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Intro to Garde Manger

What in the heck is Garde Manger you are definitely wondering?  A term they don’t always explain on Top Chef.  It’s the classical french name for the cold kitchen or cold food department and it sums up the last two weeks of my first semester at culinary school. Time does fly when you’re having fun!!

I bet you are thinking what I was when I read the course schedule. Cold kitchen = simple….salads, sandwiches, dressing. Those Deans at culinary school save the easiest for last? Decide to give students a break the last 2 weeks…….think again!  A salad is anything but simple.  And what about aspic, cured salmon, shucking oysters?All of this takes place in the Garde Manger kitchen.

The stove might be off but the heat is on.

The first five days were intense –  dozens of eggs cooked a million different ways. (Almost) perfectly poached and rolled french omelets.  Baked eggs with Canadian bacon, cream & Gruyere.  Have  I died and gone to heaven? Quiche with a crust so flaky and buttery I will avoid getting my cholesterol checked all summer.  And that was just day 1!

Day 2 was my most challenging and it didn’t even involve fire!  Fruit plates & carving…not my forte…need to work on that  a bit as you can see to the right:

Days 3-5: Sandwiches/Canapes. I felt like a worker in a sweatshop, churning out piece after piece, platter after platter. How am I supposed to get 300 done in an hour, when I can barely get 12 done all day?  After 3 days of practice, however, I have to admit that what turned out looked pretty great and tasted delicious. My favorite by far was the house cured salmon canape with dill cream cheese, capers and a red onion garnish. Check out some highlights below:

Monte Cristo with house made chips and mango chutney

Ratatouille tartlet with goat cheese



2 Responses to “Intro to Garde Manger”

  • Jamie Says:

    Can you post the secret to making the homemade potato chips and the mango chutney!! Amazing!

  • admin Says:

    Definitely! I will put a posting up in the next few weeks on these and other great at-home secrets!

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