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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pleased to "Meat" You, Part X: Last Day

Originally this was supposed to be a 14-part series but due to budget cuts, a recent staff strike, pressures from upper management and declining viewer ratings I had to cut this segment short and end with part X...That's all made up of course, but since I had no pictures or much to talk about for the previous 4 days I decided to do one final post for this segment, give the highlights and be done with it before I move on to a new segment for my fish fabrication class. That's right, you now have a new series called Somethings Fishy (working title) to look forward to, so be prepared to laugh, cry, and be amazed by all the things I post in the coming weeks. Now, without further adieu, my final meat fabrication post....

The band is back together
    I keep posting these pictures and somehow sneaky Van Damme manages to photo-bomb almost every single one...Anyway, I've set up shop here on my bed because The Rundown with The Rock is on TV and when you have The Rock AND Christopher Walken in one movie you don't not watch it, ammirite? I'm definitely right. Ok, so my last week of meat fabrication was coming down to the wire. We had to fabricate lamb, chicken, have our fabrication practical (how practical), take a butcher's yield test final (basically shows you how much to pay for meat post fabrication and whatnot), and have our product ID final with written exam, all in 4 days or 12 hours of class time. I got a 100 on my yield test and my fabrication went extremely well the last few days. For our fabrication practical we were given a boneless pork loin which we had to split with our group partner before tying into a roast and slicing cutlets. "This is an individual assignment" Chef Elia explained before we started. "You won't have a partner to count on this time, so this is where you can show what you are made of. Now begin." Personally I thought the practical was well...practical. All we had to do was trim the fat, remove the silver skin, tie a roast, show chef, then remove the string, slice 3oz cutlets and bring everything up to chef one more time. He also wanted to see the silver skin we removed (to evaluate if we cut into the meat), along with our usable and unusable trim. We had to do those minor things, and we had an hour and twenty minutes to do it. It was sooo much time. Since it was so little to do in so much time I had to expect he was going to grade HARD so it was important to do everything perfectly.
    From the pork loin you have the loin end and the rib end. I got the rib end which has very little fat or silver skin to trim; making my job even easier. I took the time to tie my roast uniform and tight as hell (that's a good thing), and used my ruler to measure the spacing between each tie to ensure uniform spacing before showing chef. The roast was tied so tight you might as well call me the "Hyde Park strangler"...When I brought my roast up to show chef he just smiled and nodded his head in approval. At one point I thought he was gonna start laughing he liked it so much. There were no words, just an unspoken understanding that I did a great job. Phase one, DOMINATED!
For the sake of sticking with the whole The Rock theme I found the  perfect Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson GIF that accurately sums up Chef Elia's reaction to my roast tying abilities...
    My next task was to cut off the kitchen string and carefully slice cutlets into 3oz portions. This part is harder than it looks and chef was going to be a stickler on the weight. I sliced my cutlets (only 1 or 2 were off and not by much), assembled my tray for grading and took a deep breath because I absolutely bombed my cutlets the last time he saw them. This was my redemption baby! When I brought up my tray chef asked me why I had so little silver skin before picking through my unusable trim to see if I was hiding anything. I explained to him that I received the rib end of the boneless loin and there wasn't much fat or silver skin to trim. "That's ok, that happens", he said while feeling my cutlets with his hands. He weighed one or two and felt the rest. "This looks good, great job". *Channels inner Shooter McGavin* *fires finger guns into the air*
Secret of the pros...

    Practical was done and in the books. Now it was time to watch chef break down chickens before duplicating it for a grade. I took two chickens back to my work station and starting removing the legs, wings, and breasts. My swagger from the practical was carrying over into my chicken production because I was killing it (that's a good thing for all your older folk out there). Once I was done I arranged everything he was looking for neatly in rows and wiped down my station so everything looked SHARP. Chef Elia came over and was very pleased. "This is some of the best work I've seen in the class all day, Peter". It was music to my ears especially since I stumbled out of the gate when the class started 3 weeks ago. 
    As I said a few posts ago, one of the most important things many students here neglect to think about is momentum. You have to hit you stride at the right moment when your team is entering the playoffs. These last few days of class were some of the best days I have had here at the CIA from a production standpoint. This post was not meant for me to boast or be cocky but rather to share with you my excitement for having a few kick ass days in class.

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