Earlier in the week we received our grades for the 'Intermediate Exam' we undertook last week at Tante Marie, you may remember the 'issues' I had with my bread and my attempt at piping a pretty design on a chocolate cake... just in case you missed it you can read about that here, towards the end of the post.
Being extremely disappointed with how the bread rolls turned out, and making a couple of other school boy errors I had resigned myself to getting a mark a fair bit lower than what I know I could have achieved. The results were posted on the board in the entrance to Tante Marie for all to see, and low and behold I had somehow managed to score enough to be top of my group and second in the class comprised of the two groups. To say I was very surprised with my position in the class is an understatement, in fact I must admit to feeling slightly embarrassed after discussing with classmates all my mistakes at length and in great detail.
What I wasn't surprised by was my mark of 74% which is just a touch higher than I expected. Not having a clue how the various marking criteria were weighted I came to my expected score by simply imagining that if I had done as well as I knew I could, I would get 100%, then I deducted marks for the errors I made. Simples.
I had a 15 minute debrief on Thursday with 'Mrs A' about the exam, whom I have now started to refer to as 'The All Seeing Eye'. 'The All Seeing Eye' sits at the front of the exam kitchen, pen in hand, note pad on the counter, mini cafetiere no more than arms length away... and doesn't miss a thing... nothing, nada, nowt, **** all, NOTHING! I had heard this was the case from other students but I guess one does not believe such things until it is witnessed first hand!
'The All Seeing Eye' even reads this blog... I told you nothing is missed! (Hi Mrs A.. I will bring you a coffee on Monday if you promise not to shout at me for your new nickname!)
So it turned out that my own observations of my short comings in the exam where the same as 'The All Seeing Eyes'... bread was crap, piping was “variable”, lamb jus under reduced etc etc etc. I must say that the positives were also pointed out, those I was most pleased with were my Lamb being cooked well, general level of seasoning being good, and the way in which I work (tidyness etc.) being very good.... so good in fact I received full marks in this area, something for which I have to thank 'Geoff the Chef' for beasting me about when I worked with him over the summer on a yacht.
So all in all I have no complaints, my mind is now focussed on the 'Budget Lunch' exam I have on Wednesday (post to follow shortly). The intermediate exam was a good warm up and introduction to how the practical exams will work here at Tante Marie, I just need to focus more and trust my own judgement, rather than worrying about what I think the examiner wants to see.... and lets be honest when it comes the result, to quote a classic movie...
"there are no points for second place"