfectly done hard-cooked egg. I did end up charring some of my green beans, but Chef had mercy on me there, and I ended up with an 81 percent. He asked if I was happy with my grade. I said yes because I can't imagine not agreeing with something Chef said. I think a low B is what I deserved, I do wish I had done better.