Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Day and Night at the Museums

Last month we took a weekend trip up the coast to California's most beautiful city San Francisco.  We flew up on SWA and checked into the Marriott Marquis.  It was an early morning so we took a couple of hours to begin our 2 day museum trek.  After a quick tour of Union Square we were off to SFMOMA the finest museum if you want to see iconic contemporary art.  Most of the art displayed at SFMOMA once belonged to the Fishers the founders of the Gap.  The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection is among the world’s greatest private collections of contemporary art. Founders of San Francisco–based Gap Inc., the couple began collecting prints to enliven the company’s offices in the mid-1970s, and they soon expanded their efforts to include paintings, sculpture, and drawings.  The collection includes works by Alexander Calder, Ellsworth Kelly,
William Kentridge, Roy Lichtenstein, Chuck Close, Agnes Martin, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Donald Judd and Andy Warhol, among others.  We had originally seen the works before the SFMOMA had been remodeled 2 several years back.  We were also there to have dinner at the restaurant in residence In Situ.  In Situ is the brainchild of Corey Lee who has several award winning restaurants in San Francisco one being Benu.  Like a museum Corey Lee honors great chef's signature dishes and offers them on his menu.  He rotates the dishes like art exhibitions so you will never get tired of having some of the most creative meals ever devised and served.  The menu includes 11 items each of them curated from great chefs and paired with specific wines to bring out the best tastes.  On the back of the menu there is an homage to the meal and the chef and the year it was created.  These items come in small and medium sized plates so they are perfect for sharing.

We started our meal with the Wasabi Lobster, created by Berlin Chef Tim Raue in 2013.  What a perfect start the piece of Lobster was tempura battered and fried and sat on a Mango Jelly with a Thai Vinaigrette and on the side a small Wasabi Flavored Marshmallow shaped like a star.  These meals are immersion art, the lobster moist and explodes with flavors and a hint of Wasabi and the sweetness of Mango.  We followed it up with a Glazed Chicken Thigh created by Kyoto Chef Hiroshi Sasaki of Gion
Wasabi Lobster
Glazed Chicken Thigh
Sasaki which is the most difficult restaurant to get into in Japan.  Although the dish sounds like it could be heavy it is very delicate glazed in Teriyaki Sauce and sitting on a Butter Lettuce leaf topped with a Onsen Egg.  Sweet with the teriyaki sauce and rich with the yolk of the egg this was a great small bite.  What a wonderful dish this next one was The Forest created by
French Chef Mauro Colagreco owner of Mirazur, clearly this was the most delicious dish of the night Mirazur is considered one of the top restaurants in the world and this dish is one of the reasons why.  
The Forest is exactly what you would suspect earthy mushrooms, green ferns, evergreen scents on a bed of Risotto.  This was hearty and filling, I am writing this 45 days after we were there and i can still remember how good it was,  Our last dish was from Chef Roy Choi, celebrity chef from LA and his restaurant LA Son.  This dish Kalbi Jjim represents everything Roy Choi stands for great simple comfort food cooked to perfection and a great way to finish a meal.  Literally it is a fantastic Short Rib Stew.  In Situ is a great restaurant is a city of amazing restaurants.  The service here is superb, the atmosphere is chic modern and very subdued.  It is a restaurant that you can come in relax and enjoy great food and service.  If you wish to experience some of the most creative dishes
Kalbi Jjim
designed by the best chefs in the world this is the place to go.

I have this poster
The following day we had a date with the DeYoung Museum to take in the Summer of Love music and art visual experience.  I was 11 years old when the summer of love happened, San Francisco was a place where all the creative young people came to get a better understanding of their creative capability.  The exhibit took me back to that time when rock and roll expressed the way they saw the world.  Part of the exhibit was dedicated to the Art and Fashion of the time and we were there to uncover creative new ideas for Dixon Rand.  This was a great exhibit I will tell my story with pictures.  

Overall this was the best vacation of the year.  Just proves that there are a lot of great places to visit that are very close to where you live.

