Cook.Plate.Dine. | #101 — Firsts and Basics

Cook.Plate.Dine. | #101 — Firsts and Basics


(bouncy music) – This is a fast-paced career. – [Narrator] In the
heart of Milwaukee, students observe and
practice the techniques to transform themselves. – I did it! – Into professional chefs. – The cooking part of
it isn’t the challenge, it’s being ready
to be in school. – It’s stressful. Can you learn, can you
adjust as you’re going along, and that’s what you have to do. – [Narrator] Learning
the art of cooking. – [John] It’s amazing
that they get through it. I’m always impressed. – [Narrator] From food
preparation to presentation. – I love how my food
make people feel. When they be eatin’
it, they be like, “Aw man, girl, this is good.” – I like seeing people’s
reactions to trying new foods. – MATC has a great,
great reputation. – They’re the only accredited
culinary school in Wisconsin. – I went through it many,
many, many years ago. – People hungry, they hungry, you gotta get the
food out quick. – You don’t just cook
thinking of yourself, you cook thinking of others. – [Narrator] Creating a
delectable dish is an art that can delight the senses. The colors, the sounds, and ultimately, the tastes. Great cooks work
magic by combining just the right ingredients. – Not as big of a flame. – [Narrator] But
what inspires someone to want to prepare and
serve food for a living? – You’re gonna pipe
’em in the potato. – [Narrator] For those
who love to cook, often their connection
to food came from meals prepared at home. – Honestly, it was my mom. She’s from South
America, she’s from Peru, and so I never had American
dinners every night, I had Hispanic food,
I had Peruvian food, so, honestly, when I
started getting older, and I learned that there’s
different cultures out there and different
foods come with it, I got really interested
and I just wanted to be a part of this whole cultural
experience with food. – So I just have these
memories of my mother and my grandmother cooking,
even my father cooking, and so I think that
inspired me to want to cook. – My father was a single parent, and he was a horrible
cook, so I think that’s part of the reason
why I’m a chef today, so I can actually feed myself. – Starting off at a
young age, age eight, I have been cooking
for my family, and food is one thing that’s
always brought us together. – Thought I was gonna
mess that one up. (laughs) – When I think I was 11, I
really wanted to cook so bad, but my mom wouldn’t
let me by the stove, so they got me a Easy-Bake Oven, and it was only for girls,
and it was super expensive. My dad was like, “You want this, you don’t want no games or
nothing for my birthday?” I was like, “No, I’ll
get the Easy-Bake Oven.” And then I think I
broke it in a week ’cause the light bulb
broke, and then me and my brother were just
shoving stuff in there, and my brother was like,
“You want to cook?” And I was like, “Yeah,”
putting brownies, cookies. Destroyed the thing,
and then I really wanted to pursue it after that. – [Interviewer]
What are you making? – Crab cakes, I’m
balling ’em up right now, I’m gonna bread ’em and
then portion them out, so there’s enough. – My grandma, before
she passed, I used to be in the kitchen
with her all the time. So I could make cakes,
pies, homemade ice cream from scratch, so, then
when she passed away, I just keep doing it. Every day I go in the kitchen,
maybe do something different. Good work Phil and Lilo! We did it again, y’all! – [Narrator] Cooking for family
and friends is one thing, but becoming a professional
chef requires training. – You like risotto? – Yes, sir. – People was telling
me that I can cook, I can cook, I can cook. I was like, okay, where
can I go for cooking? So actually I went to
couple of other schools before I came to MATC. – [Narrator] MATC, the Milwaukee
Area Technical College, lies in the heart of Milwaukee. The school has offered
a culinary arts training program
for over 50 years. – Our local restaurant scene
is the envy of some cities, and with that also
requires skilled employees, so it really is our job at MATC to make sure that, just
like any other industry, we make sure that there’s a
