Week 12: All Good Things

There were plenty of good things this week. Monday’s demo was a list of ‘student requests’ ranging from pho bo to bagels (and ignoring my query of whether a gluten-free version was possible). Bravo to the teachers for packing a phenomenal amount of recipes into the afternoon and still managing to finish by 5.30. Tuesday brought ‘demo deluxe’ with Rory- oysters, champagne sauce, quail and venison all featured.

And, of course, all good things must come to an end, for Tuesday was our final demo of the 12 week course. From then on, it was the bread raffle (which bread you were assigned for your practical exam), and a mix of completing your practical exam Wednesday or Thursday, studying when you weren’t cooking, and five-and-a-half hours of written exams on Friday. In fact, some might think the ‘good things’ did indeed come to an end on Tuesday!

My practical exam was at 7.30 Wednesday morning. All going well, I would serve up roast chicken at 10.10, having used 20 minutes of my allotted three hours making my sorbet the previous afternoon.

All did not go well, or at least, quite that well. Yes, I cooked my menu, I was happy with it, and I think I presented it well, but I somehow went from being on time to being 15 minutes over (no panic) to being over an hour late (‘I don’t want to fail. Shut up brain’). I’d love to actually see some CCTV footage, as I’m not quite sure what happened or where the time went, apart from clutching the Kenwood  to ensure it didn’t fly across the room, killing someone in a dramatic splurge of mashed potato.

To a dramatic hiss of ‘They’re coming’ from the supervising teacher, I fled the kitchen while my food was being marked, took deep breaths, and received a much needed ‘big squishy hug’ from Pam. It actually took about 8 hours before I felt fully ‘recovered’ and back to normal, including a surprise visit from Mr. WB with me sobbing ‘It was haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard’ into his shoulder.

Written exams, on the other hand, I am good at, and confident about. I had also done oodles of study (why do you think all my recent posts are written in retrospect?). And by God, was I grateful I had. Apart from the odd bit of bluffing, I knew what I needed to complete the three papers. There was some confusion in the Meat Identification session. Remembering Rory’s advice to ‘Think of yourself on all fours’, I almost got onto all fours in front of one cut of meat, before delightedly writing ‘It has a trachea!’ on my exam paper. I kid you not.

And yes, there were more good things after the exam: a hug with Mr. WB (working in Shanagarry), a refreshing swim, and our farewell dinner cooked by Rory himself. If all good things must come to an end, this was a fitting finale.

Quote of the Week:

Darina commenting on Tim’s cold, from too much time spent in the new shipping container bakery: ‘He nearly caught his death in his bread shed!’

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