One of the requirements of culinary school is to work between 22-28 hours during the 14 week course. I signed up for 3 different events, the first one being the brunch, Oct 5, at the school. People can call in for reservations or just come to the school. I showed up at 7 AM, not really knowing what to expect, although I knew from looking at the sign up sheet for the event that a dozen students signed up, all but 2 from Chef Pro 1, a the other 2 from Pastro Pro 1/2.
I figured we might be in trouble, but what did I know? When I arrived I saw a full kitchen of people, and was relieved to see Chef Heather, Chef Nona, and a couple chefs who were graduates of the school. I was given an assignment to juice and zest and orange, mince ginger, and slice candied ginger. That wasn’t so bad. As I worked I looked around and saw that I didn’t recognize most of the students in the room. I saw 4 from my class, however, and that was comforting.
I continued to get assignments such as rolling meatballs, making a feta salad dressing (which I mistakenly put goat cheese in instead of feta cheese), and put barley in soup and watch it cook.
At around 10:00 it was announced that some students would be “on the line” cooking the food for the guests. I was surprised, but pleased to hear my name called out. Chef Justin, a graduate from the school and a chef at The Vault was in charge. He showed us couple sample plates and gave detailed instructions on how to cook and plate the dishes being served. Two of us worked on the fish dish and pasta dish and the other two on the cornish hen and pork chop dishes.
Eric and I were assigned the pasta and fish dishes which consisted of several components:
Poach the fish, cook the risotto by sauteeing onions, adding risotto, adding stock, adding peas, stirring, adding salt, adding butter, and then make sauteed snow peas. We handed the prepared items to Justin who plated everything. Good thing he was doing the plating because it wasn’t easy to cook the food, let alone get it on the plate right. For the breakfast pasta we cooked the fresh pasta in water, made sauce by heating a mixture of vegetables, add cream sauce, bacon, then the pasta, more cream if needed, spinach, and seasoning. To top the pasta we made a sunny side up egg and piece of bacon. Although these two dishes don’t sound all that complicated it sure seemed hectic, but then it was my first time to cook on the line. Chef Justin was great–very calm and positive, showing us how to plate, telling us the right time to start things. We all worked good as a team and it went very smoothly. No dishes were sent back! Chef Heather and Chef Nona gave us good feedback so all in all it was a great learning experience and exhausting.