pipeline of talented individuals that can work in the
restaurant industry. – The culinary students
that graduate from MATC typically graduate towards
our fine dining restaurants. (upbeat music) – Good morning. – [Crowd] Good morning. – Welcome to the MATC
Culinary Arts Program. And we hope that your experience
here is a positive one. – Excellent, wonderful. (laughs) – [Narrator] The curriculum
combines the art and science of cooking, everything
from basic prep skills to final presentation
and plating. – The culinary arts
program also offers an opportunity for students
to gain practical skills that will get them in
the culinary industry, no matter what area in
the culinary industry they’d like to go into. – I really want to
do photo styling and test kitchen work. – Just ’cause you have
a culinary arts degree doesn’t mean you
have to go and cook at this huge
establishment, you can go to a family-ran
business, or you can go into hospitals or day cares,
or every place has a kitchen. You can go anywhere you want. – Teaches kids how to use
basic skills, knife skills. How to cut up an apple. That sounds sort of rudimentary, but honestly, it’s
an important thing. How to cut a potato,
how to slice an onion. What’s mirepoix? How do you make a stock? How do you make soup? These are all basics
that these kids learn. – [Narrator] MATC students
come from a variety of backgrounds and
life experiences. – I only did childcare
because I was at home when I was raising my kids, but when my children grew up, and I knew I didn’t
want to do that forever, I knew I always wanted to cook. – I had a Pizza Hut restaurant, and I had a Papa
John’s restaurant. I worked in catering businesses, did food in the Navy,
used to cook lobster right out of the
ocean on the beach. So I had a lot of experience, about 20 years
combined experience, and the stroke wiped it all out. But I had a stroke,
and then to get back into the swing of things,
I started cooking again, decided to come to
school and relearn how to cook again,
professionally. – One more minute. – I went to school for
computer networking, and my classes
was really boring, so I came to MATC in the
liberals arts program, and I just took general classes, and then I took one cooking
class, and I was sold. – These are Cipollini onions. They are pickled
inside of beet juice. – They come to school
because they know that by going to MATC and
finishing the culinary program, that there’s gonna be a
brighter future for them. – [Narrator] Every chef
in training is required to purchase and wear a
professional uniform, which includes a hat,
either a black skullcap or a classic white toque,
patterned black and white pants, black non-skid shoes,
and a white chef’s coat. – How does that feel? It’s not tight anywhere? – No, it’s fine. – Can you move your
arms like this? – Yeah. – [Woman] That one
doesn’t look too bad. – And button it
all the way down, you want to make sure it fits. – [Woman] Can you
move your arms around? – Yeah. – [Woman] Are you comfortable? – It’s loose. – It’s loose? Do you want a
little tighter fit? – No, this one’s fine. – It’s fine? – [Narrator] Chefs
in training also need to acquire the proper
tools, such as a knife kit. The kit includes a variety
of knives, as well as sharpening and measuring
tools, in a heavy-duty case. All hands-on
training takes place in one of MATC’s eight
kitchens, or labs. – MATC is blessed with
amazing facilities. The kitchens are
probably better than any commercial kitchen in the city. I walk in there, I’m
like, my jaw drops because it’s such
a great environment for these kids to start out in. – Oh my God, their
kitchen is the best. They have all the equipment
that you looking for, even more. – 32 salads. – We could have the
best labs in the world, and that wouldn’t
mean a thing unless we had the talent to
put into the labs, and that’s really where
our faculty come in. – Up against the ribs. – [Rich] The culinary faculty
demand that you perform at your best, and they treat
you like you’re employed because our job is to get
you ready for employment. – Now, you’re
doing an angle cut. Like this. – Ah, perfect. – You get a lovely lemon wedge. – Squeezes out very nicely.
