Friday, May 20, 2011

Dinner For 40

Thursday morning I woke up at a decent hour to find Marzia preparing some breakfast. I mentioned I was not very hungry, but she provided me with an array of fruits, yogurts, and finally toast with Nutella. She's simply wonderful! There were peaches, bananas, and pears all juicy and ripe. Even the simplest of meals are wonderful here.

After breakfast we got ready to go to Il Bottaccio. Once we were there I was put to work, doing preparation for the dinner party held that night. I began by filleting the smoked salmon, placing delicate pieces of the pink flesh on crackers spread with butter. Then I filed quiche cups with the vegetable mixture we made yesterday.

Once I was done, Fabio, a sous chef, made the whole staff lunch. I thoroughly enjoyed each bite of the vegetable chicken pasta. Fabio speaks English and is quite patient with me. He is a great teacher, giving me plenty to do while also having me taste and watch what he does. Today, I tried pure pig fat, it tasted like bacon flavored butter, so good! We have also become carpool buddies since he lives in Massa too.

After lunch, I finished the shift making the tomato garnish, and pizza tomatoes. The tomato garnish involved peeling the skins off and forming them into a flower, very pretty. The pizza tomatoes are simply diced tomatoes. I also helped Marzia make caramel sauce and cut out the scalloped potatoes with a cookie cutter. Another task I had was to julienne vegetables. This means cutting them very very thinly. I got a compliment on my knife skills so I guess that's a good sign. We ended the shift with a glass of 2004 red wine, I'd say it was a good first half of the work day.

I rested during my break, which didn't last long. Once returning to Il Bottaccio it seemed like a whirlwind. They had a party of 40 from the Lion's Club, similar to our Rotary Club. The dinner was a multitude of courses, beginning with passed hors d'oeuvres. This included rolled prosciutto, crackers with cheese, salami, mini hamburgers, salmon crackers and more. The second course was a tortellini, then the fish course, and finally a chocolate mousse dessert. All simply irresistible. I helped where I was needed, bringing ingredients, cleaning as we cooked, and plating each course.

Tonight really felt like a team in the kitchen, all of us coming together to make an incredible meal. We ended the night with a glass of sgroppino and lots of laughs. I'd say it was a success.

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