The Grand Cayman Islands to Celebrate

President's Club 2017 Grand Cayman
I have visited and lived in the Caribbean and have always enjoyed the island life with white sand beaches, warm ocean, great sea life and spectacular sunsets.  I had never been to Grand Cayman Island so I was excited to learn more and experience it.  With every vacation it is all about the location and we had reservations at the best hotel with the best location The Ritz Carlton.  
Getting to Grand Cayman is easier than you would think, they have a fantastic airport and serve many of the major cities in the US so it is just a quick one stop.  This trip was to celebrate exceptional work for all the folks that had made great sales contributions for the company we work for E2open.  E2open happens to be the leading Supply Chain Software Solution for many of the leading companies in the world.
Sunset in Paradise
We got to Grand Cayman and we were greeted near the tarmac by our host who got us through customs in less than 3 minutes and into our Limo for the ride to the Ritz Carlton.  On our way there our driver provided us some local hints and gave us a little history of the island.  At the hotel we were greeted with an island cocktail and escorted us to our room.  The Ritz Carlton is the best resort on the island, as you would suspect of a 5 star hotel the services were terrific. The first thing I wanted to do was get my suit on and head to the beach to grab an island cocktail. soak in a little sun and drift in the ocean.  After sucking down some of their famous Daiquiris I swam out to one of the floats and just layed there to take in the sun.  This was much better than I hoped and this is only Day One.  We kicked off our Presidents Club Award trip with a celebration, cocktail evening followed by a great dinner.  We gathered with our colleagues and our spouses and spent a little time to get to make new acquaintances.

Jerk Chicken Scramble
We started Day Two with an Island Breakfast at the hotels oceanfront restaurant Seven.  I had the the Jerk Chicken Hash with Scrambled eggs, yum.  This is a Jerk Chicken Scramble only difference is that this Jerk Chicken has a serious kick which was unexpectedly pleasurable.  After a few hours of relaxing in the sun we all gathered for a buffet lunch which had all these terrific salads, soups and sandwiches.  From there we all got on buses and made our way over to the Marina to get on a 50 foot party yacht and our trip to Stingray Bar and Stingray City.
The boat was stocked with food and drink and we made our way out to Stingray City where we were able to do some snorkeling and get acquainted with the local Stingrays.  Stingray City is inside a barrier reef so it is a protected area where the water is warm and the seas are calm.  Upon arrival we got a safety course and then all jumped in the bay and basked in the sun and enjoyed the bright colors of the reef. Shawn found a Lobster hiding in a coral head which he said it was 2 feet long.  Well we all had to go down and see that, for the life of me it took me 20 minutes until I finally saw it's antennae.  Not sure it was that big but it was a cool thing to look at.

Stingray Encounter
 Meanwhile the crew was luring out the Stingrays with squid.  Now these guys were down at 10 feet so you needed to be able to dive down and hold your breath to get up close and personal.  One of the crew was a free diver and would spend over 2 minutes laying on the bottom and playing with the Stingrays while blowing these very cool bubbles.
David looks scared
We then motored over to Stingray Sandbar, on the way there we were able to try some caribbean water sports, the first volunteer was Dan Murphy from Connecticut  who tried what I consider water torture.  You were towed by a pair of blades that you controlled with each hand.  If you hold them straight you glided along the water, if you tilted your wrists down you would start diving under the water and if you tilted one up and one down you would do 360's.  So you put on your goggles and you become like James Bond the time he was towed through a reef behind a yacht at high speeds. After Dan took his try I jumped in and had a try, it was a little easier than I thought as long as you relaxed, it was easy to maneuver.  The dive down was fun but you have to remember to come up and when you do the the 360 sometimes you get stuck but with perseverance you find a way.  Dan had a try at tow surfing and Enric got towed on an innertube and bounced erratically at 30 mph, I am surprised he did not fly off.

