Well friends, 80 days and four levels later, we made it. We crushed our final and finished Level 4.

For those who aren’t familiar with this level 4, it is slightly different than levels 1-3. There are twelve dishes in total: three garde manger (appetizer), three poissonnier (fish), three saucier (meat, entrees) and three patissier (pastry). Garde manger is paired with saucier, and poissonnier with patissier. We do the same two dishes three days in a row; the first two days are “practice” rounds, with the third day being our “mock final.” Everyone gets a different letter and number (for example: A1, B1, A2, B2) and each dish must be presented at a certain time. Somehow on mock final days and even the FINAL FINAL day, I always picked the first number. While you have less time than others after you, it’s nice to present first, and get it over with. My favorite thing about level 4 was working alone; you set your pace and do what best works for you.

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Although we make each dish three times, we don’t have any idea what the dishes are or what the combinations will be for the final; we select our dishes and numbers that morning. The four dishes ended up being: Nicoise-style Composed Salad & Sautéed Center-Cut Pork Chip with Green Peppercorn Sauce and Sautéed Skate Wing with Brown Butter, Capers, Lemon and Croutons & Lemon Tart. I got the skate and lemon tart, score! I certainly had butterflies that morning, but overall the final went really well.

Now we are off to our externships for two months. Building on my PR background, I really want to work in food media – magazines, TV, writing, etc. I know I need to get experience in the kitchen first, so I decided to work in catering. Union Square Events here I come!

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