Ballymaloe Day 20 – Ode to Kitchen 3

Today was my last day in Kitchen 3, which makes me a little sad. I have been in that kitchen for three weeks now, so it was inevitable that I would be changing kitchens after the week was finished. Fortunately, I ended on a high note. My order for the morning was to make a mushroom soup (very yum), a French omelette (figured out the technique after *only* three tries!), and made some marzipan stuffed apples and dates (marzipan – where have you been all of my life?). I think I owe my relative success in that kitchen to the fantastic instructors that I had – Annette and Florrie. Both women deserve to attain sainthood for the patience and their ability to keep everything under control in a kitchen filled with a bunch of culinary fledglings. The amazing thing is that they seem to be able to give everyone individualized attention, while at the same time keep an eye out for the myriad dishes in the ovens or on the stoves. I’m pretty sure that they either have eyes in the back of their heads or some kind of an acute sixth sense, as they seem to know exactly when someone is about to or in the process of botching up something. Yet, you never feel like you are a complete idiot in their presence. They exude calmness, and when something goes wrong (“Oh look, I’m bleeding” or “Oh, you mean these onions are burnt not caramelized, and I have to re-start the entire dish?”), they turn it into a teaching moment without making it feel that way. So, they are nothing short of heroes to me. I have learned an incredible amount from them both in such a short space of time, and for that I will always be grateful.

Over the weekend, I went home to Dublin. It was strange to leave Ballymaloe, as I’ve really grown attached to that place in the month that I have been down there. I hitched a lift with another student who was staying in Dublin for the weekend, and in just under three hours, we were back in the city. It did feel as though we had landed in a completely foreign place though, and I am pretty sure that I will be in complete culture shock when I leave Ballymaloe for good to return to the real world. I did get a chance to relax a bit, meet up with friends, and try a new restaurant called San Lorenzo’s on South Great George’s Street. I enjoyed the restaurant, but I now have a much keener eye for the way dishes being served and how they are plated. I even caught myself inspecting the bread and wondering how it was made. I never thought about those kinds of things in the past, so I know my mind is being trained to think more critically when it comes to food.

I have been assigned to the Demo Kitchen for this coming week. Apparently, you either love or hate that kitchen, so it’ll be interesting to see into which group I will fall. Additionally, it is the start of week 5 of the course, which Darina explained was when everyone starts to hit a low point. Optimism has never been my forté (I subscribe to the philosophy that pessimists are either proven right or pleasantly surprised), but I’ll try and stay positive about it all. Here’s hoping my week gets off to a good start…

Pictures, as per usual:

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