Thursday, May 13, 2010

You want me to do WHAT to a potato?

I'm in week 6 of my first quarter of culinary school and I've learned so much already, in such a short period of time.

I've learned how to chop, dice, mince, julienne, battonet and create a bunch of other crazy shapes with foods.

I've learned how to make mayonnaise, then turn that into salad dressing and make salads look nice and appetizing.

I've learned how to make potatoes 300 different ways (ok, I'm exaggerating a little, but not much). Here are some Dutchess Potatoes which are mashed potatoes mixed with egg yolks, piped into little "potato towers" then baked until they're golden brown. Pretty yummy.

I also piped some garlic mashed potatoes into cute little spirals which was fun:

All was good, enjoyable, educational and tasty...until we attempted to tournée a potato. Tournée is a term for a type of cut. For example, a battonet is something cut 1/4" by 1/4" by 2". A julienne is 1/8" by 1/8" by 2". These are simple, concise geometric shapes. While it may be challenging to be consistent, it's at least possible.

A tournée is a football shape, 2" long with flat ends and 7 equal sides. I mean, seriously?! 7 EQUAL SIDES? Are you kidding me? Who comes up with this stuff? I could maybe attempt 8 sides, but 7?

Why? I just want to know why!

After some discussion with my classmates, we came to the consensus that someone somewhere had smoked a little too much of something and had some potatoes and a knife on hand. He (or she, though I'm guessing it was a he) decided it would be fun to make little footballs. And now the tournée is done with all kinds of vegetables in high-end restaurants. In my humble opinion, the vegetables don't taste any better that way so when I become a personal chef I will not be preparing them that way. Just sayin.

Our instructor demonstrated the tournée and made it look easy so I thought "maybe it's not as difficult as it sounds". Wrong. It is nearly impossible, from what I can tell. Here are my first two attempts:

They definitely do not have 7 equal sides.

A little later (the word little is used loosely):

And after 3 hours. I kid you not, it really took me that long:

My tournéeing technique improved, but not to the point where I'd like to try it again, ever. And as far as I know I don't have to, at least not anytime soon.

This week is breakfast week which, I have to say, is pretty enjoyable. Today our class learned to make eggs a bazillion different ways - Benedict, over-medium, french omelettes, etc. Tomorrow we'll be making a breakfast buffet including pancakes, french toast, crepes, granola parfaits, more eggs and home fries...for starters. And no tournéeing! Can't wait!!


  1. Looks like you are having a great time. I had no idea there were so many ways to cut up a potato, who thinks of this stuff?!
    I love breakfast foods, send some my way, yumm....

  2. Since there's such a thing as an automatic "apple corer peeler slicer," then this being 2010, there should be a "potato peeler tourneer" invented by now to save you from this. ;)

    Glad to read you're enjoying yourself.

  3. I'm liking this idea of culinary school the more I hear you talk / blog... aside from this "tournee" thing. I seem to remember a similar name for a difficult ballet move back in the day.... equally as baffling ...

  4. Awesome - well except for the tournee silliness (I bet Julia Child never did that!). The potato spirals brought back memories of my mother making those - thank you. The thought of good eggs benedict is making my mouth water.

  5. makes me want to go to culinary school (except for the tournee part)!

  6. OMG breakfast foods! This sounds like such a blast - wish I could join you!


  7. yummmmm, when you coming over to make me breakfast? Actually it would be so worth it to escape and come over to your place! You can make mini footballs for me too. LOL joking. I cant even call them that fancy name you called them, what was it toumee? mini football sounds better

  8. You've inspired me (yet again, Amy), to take a cooking class! Seriously. My husband will be thrilled. :)