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Beef, butchery and (bunking off?) - Culinary School Diaries, Week 5

Updated: Oct 9, 2021

Bit of a fragmented week for me, unfortunately, as I had to miss Wednesday to Friday due to reasons out of my control. Thanks to my very lovely course-mates, however, I still have some photo evidence of what was going on while I was away!


Monday was our first enrichment day, not set in the kitchen. The morning was spent in the dining room watching a local butcher taking apart half a cow's carcass. As someone who has spent 8 out of 10 of the last years of his life as a vegetarian / vegan, this was certainly a day that was very much out of my comfort zone. That said, it did mean that nearly everything that was being said was new to me, which made it incredibly interesting. Definitely not a career path I would consider, but gives some real appreciation for the work that goes into getting meat on our plates and also the amount of money that each animal is worth; one cow will sell for about £5k!

Lunch was the lamb tagine we made a few weeks ago which had been frozen down, served with couscous, yoghurt and pomegranate molasses.


Today was unfortunately my first and last day in the kitchen this week, and one that was full of prep that was meant to be finished over the course of the week, including the painstakingly precise folding of croissant dough, and the outright painful mixing of brioche dough without a stand mixer. This is definitely an interesting decision by the school to make us mix it fully by hand, but I'm sure it has helped me gain an appreciation for the amount of work it needs to make a full dough. We also made suet pastry for later in the week, and a beef stew, both made with yesterday's butchered beef, and lunch was sirloin steak with triple cooked chips, mushrooms, tomatoes and a Bearnaise sauce. In all honesty, I was aiming for medium rare on the steak and ended up with it very much rare, but was very happy with that, and may start ordering rare in the future!

Wednesday to Friday

The three days I wasn't around apparently contained "too much beef", Wednesday included Croque Monsieur, steamed beef and wild mushroom pudding with various purees. Thursday was roast rib of beef, Yorkshire pudding, fondant potatoes and braised shallots, as well as chocolate and croissant bread and butter pudding, brioche pain perdu with a fruit compote and rosewater ice cream, and Chelsea buns. Friday contained brisket in a brioche bun with onion rings and skinny fries, beef and blue cheese pasties, and bavette steak with bordelaise sauce.

As brioche and carrot puree come up in the exams in week 8, they were kind enough to give me extra tuition in each of these, which turned out pretty well I think!

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