Thursday, December 1, 2011

Speed-cooking in 8 hours

A new ingredient that caught my eye.
Another interesting day spent in the kitchen today on what feels like speed-cooking lessons. Every half an hour or so, the chef calls out, Come over, everybody! and gives a quick demo on a particular dish on the menu. We are all assigned our tasting spoons that we stuff into our apron pockets and whip it up every now and then to taste the different foods. We tried tomato paste, bolognaise, minestrone, baked seafood rice, burger patty, calamari, mushroom soup, and many more. The pace is hectic, everyone seems to be in everyone's way, and tension is high. All that without customers yet! 

A completely different environment from the culinary school kitchen which now seems so unreal. It was comfortable, peaceful and quiet back there, and there was always room and time for good photography. Now, either I don't have the time, the energy, the space, or my hands are full. Still, I managed a few shots with the iPhone today to share with you. Apologies for bad photography.

Pilaf rice - sautée garlic with butter, add bay leaves, then onions, then small diced celery and carrots,
add rice grains and sauté further, then pop into the combi oven to steam. I think! It was all too quick and rushed and I had to get back to my own station to do my stuff. Tasted rather buttery to me.
Popped my head in the pastry department every now and then.
Wish I could make these. Must try to get my hands on the recipe!
Someone got injured...
.. And so did I again today.
At 11am, we were told to stop all work as the directors of the company were going to give a speech. I thought, What fun to hear "management speak" from this side of the fence now. I sat down together with my chefs and 20 questions in my head.  It opened with a "We understand your pains" empathy line, followed quickly by "Now, understand ours" and ended clumsily with "Beware of consequences if you don't behave." It lasted 12 minutes, about the time I take to small-dice a few carrots. And we strolled back to the kitchen. No Q&A? 

I was curious to know what my fellow crew members thought and stayed tuned to any comments from them. You know, I didn't hear one single person talk about the meeting. It did not seem to strike any chord with them, nothing positive, negative, just nothing. Could that be worse than getting negative comments? Before the day ended, I too had completely forgotten all about the meeting. Perhaps that is totally acceptable, even expected, as a cook.

Click here to see more ishots of the restaurant.

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