Stingray City
What a Great Day
All in all it was great fun in our short sea journey to Stingray Sandbar.  In the distance we saw boats gathered, as we got closer we noticed that people were standing in the waste deep ocean even though we were more than a mile off shore.  All around these people in the water were these large moving objects, people were shrieking and laughing as these objects would approach them.  These were Stingrays, some as big as four feet across, some black, some grey.  I was a little nervous of these guys because I have had mishaps with these guys, twice stung in the foot.  These Stingrays are different, they are not little, they are tame and they sense that you are there to feed them so they are aggressive.  Some folks were a little more tentative than others.  AJ's Husband Joe was not fearful at all he seemed to be a trained and experienced Stingray Whisperer.  They would scoot up his held out arms and just lay there and flap their wings while he gently held them.  I tried to emulate Joe but although I had some luck I was not as skilled as he was.  Overall this was a very memorable time for everyone.  Koushik had brought his son there and he initially was not comfortable with the stingrays but after a few minutes it seemed that he would stay and join the Stingray family.  Total fun day!  But it was time to go back to the hotel and relax from the sun and fun.
Beet Napoleon
Awesome Local Seafood

That night we had a team dinner outside at Seven.  We all sat outside and enjoyed the weather and the great company.  Many of us recounted the day with the Stingrays. The dinner for the evening was a choice of some great starters and an entree Turf or Surf.  I believe the choices of the evening were the Beet Salad and The Triple fin Entree. The Beet Salad tasted better than it looked which was a pretty tall task.  The Beets were made up like a colorful Napoleon and accompanied by pomegranate, toasted pecans and orange slices the dressing was a vinaigrette so it provided the tart bite that complemented the sweetness of the beets.  Overall an eye pleasing and palate pleasing salad. the Triple Tail entree was grilled and served with colorful island veggies and a bearnaise sauce.  The fish was a flaky white fish that was delicate and moist.  Overall the meal was fantastic and everyone had a great time getting to know each other over drinks and great food.
Enric Cousteau ;-)
The next day was a free day to do whatever you wanted.  I started the day with a scuba dive with Enric.  We boarded our boat with 4 others and proceeded to our first dive of 75 feet.  Dives over 30 feet are not my favorite but I was excited to be able to dive without a wetsuit and enjoy the warm clear caribbean seas.  The first dive lasted 45 minutes and down there we saw a Giant Sea Turtle and a large Eagle Ray, the second dive was at 40 feet and we spent most of the time looking at smaller very colorful fish.  It was a good time for all.
Cayman Fest
Making Friends
When we got back we grabbed our spouses and friends and headed down to the beach to enjoy the sun, have some beach drinks and hang out playing in the water.  All during the afternoon we had heard this loud caribbean rhythms, we were told it was Cayman Fest which is their Mardi Gras Carnival.  As it made its way close we went down and lined the streets to enjoy watching the locals dance in the street to DJ's and live music.  There were floats totally dedicated to passing our Rum Drinks so by the time the parade hit us everyone looked like they were having a great time.  I even saw a hotel guest say goodbye to their date and jump up on the float to dance with all the other folks.

Local Seafood with Green Curry
Island Bouillabaisse
That night JoAnn and I decided to change it up and go to dinner nextdoor at the Westin's Beach House Restaurant.  It was good to try something new and this restaurant had a great menu.  We both started our with the Seafood Chowder which had Crab and Mussels in a creamy seafood and corn chowder.  This was a hearty soup with a beautiful seafood base with chunks of crab and gently poached mussels.
For the entree I had the Bouillabaisse with Langoustine, Scallops, Snapper, Mussels and Clams in a light tomato based broth.  I decided to to an Anthony Bourdain by sucking out the head of the Langoustine, it was actually very tasty.  JoAnn had the Snapper with Green Curry which was combined with colorful veggies and edible flowers.  I tried her fish and it was delicious and moist.  The food and the cocktails were delicious.

Koushik's Family
Sushi Making Class
The following day was our wrap up day.  Celia our trip coordinator had organized a hands on Sushi Making class.  This was a great break from all the beach and sea activities.   We all met upstairs in the Ritz Carlton Cooking School and were given a 30 minute course on the history of Sushi, the nuances and quality of each of the ingredients including the rice, the fish, the seaweed wrapping and even Wasabi root.  Chef Bong then took us through how to make a sushi roll and for those of us that wanted to participate we were able to make our own to eat. We all had several pieces of Sushi to eat and shared some other goodies and then went to a Japanese lunch catered by the Ritz Carlton's Sushi restaurant Taikun.

