One of the biggest frustrations of my stage was the lack of interesting tasks given to me, and the feeling that with all the daily herbs chopping and vegetable peeling I applied almost nothing I had learned at Ferrandi before. Deboning poultry, preparing a lamb rack or fish were tasks apparently too risky to give to stagiaires like me, and only the sous-chefs or very talented apprentis were allowed to do that, while I watched them chopping my parsley (I am really good and fast at that though now).
The "highlight", the mother of all rejections, during this stage took place during the last two weeks when I was working eventually at the stoves where the hot starters were prepared and plated. One of the dishes my station was in charge of was the "poêlée de champignons", a mix of mushrooms, simply sautéed, arranged with a poached egg in the middle. Right at the beginning I wanted to take the egg out of the water when it was time to plate it, but everybody broke out in panic "no, don't touch the egg !". I didn't get it, but continued to obey and shut up as usual. So all they let me do was do dig a whole with my fingers into the heap of mushrooms, once they were put by the chef the partie on the plate to make room for the poached egg. Very cool.
So obviously on of the most urgent desires I had back in my own kitchen here to cook this dish, and just demonstrate to myself that I could poach an egg. It sounds ridiculous, because it is one of the very basic things you are taught early in culinary school, and not really difficult. But as I mentioned before, after three months in an environment, where I lost a lot of confidence into my capabilites, I had to do this. And of course it was really easy.
A very simple but delicious seasonal dish. I used cepes (porcini mushrooms). After cleaning them carefully with a towel dipped in cold water (ah, another thing I learnt !), simply sautéed in very hot olive oil, and at the end some chopped garlic, shallots and parsley added. And then a perfectly poached egg put in the middle. Voila. I can do it. Anybody had doubts ? I can do more than digging holes into a heap !