- Order “the line”: 1) starch 2) veg 3) protein. By the time people get to the protein, they’ve filled their plates, and so don’t take too much expensive protein.
- Cafeteria-style restaurants always put the desserts first, so people take them, which they wouldn’t if they were the last item in the line.
- You only really need to rinse rice for sushi quality rice preparation. Today there was no difference between the rinsed and un-rinsed rice.
Today was more hectic than yesterday. Yesterday, Chef Ben more or less just told us what to do. Today, he is starting to offload the thinking to us (which may not have been his most well-considered plan!) I was sous-chef for today, which meant I more or less filled in wherever needed, handled extra supplies, and did the Chef’s bidding. 4 of us were Chef de Partie, which meant coming to school with a fully thought out “Prep List”, recipe, and plan. Let’s just say, we’re in the learning stages of how to do that. This helped contribute to the mayhem, but also there just was a lot to do.
Even though we had butchered all the hanger steak (which seems to be all the rage these days by the way), there was incredible amount of food that had to be prepared in two hours. A bucket of carrots julienned, one red salsa from roasted tomatoes, one green salsa from green things, deep fried fish, a fresh salad, a roasted corn salad, a triple been over drive dish, fruit salad dessert. Lots and lots of prep, plus we were down a man as Gerardo chopped through his thumb. (He’s ok). We all aren’t fully organized and methodical in our prep, but we’re learning. Apparently we are to be like “ninja ballerinas”!
We had some left over chicken parmesan from yesterday, so this was chopped up and reheated. I took it out of the oven and tasted it – it tasted a bit dry, so I took it to the Chef and said I think this needs a little something. He took one bite, and said “chuck it all”, I said are you sure, we can put some butter on it, so he took another bite, and said…..”chuck it all”. Into the garbage went two hotel pans (1ft by 2ft pans) of chopped fried chicken. Eventually, everyone got their dishes ‘on the line’, and the Chef shouted – where are the tortillas? We had every ingredient ready, EXCEPT THE ACTUAL TORTILLAS. I can’t tell you fast we got those tortillas on the flat top.
In our post mayhem debrief, we all had to admit that having the Prep Lists detailed and ready to go would have made things smoother, insured we had all our ingredients, made things easier to delegate, and would prevent last minute forgets.
Our class is divided up into two. Half of us our in “family meal” and half of us are in charcuterie, but we’re all still in the same kitchen. There are some really interesting items happening over there (I saw a Pate en Croute with smokestacks) but I really can’t tell you about them till we swap over there in two weeks.
After class I had an appointment with Gina, the externship counsellor. She is the one who helps us all get externships at an appropriate restaurant. I brought my resume, which she totally re-arranged (needless to say my financial experience wasn’t the first things Chef’s want to see), but I’m doing a bunch of volunteering for different culinary events which help put something relevant on there.