Sharon Cha

The rest of the day was spent enjoying the sun and the beach.  I had discovered a great place to snorkel off the Governor's mansion which was 200 yards down the beach.  I went there four time and found 100's of different fish of all sizes and color it was like I was at the aquarium, very memorable.
Farewell Party
Shawn's Thank You Speech

Our final night was a beach dinner at sunset, Shawn brought the team together to thank us for having a great year and we all celebrated with good food and drinks.
I have several takeaways from this trip, it was great to meet others that you work and really get to know them personally.  It was also great to celebrate our accomplishment.  Grand Cayman is a magical place and I bet that many of us will return for a relaxing vacation.  I am also proud to work for a company that makes an investment in its
employees and rewards them for their hardwork and success.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

For Great Food go to Portland

Aviary Kitchen is the Star with the Food
Portland per capita has more great chefs and more James Beard Best Chef and Restaurants semifinalist than any city in the US.  When you come to Portland you see a city under siege from young and old creatives.  I feel a little naked because I have no tattoos or piercings.  But every time I come to Portland I found another great restaurant.  This time it was the Aviary owned by Sarah Pliner a New York trained chef who had worked for Alain Ducasse and Marcus Samuelson.  Aviary is located in Northeast Portland ion the Alberta Arts District.  This is another area in Portland that is taking advantage of the growth of the arts and a migration of young smart entrepreneurs.
Aviary is just off the street with a nice little patio to take advantage of great weather in the spring and summer.  Tonight I went with my colleague Koushik who loves great food we made a decision to enjoy a few shared small plates so we could sample Aviary's great looking tastes.

Sweet Potato
Beans with Green Curry
We started with Roasted Sweet Potato it was served with maple Pasilla glaze and toasted pumpkin seeds with a side of watercress greens with apple and Fava Beans.  This is a nice little combo because the sweet potato and the maple syrup provides for a sweet bite the Pasilla Chile gives a subtle contrast of some heat.  The side salad cleanses the palette for the next bite which was Tempura Green Beans with Green Curry and Sesame Salt. The beans are lightly battered and served with a little crisp.  The Green Curry spicy bite is subtle and the Sesame Salt brings provides that toasted nut taste which brings out the freshness of the bean.
Our next bite was Red Curry Braised Goat.  I love Goat, I do not find it gamey and typically there is enough fat in it to make it very tender and flavorful.  Red Curry is one of my specialties that I love to make because it uses Red Chiles and brings up the heat level.  The meal was served with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Kabocha Squash, Goat Cheese Gnocchi and Kaffir Lime.  Kaffir Lime is used with many Curry Dishes to bring in that lime taste. I use the leaves to cook curry they have an amazing lime flavor mostly from the oil.  Take a bite of Red Curry Goat and cool down the palate with the Cherry Tomato.  Really a fun tasty dish.
The last plate was Crispy Pig Ear which my guest would not try but I was
Crispy Pig Ear YUM
anxious.  Last time I ate a Pig Part was Denver when I ate a deep fried Pig Tail.  I can walk you through the bite. The Pig Ear was crispy at the tip and tender toward the middle.  At the base of the dish you have a layer of Coconut Rice, Chinese Sausage and Avocado.  So was it a Pig Ear Stew or was it a Pig Ear Nacho either way it was delicious.  The Chinese Sausage was very much like Chorizo and the Avocado helped balance the heat.  Overall a great dish which I hope to see again.
Great Dessert
With this great meal we had some of the very tasty Aviary Cocktails.  I like a drink with a little heat and they have a great one The Chilango, spicy and refreshing.  Also Sarah is very proud of her desserts and her Pastry Chef, Koushik had the homemade Pistachio Ice Cream with Brittle and Chocolate.
Overall this was another great Portland meal made by a great chef who enjoys different ingredients and creativity.

