Two days down and four and a half weeks to go in my intensive basic cuisine class at Le Cordon Bleu. This class is a welcome relief from pastry. No scales, no measuring every ingredient to the gram, no waiting nervously to see what comes out of the oven, no eating sugar nine hours a day. Back to my zone diet!

We’ve started learning technique for different cuts (paysanne, mirepoix, julienne, and brunoise) and the bases of different stocks (vegetable, fish, veal, and chicken). From every basic stock there are at least four different sauces that can be made. Each is prepared a particular way with a different thickening agent. We made fish stock today and I had to cut filets from whole fish and chop up the bones for the stock. The yuckiest part was popping out the eyeballs with the tip of a vegetable peeler. I pierced one right in the pupil and got black goo all over my fingers-blech! However, the end recipe– Filets de Merlan Bercy or Whiting fillets in White Wine Sauce– was delicious. The chef said mine was “Pas mal”! which really means VERY GOOD. You know these French chefs don’t hand out complements too often so I’ll take what I can get.

I’m looking forward to making Chicken stock and Poached Chicken with Supreme Sauce & rice ‘au gras’ tomorrow. I think we’re also making a cheese souffle. The best thing about these classes (besides the extraordinary chefs) is taking home everything I make and re-serving it to friends and family. Now all my friends and family get fat too–not just me!

If you’re curious about the recipes, we make many from their “Le Cordon Bleu at Home” book which has wonderful full menus and great pics on technique. Check it out at amazon for $33.00. I bought two copies for my parents and got all the LCB chefs to sign them– PAS MAL!!!