I absolutely adore being a culinary student because it means my life gets to revolve around food. I have both the privilege and the pleasure to savor every fantastic bite of life. Studying culinary history for some might be boring. For me, it’s fascinating.
Culinary research, however, is never boring for anyone! Ordering new things at restaurants, studying through taste how things work and why some flavor combinations go so well together… it’s so much fun to learn through eating! Far more fun than spending time holed up in a classroom studying general ed courses, I can tell you that much.
I also adore being an Orlandian. Is that the right word? Either way, I will never bore of this town. There are so many things to do! And Disney alone takes up a massive amount of this city, and I am more than fine with that. It’s like living in paradise.
I mean seriously. This was the sunrise today as seen through my foggy car window. Beautiful, isn’t it?
The benefit of 7:00 am classes is the view of the sunrise over John Young Parkway and having the rest of the day to accomplish things.
Plus, there’s just something nice about early mornings.
Anyway, today’s lesson was on Mother Sauces, formally known as Béchamel, Espagnole, Tomato, Hollandaise and Veloute . From these sauces come derivative sauces, smaller sauces that we are more familiar with seeing on menus. Each sauce has a root in one of these main five.
The hands-on portion of the class, however, was dedicated to mayonnaise. The goal of this assignment was to teach us to whisk properly (in a figure 8 motion, scraping all parts of the bowl) and to illustrate a permanent emulsion.
“Anyone know where from comes the mayonnaise?” Chef Andre asked. He was our chef today rather than Chef Klaus due to Chef Klaus’s nomination for a Lifetime Achievement Award in Las Vegas this week.
We stared at him blankly. He repeated the question in his thick French accent twice before we caught on. (English isn’t his mother tongue.) Oh. Where does mayonnaise come from?
Continuing in his vague French manner, he told us mayonnaise is the result of a celebration over a battle. The feast called for butter and cream, but nothing could be found on the island, so the chef of the French Duke de Richelieu made do with olive oil and eggs. Thus, mayonnaise as we know it was born, so named after ‘Mahon’ where the battle was won.
The chef whipped up a batch in front of us, and I mean that literally–mayonnaise requires some serious elbow grease! It must literally be whipped by hand with a whisk. The hard work is worth it, though.
We all pulled out our tasting spoons and to give it a hesitant try…
And I can tell you right now I will never buy that store-bought junk ever again. Despite the slight strain on your beating arm, mayonnaise is easy, fresh and delicious. This, coming from a girl who isn’t normally fond of the sandwich spread. I am now a believer.
He also demonstrated a hollandaise sauce, an unbelievable batch of buttery goodness. It was like heaven. I love culinary school. People are willing to put up with the risks of life in the kitchen, the fire, the knives, the thrill of the line, and all for what? For the love of food! Whether or not you’re a local farm-to-table purist or a pounds-of-butter French traditionalist, good food brings everyone together.
In case you’d like to taste this fresh-whipped goodness for yourself, I’ve provided the recipe below. Just make sure to add the oil slowly so not to break the emulsion and whip fast! It should be stiff, not runny, like a mayonnaise cloud of deliciousness that clings to the end of the whisk when you lift it in the air.
1 egg yolk
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup canola oil
salt and white pepper to taste
1. Whisk together the egg yolk and Dijon mustard until thoroughly combined.
2. Slowly drizzle in the oil, beating heavily all the while. Beat until the mayonnaise clings to the end of the whisk. Add lemon juice. (The acidity should make the mixture slightly more pale.)
3. Taste. Salt and pepper as you see fit.