Monday, January 2, 2017

London Food and Tour Highlights

I grew up as a British citizen, my father was British and I was born in Singapore which at that time was a British Colony. I became a US Citizen on my 18th birthday because I had to register for the draft.  I had not been to London for 25 years and a lot has changed since then.  London is a very large and diverse city and that has contributed to many of the changes to its culinary strength in the world.  We had a couple of highlights on our trip one that my wife had booked and one that I had booked.  We stayed at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair where we had a great suite and access to their Executive Club Lounge.  My wife is a great fan of tea. Each trip we try to find a purveyor of things we love to drink and eat.  This trip we found an awesome Tea company Simpson Tea, their winter afternoon tea is the best cold weather tea we have ever had.  I reached out to them on Christmas Eve and their owner Anna Louise Simpson responded and provided us a way to order it on line.  Great customer service even on Christmas.
We will start with my wife's which was a private tour of bespoke clothing capital of the world, Savile Row in Mayfair.  Our tour guide was Cindy Lawford who is an ex Pat who has been in London for the past 10 years.  Cindy specializes in tours of British Maker history including clothing, hats, shoe and art.
Master Tailors
Gold Embroidery
videoWe met Cindy in Gieves and Hawkes, 1 Savile Row to start our tour.  Mr Gieves bought the current building from the Royal Geographic Society in 1912 and merged with Hawkes in 1974.   In forming this union they were to become the leading supplier of uniforms and caps to the British Military and endorsed by the crown with many Royal Warrants.  Gieves and Hawkes has the the distinction of becoming the first company to introduce ready to wear fine clothing to Savile Row which ad prided itself of bespoke clothing for the world's rich and famous. A bespoke suit ranges anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 depending on the quality of the material cut and features.  A ready to wear suit from Savile Row costs from $1,000 to $5,000.  
He has been there 45 years
Today we were lucky enough to see the tailor's workroom and get to hear them talk of their jobs and their passion for making such well crafted articles of clothing. It takes many years of apprenticeship to become a tailor for one of the bespoke shops on Savile Row, these folks are talented artisans that take the measurements and are in charge of every process of creating the clothing, this process often takes 3 to 4 months to finalize the finished product.  
The other highlight was to go into the Military uniform fitting room where
Military Uniform Fitting Room
Royalty and heads of state have been coming to get measured and fit for their new uniforms for over 100 years.  This room has many historic articles of clothing including a cloak the Queen of England wore to an event in the 50's. it is also used for the storage of the uniforms for the Honourable Corps of Gentleman at Arms.  these men come in several times a year get dressed in their uniform and march out together to their venue of the day. 
Awards and Certifications at G&H
This room is full of history from uniforms some as old as 200 years old.  There are pictures of the Royal Family in their uniforms and attire created by Gieves and Hawkes, there are coats from world leaders on display and the Royal Uniform of Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms.  
Guy Hills talking to JoAnn
Cindy took us to several other bespoke shops including the Huntsman who has dressed every major actor and statesman and Dashing Tweeds who takes the original sporting cloth of the UK Tweed and has adapted it to everyday urban wear.  Overall Cindy exceeded our expectations with a behind the scenes look of all things Savile Row and bespoke.  Cindy gives other tours in Mayfair and is a must for folks that are curious about London's finer things.

St Johns Bread and Wine

Friendly Kitchen @ SJB&W
videoLet's talk about my passion of eating great food.  Getting into restaurants in London is very difficult many close from the 23rd to Jan 2nd and others are just to hard to get into.  I had prearranged one reservation before we went and that was St Johns Bread and Wine.  The St Johns Restaurant brand was developed by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver.  Chef Henderson is often noted for his use of offal and other neglected cuts of meat.  The restaurant is in Spitalfield which would be best described as one of London's more hip areas.  