– And when you squeeze it, it comes out the center. – New order, Mofongo
and Cubano please. – I don’t hear any heards. I heard one heard. Call back the order again. – Sandra, level,
level, not heaping. – You get your knife
right underneath the skin. You kinda go the whole length. You can keep the
knife up against that. See how I have
that against there? And it’ll trim some of that way. It kinda shrinks up. – I would maybe a
little more seasoning in the hollandaise, a
little bit more heat, but then remember,
I’m a chili head. – More cayenne? I can live with doing that. – But right now, that’s lovely. – Thank you. – I’m actually excited to
wake up in the mornings at six a.m. to come to class. (upbeat music) – [Narrator] The culinary
program is a two-year, four-semester course of study. The first semester
includes classroom lectures and a very fundamental lab
class called Mise en Place, a French culinary phrase
meaning everything in its place. – The class meets once a week, three hours a day, for 16 weeks. – [Narrator] Chef
Patricia Whalen has been teaching the basics of
a professional kitchen at MATC for over 25 years. – [Patricia] It’s
more than the skills, it’s almost like
kitchen etiquette. How to work within
a group of students, within a group trying to
get the same accomplishment. – (laughs) It’s been a long day. – Yeah, it has. – Have your chef’s knife
out, your steel, your peeler. Every day they start out
with a cutting board. They have a knife kit at
the beginning of this class, but only thing they need for
my class is the chef’s knife, which is the most basic
tool that they’re going to be using, the
most important tool. The peeler and the
steel, which they use to hone the blade
of their knives, so they have to get
those things out. Your vertical cuts, remember,
not all the way to the root. Some of the
fundamental skills are they have to handle the knife
safely, that chef’s knife. – I would always hold
the knife with my hand on top of the blade,
and you’re not supposed to hold
it on the handle. – Watch your index finger. On your cutting hand,
you had your index finger on top of your knife. – [Woman] You grip the handle,
and you grab the blade. You don’t put your hand
on it, on top of it. – When you’re using the knife, what you’re trying to do is
more of a rocking motion. It’s not a banging down
on the board, okay? – Smooth cuts, you don’t
want to hear the clanking when you’re banging
on the cutting board. – So I shouldn’t
hear a lot of that. – [Woman] That is
not appropriate. Just making sure that you’re
going slow and concise. – [Narrator] Equally important
for the students to learn is how to hold their gripping
hand, referred to as the claw. – I don’t want to see
any fingernails, okay? So your blade is up
against here, okay? That’s right. – At home, we don’t
pay attention to it. You won’t be
protecting your hands, and here you have to, and
I sit right by the teacher, so I got a good
spot, she stay on me. That’s good. – I always have
Band-Aids in the class, and the first week there’s
always some blood-letting, but it’s to be expected. – [Narrator] Safety first,
then hours upon hours of practicing precision cutting. (bouncy music) – You have quite a variety
of sizes and shapes. Practice on that. – [Man] Okay. – That’s a nice square
end there, okay? Got sort of big. – Yeah, I cut on
my angles kinda. – And so for these
pieces, then you’re just gonna cut 1/8 of an
inch julienne on that. – Okay. – They learn knife
cuts, starting with the onions and the
carrots and the celery all the time, and this
is called mirepoix, and that’s what a lot
of the French sauces and stocks start with that. I’m seeing some good
square ends there. Okay, that’s a nice dimension. – There’s six different cuts
to do, so we practice those. – I’ve learned how
to do the dices. We have the large, the small,
the medium, and the brunoise. She’s gonna love the fact that
I said that right. (laughs) That’s 1/8 of a cube. – It’s a very, very tiny dice. The large dice is a
3/4 by 3/4 by 3/4, and so they do get
a culinary ruler and have that in
their knife kit, and I encourage
them to use that. Repetition is great. You can’t get that 3/4-inch dice unless you repeat it
time and time again. All of our vegetables that we
cut are used by other labs, so we go through tons and
tons of it every week, but it all gets moved
out, which is nice. We’re not wasting anything. – [Narrator] So what’s
the best practice food for a new chef-in-training? – There are chefs that are known that when you walk
into their restaurant, the first thing they have
you do is cook an egg, and if you can’t cook an
egg, you don’t get a job. – If you can cook a good egg, I think you have an
accomplishment there. – We’re learning the
