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• Identify the duties of the garde manger work station.
The garde manger chef is responsible for preparing cold foods, such as salads, salad dressings, cold hors d'oeuvres, fancy sandwiches, canapés, and cold platters.
In this section, you will learn about different garnishing tools. Use a chart like this one to match the nine garnishing tools with the ingredients for which they are suited.
• dry cure
• wet cure
• garde manger
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The garde manger chef, also known as the pantry chef, is the person who plans, prepares, and presents artistic, or creative, cold foods. These foods include salads and salad dressings, cold hors d'oeuvres, fancy sandwiches, canapés ('ka-n9-,pas), and cold platters. A canapé is an appetizer that is served on a small piece of bread or toast.
The garde manger chef plans dishes using many fresh ingredients, including vegetables, fruits, prepared meats, fish, seafood, breads, and cheeses. Simple ingredients are used to create and artistically present hors d'oeuvres, salads, canapés, fancy sandwiches, garnishes for all types of dishes, and fruit, cheese, meat, relish, and combination trays. In addition, he or she may also prepare cold sauces, some hot hors d'oeuvres and hot appetizers, and artistic garnishes and ice sculptures.
Garde manger chefs also make forcemeats as part of their work. Forcemeat is a mixture of ground, raw meat or seafood that is emulsified with fat. The mixture can be ground fine or coarse. Forcemeats are used in many different items from charcuterie, such as sausages and pâtés. Pork fatback is often used as the fat for a forcemeat because it has a neutral flavor that will not interfere with other flavorings or seasonings.
There are four main types of forcemeats that are made at a garde manger workstation:
• Straight forcemeats usually have equal parts of pork, pork fat and another type of meat. The meats are cubed and then seasoned or cured, and ground.
• Country-style forcemeats are coarse in texture. They contain a combination of pork, pork fat, and liver and garnish ingredients.
• Gratin forcemeats have the main ingredient sautéed before being ground. The French word gratin means browned.
• Mousseline forcemeats have a light texture. Cream is added to light meats such as veal, poultry, fish, or shellfish. Cured meats are also a specialty of the garde manger. Cured meat has a different flavor and texture from cooked meat, and is an interesting addition to many foods.
Hors d'Oeuvres Variety The garde manger brigade is in charge of making cold hors d'oeuvres. What occasions might call for an hors d'oeuvres tray like this one?
Great Garnishes The garde manger chef creates garnishes for all types of dishes. Why are garnishes important on a plate?
There are two ways to cure foods. In a dry cure, the food is coated in salt, sweeteners, and flavorings, and then wrapped in paper or cheesecloth. Once it is cured, the meat is washed to remove the coating. Then, it is cooked, smoked, dried, or aged. Pro-sciutto, an Italian ham, is made by dry curing with salt. A wet cure is also called a brine. Food is submerged in a mixture of sea salt, some form of sweetener, spices, and herbs that are dissolved in water. Once it is cured, it is removed from the brine and rinsed. Then, the food is dried, smoked, aged, or cooked. Bacon, tongue, brisket, corned beef, and pastrami are all wet-cured meats.
Some large restaurants or hotels may ask the garde manger chef to create table arrangements and edible centerpieces for buffets. These centerpieces may be made from materials such as ice, cheese, butter, fruit, or salt dough.
The garde manger chef manages the gardemanger department in restaurants, large hotels, and many catering operations. He or she manages a team of people called a garde manger brigade. Each member of the garde manger brigade specializes in a particular type of cold food preparation. Although it is called a brigade, the garde manger brigade has a much looser structure than the traditional kitchen brigade. Some of the kitchen brigade positions that are under the management of the garde manger chef include:
• The Boucher, who butchers all meats and poultry.
• The Poissonnier, who cleans, prepares, and stores fish and shellfish.
• The Buffetier (bs-fe-'tyer), who maintains the buffet.
• The Hors d'Oeuvrier, who makes all hors d'oeuvres.
• The Charcutier, who makes sausage and smoked items, such as meats, cheeses, and nuts.
• The Commis, an apprentice of the garde manger chef.
In planning this kind of food, the garde manger brigade considers:
• The cost of ingredients and the time required to prepare dishes.
• The use of many different food items so that the menu is interesting.
• The use of different colors and textures throughout the meal.
• The appeal of the food and the ability of the brigade.
Garde Manger History
The term garde manger means keeping to eat. Wealthy families in France in the 1700s had a household steward who would keep foods in the family's cold store room. This person was very important because much of the food kept in the cold room was butchered, pickled, salted, cured, or smoked during the fall season and stored for months. The steward had to keep the food safe and portion it out to last for the winter season.
During the Middle Ages, many of the food preparation techniques that were done by the garde manger chefs were performed and taught by guilds. Charcutèrie was the name of a guild that prepared and sold cooked items made from pigs. When the guild system was abolished during the French Revolution, garde manger chefs performed the tasks of the charcutières and went to work in restaurants.
Butchers originally worked under the garde manger station. But as the need for cuts of meat increased, more space was needed for butchering. Eventually, the butcher worked out of a separate butchery shop.
The work of the garde manger chef requires a high level of skill and artistry. However, in some modern restaurants, the term garde manger is used to identify the salad station, and the position is often filled by an entry-level cook.
Garde Manger Equipment
The garde manger chef uses many different tools to do his or her job. This means that the garde manger chef needs a well-planned and well-equipped work area. Usually, the garde manger work station will include:
• Walk-in and reach-in refrigerators and freezers.
• Several ranges to cook foods, such as roast beef and turkey, before they are served cold.
• A food slicer or mandoline.
Making Garnishes can be made with everyday tools, as well as with specialized garnishing tools. Can you guess how some of these garnishes were made by looking at the tools?
^ J FIGURE 18.1 Common Garnishes
Vegetable Garnishes A variety of vegetables make up common garnishes to complement food. Are all of these garnishes made by the garde manger brigade?
• Individual molds, pastry bags, a garnishing set that includes a variety of garnishing knives, offset spatulas, an egg wedger and slicer, and large cutters Because the garde manger brigade will prepare a wide variety of foods, it is important that the garde manger work station be kept clean and well organized at all times.
Many garnishes are created in the garde manger work station. The word garnish comes from the French word garnir, meaning to decorate or furnish. In the culinary world, it means to use food as an attractive decoration.
It is something that should add real value to the dish by increasing its nutritional value and visual appeal. A simple garnish, such as an asparagus tip or a wedge of fruit, can be used to add eye appeal in the form of color and balance.
Although many garnishes are made by the garde manger chef, some are not. Hot garnishes are made by chefs at other work stations and transferred to the plate. However, garnishing is still a traditional garde manger duty.
A garnish should complement the flavors and textures of the meal. Mushrooms, cucumbers, scallions, pickles, radishes, and lemons are good examples of garnishes. A quenelle (ks-nel), or a purée of chopped food formed into shapes, can also be used. (See Figure 18.1.)
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