The best way to describe St Johns Bread and Wine is it is diner like with an open kitchen not fancy but serving outrageously great food at an affordable price.  This is a busy urban restaurant with no fanfare just a hook for your coat a basic wood chair and table.  During the holidays many restaurants encourage folks to have small office parties and there were several tables of 10 folks working their way to Christmas.  
Pressed Meat - Terrine
Scrumptious Pork
Our server Marijiana, she was a no BS cut to the chase but informative server.  The menu is very basic, you come here for everything Pork or different.  We started with the Pork Terrine.  The definition of a terrine is pressed meat parts and might sound disgusting actually turns our to be very delicious, served with some quince it is quite nice and something you could eat all night long.  We then had the Brown Shrimp (bay shrimp) served with Kohlrabi  and Chervil, this is kind of a shrimp coleslaw.  I liked this dish because it was creative.  On to the Quail with Spinach Coolea Souffle.  Quail is not my favorite dish because it is hard to eat but I took my time with it cut it is half and combined it with the Spinach and found it to be very delicious.  On to what we came for and that was the Roast Pig in this case it was a Middlewhite Pig which is specifically from the UK.  I love roast Pig the crackling skin, the juicy fat and the great melt in your mouth meat.  This was a very simple plate of several large sliced pieces
Whole Hog
served with Radishes and Watercress.  I could eat this plate at least once a week the flavor of the Pork still sits on my taste buds.
We wrapped up the night with some Hokey Pokey Ice Cream which is an New Zealand Dessert it is Vanilla ice cream with Honey Toffee chunks.
I am glad we went to this restaurant it reminded me what the UK was all about traditional well made comfort food served with no pretention. 
We also had an opportunity to get some Fish and Chips and some great Indian Food get highlights of that on my Instagram account @topcheftrail 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Cooking School at the Ritz Paris

Several months back I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal on cooking vacations in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Paris.  The article had some suggestions of a few stand out culinary events to do and one of them was to enroll at the Ecole Ritz Escoffier for a class.  This would be a cool opportunity to go to a cooking class at one of the most famous hotels in the world the Ritz Paris.  I looked it up and booked it.  The Ritz Paris has recently undergone a 4 year renovation that cost over $450,000,000.  the hotel has only 159 rooms so there is a lot of personal attention paid to the guests.  This hotel is very pricey but if you ever have the opportunity to visit Paris it is worthwhile to at least have a drink in the Ritz Bar.  If you have the time I would definitely enroll at the cooking school.  The Ritz Hotel was founded in 1898 by Hotelier Cesar Ritz and Chef Auguste Escoffier. Everything about the food creation at the Ritz is like Chef Escoffier was still looking over the kitchen even though he has been dead for 80 years.  This was going to be a great adventure.

