Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just Another Day in Paradise

Today began like any other, I was put to work the second I arrived in the kitchen. I helped prep for lunch service, by grating parmesan cheese for the polenta that was being served with braised beef cheeks. Typically, I only prep for lunch for the first couple of hours, but today was different. We were unexpectedly busy! For a rainy Tuesday afternoon, the restaurant had a great turnout. So, as the intern I spent my time running between two chefs who both needed my help.

I first helped prep the lamb pitas that were stuffed with lamb (we will call them “nuggets”, not sure exactly how to describe their shape), a mixture of sautéed peppers and onions, and a delicious sauce to complete. I had to roll out the meat mixture (ground lamb seasoned with cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper) into small Twinkie-like shapes. Then I sautéed more red onions to go into the pepper and onion mixture. I switched to help the chef on the other station and crumbled feta, quarted up sweet potatoes and slow roasted tomatoes for the power lunch. After that, I ran back to the other chef and helped shape the fish cakes by using a round cookie cutter and then dusting them in panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) so that they would not fall apart once cooked. I also had to make an emergency batch of hummus. While it seemed chaotic at times, working as a team really helped us come through service successfully.

Once the lunch rush was over, I started working on a catering order. I prepped all the ingredients for the salad. I washed local lettuces and spun them dry in the salad spinner. Then grilled onions that were finished off in the 300° oven until nice and tender. Next I toasted some pecans, and crumbled more feta to go with the salad as well. They were also serving roasted carrots so I sliced the carrots on a bias using the mandolin so that they were uniform in shape. I also prepped roasted tomatoes to go alongside the meat, and collected hazelnuts and currants that were being used as well. Finding the currants was a scavenger hunt, as they were hidden behind several boxes in the upstairs dry storage.

Before I knew it, it was time to go home. Time seems to disappear when I am in the kitchen. I am so consumed by what I am doing I don’t even notice the time passing. I know I am in the right industry because I am truly loving what I do.

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