poach, the simmer, just different kinds
of eggs, scrambled. Getting those down. – And they say that
the number of pleats is the number of ways that a chef
should be able to make eggs, and so there’s hundreds
of pleats in here, and I don’t know,
they’ve learned how to do seven different
preparations of eggs. – [Narrator] Students
start with scrambled eggs. – Okay, no, that’s nice,
nice and soft, nice color. – I practiced last night, Chef. – Did you, good. – I got out of work at
11:30, stayed up till 12:30. – Wow. – Made sure my mom got eggs. – Practice makes perfect. – [Narrator] Then they need
to perfect sunny-side up, keeping the yolk intact. – [Patricia] Make
sure you can move that around the pan there, Cyrus. – That’s a over-medium,
this is a over-easy, so we gotta do two eggs of each. – [Narrator] Creating
an over-medium or over-easy egg is not
as simple as it sounds until you’ve mastered the flip. – And basically, it’s just
the turning of the egg. And don’t do it
like that. (laughs) I don’t want to have any
fold on it either, okay? So don’t fold it. – [Narrator] This student’s
egg flopped before it flipped. – Harder than it looks. – [Narrator] Eventually
practice makes perfect. – There we go. – Now go. There you go, go, go. You gotta give it, there you go. – Ahhh. – There you go, good job. Hey! – Put it on a plate. Okay, little bit of
– A little bit brown. – Brown, yeah, but your yolk
is nice and runny, okay? Good job. You got applause and everything. – Yeah, ’cause I applaud
myself ’cause I did the flip. – [Narrator] One of
the most difficult egg preparations is the omelet. – The French omelet,
which is the one I think that has the
most technique involved. You are trying to get
the raw egg to cook. Make sure that you’re
getting around the sides, so that those sides don’t just
get real thin and overdone. – [Narrator] Using a
technique by the famous chef Jacques Pepin, students
learn to carefully maneuver the egg in the pan to
both cook and fold it. – This half should come over. Right, right, right, okay. Now do you have a plate? And (laughs) okay,
but before you do that the next time, instead
have your hand like this, so you can just go like that. It has nice shape,
it’s nice and plump, and it is moist on
the inside, okay? – Yes! – But next time, start
with a hotter pan. – Yes. – Okay? – I did it. (laughs) – All right, if you
let it go too long, it’s gonna get brown. – [Narrator] After
mastering the basics of cooking an egg,
students move on to cook some favorite
breakfast egg dishes. – Scrambled eggs, I
love scrambled eggs. – You’re still doing
your French toast? – Yes, I’m just getting my
omelets ready for takeoff. – Remember you need a fork. – Yes. – [Narrator] Anyone for
stuffed French toast with a side of omelet? Or how about a perfectly
prepared dish of Eggs Benedict? – I hope it tastes
good. (laughs) – Who’s is this one? – That one’s mine. – Okay. – Yolk is nice and runny, okay? Maybe slightly a little bit
overdone, but it’s good, good. – Never made baked eggs before. First time for
everything, you know? – [Narrator] Eggs and
Bakin’ food truck owner Erin Broderick makes her
living making specialty eggs. During her mise en
place class at MATC, she spent a lot of
time perfecting the
art of cooking eggs. – Eggs and breakfast
food, I think, are both anytime
food, in my opinion. I know growing up it
was a luxury to have breakfast for dinner some
nights, and I still think that people enjoy having
breakfast anytime of day. I feel like people
are really particular about their yolks,
but when we’re busy, you’re just gonna get it
over-medium, no choice. All right, little bit of
Muenster melted on there. – [Narrator] Chef Broderick
originally graduated from Marquette University
with a degree in journalism, and later studied baking
and pastry-making at MATC. – I’m grateful
for a lot at MATC. Those skills, those
basic skills that are pretty much what has
helped me sustain, I feel, a pretty
successful food truck. All right, we’ll have that
up in just a couple minutes. I think there were a lot of
wonderful instructors there that just had the right skills, said the right things,
were in a position that they should have
been to encourage quality people to
come out of there. Thanks so much. – [Narrator] Student
chefs quickly learn that only with repetition
and practice will mastery of technique
become secondhand. This time, what’s flipping is a crepe, or a thin
French pancake. – You should be able to flip it. Whoa! I hope you caught that. (laughs) – Come on. You don’t even want to come out. – There you go. – Bam. Did y’all get the flip? – Yeah, they got the flip. – Y’all got the flip. – I’m ready. Yeah. (laughs) – Okay, I’m gonna try