We met at the hotel and was taken downstairs to the where the school and the kitchens are.  The Kitchens are all brand new with the finest appliances that money can buy many are custom made to accommodate the culinary needs of the Ritz clientele.  There are 150 full time kitchen workers, this does not include wait and service staff.  So if you ask for any reasonable culinary masterpiece you will be assured to get it to make your stay perfect.
Our Chef instructor Chef Simon Manoukian and his assistant Muna greeted us and we were welcomed to the Ritz Ecole Escoffier.  Simon has been with the Ritz for 7 years and was recently asked to be the instructor for the Ecole.  There were three of us including my wife, the other lady Patricia was from Normandy and had been given this as 1 of her 12 monthly gifts for her 60th birthday.  Our class was to to prepare and make a 3 course meal focusing on seafood.  The kitchen was large and set up to give hands on instruction to groups.  Since we were only 3 we all had an opportunity to partake in all the preparation.  Our main ingredients today were Sea Bass and Langoustine, we were making a Starter of Langoustine Raviolis with a Seafood Sauce and Sea Bass with Chorizo Beurre Blanc Sauce and Mashed Potatoes.  Keep in mind we are starting from scratch so this is going to be quite an adventure.
The Seafood
First part of the recipe was to break down and fillet the Sea Bass.  This included removing the fins filleting the fish and removing the bones.  Even though I am the cook in the family, JoAnn made a much better effort than I did in filleting of the fish.  The breaking down of the Langoustine was more up my alley, first you snap off the head and if you are lucky you get the intestines to come with it.  You then need to remove the shell by pinching in the shell to break down the exoskeleton to make the tail meat easy to remove, you then you slit down the back to remove any of the remaining intestines and was in water.
Step 1 breaking down the seafood is now complete and just think that only took 45 minutes.  Time to prepare the Scallions and Herbs.  Need some knife skills for this and I have none.  But Simon showed us the technique of how to prepare the scallion by removing the top not the root and then removing the hard skin, then splitting it lengthwise in half.  You fan it lengthwise but not all the way with several cuts and you split it width wise in half so you can then easily dice the scallion.  We then chop the herbs and put them aside with the scallion.  From there we take all the shells and start creating a broth in an iron pot with oil.  The Pan must be very hot in order to simmer the shells to bring out some of the great flavor, we then add some brandy the whole time you are stirring to keep developing the flavor of the stock.  One of the things to remember is not to add any salt because you can rely on the salt that is naturally in the shells.  You then add some whole pieces of garlic, some butter and then whole cream not that half and half stuff.  At that point you just let it simmer for the next hour.
We then made the raviolis there was some prepared pasta squares that we placed the whole langoustine tail in, then brushed some yolk on the square to adhere the other pasta square in order to make the ravioli.  Once you assure there is no air getting into the ravioli you then seal it with a round press and then cut it with a larger round press. This is very time consuming at this point we are 2 hours in and have not even started making the potatoes or finishing off the ravioli sauce.  You all of a sudden realize why a meal in a fine restaurant costs so much even though a professional is twice as fast it still takes hours to prepare to the point of finishing and plating the meal.
We then prepare the potatoes to be pureed for the potato mash, yes I know I mixed two preparations.
Chef Simon
 First of all great chefs cook the potato with the skin on, why? Because it keeps the nutrients in and is easier to peel when they are fully boiled.  You just pick up the potato with a cloth and pull of the skin and then take your knife to remove any of the dark spots so your potatoes are white.  You can then either puree them or smash them.  Pureeing is time consuming but assures that the potato is fine and not lumpy.  To finish them off you add olive oil and cream chive, salt and pepper.
Time to finish the seafood sauce for the ravioli.  By now it has been simmering for 1 hour and a foam has accumulated at the top this foam is the impurities from the shells and it needs to be scooped off.
This is not a three swipes and you are done task this takes 10 minutes of slowly grabbing us much foam as possible to ensure the quality of the sauce.  When that is done we remove the shells and strain it twice once through a strainer that catches the big stuff and through a very fine strainer that picks up all the
Making the Ravioli
small stuff.  At that point you have a finished sauce.
Time to make the Chorizo Beurre Blanc first we take our shallots and combine it with white wine and the prepared herbs and fully reduce then add a little lemon and several sticks of butter a little at a time while whisking so it does not separate.  After 10 minutes take cooked chorizo and add to the sauce to get the spicy taste strain the the shallots, herbs and chorizo away and put aside for the fish.
Langoustine Ravioli
We now boil the raviolis for 3 minutes and when done put on a baking sheet with wax paper that has olive oil on it to prevent sticking.  Heat up a skillet with a little oil drop a fillet in it take your spatula and hold down the fillet so it does not curl cook both sides for 2 minutes each.
Sea bass with Chorizo Beurre Blanc
It is now time for final preparation take a bowl place 4 raviolis in a circle making sure to keeping the sides in the bowl generously put the seafood sauce on place some prepared herbs and flower petals on the plate and wipe down any remnant sauce that may be on the rim.  Then take a dinner plate and place the fillet of Sea bass down and take some forms to place the potatoes in. The form can be round, or rectangular any shape will do to make the perfect plate.

Finally get to eat
The Graduates
It is now time to eat, by this time you have been cooking for 4 hours and you realize that you are hungry and want to sit down with your new found friends at the school.  This is a great cooking experience, the staff is first rate and the kitchen is second to none in the world.  I only wish that i can go back.  Just 30K will buy you a 19 week course at the school from that you could start a whole new career.