to undo it. (laughs) Don’t do it, no. You were so pretty. Stick to the pan. There you go, nice and
thin, super thin. (laughs) I don’t think I’m
gonna try any of that fancy flipping stuff
anymore. (laughs) – Team three, broccoli. Team four, mushroom. – [Narrator] Students in
the culinary program spend considerable time
working in teams, which is a great asset
once you start working in a professional kitchen. – This is the Western Racquet
Club a la carte main hot line. This is Tom Evert, Tom Evert
is a first-year student at MATC in the
associates program, so Tom currently works saute, but he also works all the
stations throughout the club. – [Narrator] James
Golombowski, executive chef at the Western Racquet Club
in Elm Grove, Wisconsin, and an MATC culinary program
alumnus, values his team. – We see each other more
than I see my actual family on a regular basis,
so it’s a very tight-knit bond that we have. This is Wally Lenhoff. Wally’s the lead line cook
here at Western Racquet Club, so he’s a graduate of MATC
in the associates program. He actually just celebrated
his 10-year anniversary. He started as a dishwasher,
and now he runs the kitchen when I’m not here. MATC really opened my eyes up to what it took to take a menu item from vision or concept
to the preparation of the items, all the prep work, all the mise en place
that goes into it. – It’s nothing like
getting in there and getting to
work, blending in, being able to laugh
and conversate with your coworker, look
over and peek at their stuff, and then peek back at yours. – I didn’t do all the skills. I would just get in there and
just throw stuff together, but now I’m taking my time, using the methods
that I’m learning. – I wouldn’t add the
milk to that first, once it warms up. So don’t put that in yet. – Right. She had to give it
her touch. (laughs) – No, it just needed a
little bit more time. It looks beautiful. – Thank you. – You need to practice. You definitely need to practice. Getting better, getting
faster, so it’s working. – [Narrator] The
mise en place course teaches basic cooking
and kitchen skills these chefs-in-training will use over a lifetime in
their own kitchens. – A lot of students are
working in the industry, so they know some of the basics, but to put it all
together so that they’re all ready to go into
second semester is my goal. – Chef Whalen, I love her. I love all the chefs, but she
is one of my favorite chefs because she’s so precise,
she’s so together. She’s informative,
she talk to you, she work with you, and
she take time with you. – I want to think
that they are learning not only skills, but also
almost like behaviors and attitudes, how
to be a professional. – We’re looking for a palette,
we’re looking for passion, we’re looking for a
fire in the belly. We’re looking for sparkle. Do they have this personality that sort of lights
up a little bit? That’s what we look for
in all of our employees. – Last time I was in
school was in ’93 here, and I quit, and then I
decided to come back. And I’m gonna stick
with it this time, I’m gonna do the two to three
years, whatever it takes, I’m gonna do the whole
two to three years. I’m not givin’ up this time. – [Joe] It’s a tough
business, and that’s why the MATC culinary program
is so important right now because it’s graduating
50, 60 kids every year into the marketplace
that can be put to work and have a career
almost immediately. – All right, we’re all
set with The Piglet. – Thank you. – You’re welcome,
have a great day. – [Narrator] Coming
up, on Cook.Plate.Dine. Our chefs in training move on to more advanced
cooking techniques. – Add your spices first. There you go. Beautiful, stir those in good. And now, wait till he
gets those stirred in and then you can add the stock. – [Narrator] Learn to cook
vegetables with panache. – Your seasoning’s spot-on, so all you need to do
is remember to turn them and make sure you get
that browning, okay? – Okay. – [Narrator] And carve
meat with confidence. – [Man] You control it,
don’t let it control you. You’re doing exactly right. – [Narrator] The
dishes get more complex as the training
steps up a notch. – Now the big taste test. That’s delicious. – [Narrator] Join us next time for another taste
of Cook.Plate.Dine. We’d love to hear from you about this episode
of Cook.Plate.Dine. Call us at 414-797-3760
with your feedback. Discover more about
Cook.Plate.Dine. online at milwaukeepbs.org, and follow us on the
Milwaukee PBS Facebook page. – You can try rescuing it, but I don’t know
if it’s gonna work. – I didn’t think my
egg was gonna make it. – First thing you should take
out is your chef’s knife. You can start cleaning up now.

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