Friday, March 27, 2009

Life continues on

Where to begin, where to begin?

Well, its the end of the third week of service and things are alright. I'm feelng slightly more confident about myself when it come to cooking so I suppose thats a good thing. Now all that needs to be done is to find a job. ha.

This week Devers and I were on the prep station. Like the name pretty much implies, we prepped stuff for other stations when needed. ALSO, we made an amuse bouche. We havn't been ambtious as people have been some weeks (I.E. the last two groups made a new one every day. We ran the same one Tuesday and Wednesday, and then switched last night), but we knocked out some good ones. Hell, anything that gets me to eat a cucumber has got to be good.

Last night I was on my own, Devers had a hot date, and it went great. Granted Devers had tasked a few other people in class to make sure I didn't totaly crash and burn, but I was pretty independent all night. And I make a pretty damn good amuse bouche. ha. It was also a pretty interesing night due to the absence of Chef Dunn (as well as Miss Heckwell, the Advanced Table Service instructor). I can't remember where either of them were, BUT to subsitute for them we had Chef Angus and Mr. Schultz, the morning Heritage instructors.

As many of my friends know, I totally look up to Chef Angus, ALOT. So it was a big thrill to have him teaching. Things went pretty well. The fun part of the night was when we got the inevitable quickfire. People were certain we wouldn't get one this week due to Chef Dunn being gone. But we got one. Angus did his a little different. With the help of the sous chefs he gathered enough tomatos for each person to have one, then gathered avacados for each person to get a half. Then measured out a half a cup of olive oil for everyone. Then he explained that that was all we'd get along with ONE citrus fruit and one type of herb. Only in the initial rush for the items all the oil got knocked off the table. So in the midst of cleaning it up, Angus seperated all the items and then section by section told us to get our avacado's and tomatos and herbs. And then someone randomly passed out the fruits. I got a lime. Overall I did okay. He liked my presntation, but I didn't win. Oh well. It happens.

With the exception of Advanced Food Production, I'm just ready for school to be done with for the semester. I'm seriously getting mentally worn out and kind of just need a breather. bleh.
Thats life. I've officially decided that once I graduate in Decemeber regardless of what I do, I'm seriously taking like a week long break, sleeping in every day, watching movies, reading, whatever.

Noteable Quotes:

"Chef Dunn said you were a great class. It really means alot if a second year advanced cooking lab says you're a great class."
~Chef Angus, shortly before the quickfire

"So much for being a great class"
~Amber after the oil got knocked over

"Wow, you can sure tell pasta was on sale?"
~me on my food cupboard

"Hey, want to see some chef porn?
~me to Jake on the article in Bon Appetit about the outdoor kitchens

"Good job tonight"
"I don't think we did well"
"Didn't you win?"
"No we got alot"
"oh yeah, oops wrong team. Sorry"
~My semi drunk ass to a member of the Bleeding Heartland rollergirls

"For what its worth, I never actually pay atention to the score. Especially when I'm scorekeeping multiple games"
~My semi legitimate defense at kinda being a dick

"This is good if I can make myself forget I'm eating a cucumber"
~Me on our amuse

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The new term

So like I've explained before, the culinary classes only run half the semester so shortly before Spring Break (or the Thursday before) I started Advanced Food Production. For those who don't know, Advanced Food Production runs the the kitchen for the Heritage (the on campus restaurant) at night. The Thurs and Fri before break, and then Mon through Weds this week we did prep, but tonight (Thurs) was our first day of service.

To rewind for a bit, the class is really intense. Along with cooking for the restaurant, Chef Dunn does try to teach us stuff when possible. Chef is a vegan, but he doesn't have any alterior motives of trying to make us see his view. If anything he does try to get us to understand where our food comes from and how it gets there. Like wise our homework is to visit a bunch of informational links and write about them, and also to post thoughts (and responses to other peoples thoughts) . So yeah, its pretty nice

So tonight was our first night of service and it went alright. For the most part I let Devers (Adam my station partner) take lead and I just helped him. Due to the lack of actual restaurant experience I'm still kind of shakey and not too sure of myself. But I'm sure to pick it up. We really only messed up once and that was due to the expeditor mis calling something.

Anyway, at the end of the class Chef called a demo. Now let me rewind for a bit. The first day of class he mentioned everynow and then (or at least once a week) he calls something called a quickfire. Long story short, in a quickfire he'll have you make an appetizer of your choice. Most times if he has alot extra of something he'll have you use that as the main part of it. So when he called the demo we all started to suspect something. When I made it back to the table I noticed he was fiddling with something so right then and there I took a step towards the walk in. Then he called it. Luckily for us all we had to do was make any appetizer and then only thing we were limited by was that we couldn't use anything already prepped.

My proximity to the cooler made me one of the first people in. After I cleared my head for a few seconds (and the rest of the class caught up with the 4 of us who made it in first, I grabbed mushrooms, garlic and red pepper. I left the walk in to avoid the mad rush and realized I had NO CLUE what I wanted to do. I then grabbed some yukon potatoes and decided to make roasted potatoes only I was worried about time. I minced the garlic and took some oil and let it sweat in a sauce pan. Then chopped up the peppers and cut the potatoes into chunks and threw it all in an oven. The rest of the time is a blur, but I do remember the Advanced Table Service class AND the dishwashers AND a few of the banquets class getting a kick of watching us all run around like chickens with our heads cut off. Overall mine turned out okay. It didn't win, but chef thought it worked to an extent. Crazyness.

So yeah, now I'm home. HAvn't really done much I think Zigs is off playing basketball who knows. I should take a shower. blah.

Random quotes heard lately:

"Olives are like sex, if you don't like them you havn't tried enough kinds"
~ Chef Dunn

"Pretty much I grabbed the first three things I could think of, ran out of the walk in, grabbed my knives and thought 'now what the fuck am I supposed to do?"
~me on the quickfire

"You're single right?"
"ah, you must enjoy it right here getting to check out all the girls"
~Kim and me on what I allegedly will enjoy about being on the front line

"So you never put two and two together as to why I spent so much of my free time in Banquets down by table 1 and 2. All the girls were down there"
~Me on Kim's realization

"Front line, can you hear me? Its me God!"
"Please have mercy on me for not giving any money to the homeles dude!
~Chef testing out the microphone and my response

"I'm fine with having no toliet paper if it means you don't get to take any 30 minute craps"
~Zigs on wether or not we need toilet paper

Spring Break

Hot Damn....thats all I can say about the past two weeks. Spring Break was a whole lot of nothing. I was too broke and too lazy to do much of anything other than stay home and watch TV all week. Surprinsingly as much as I like going out, it was kind of peaceful. G-spot went on a cruise so me and Zigs took it easy. And by "take it easy" I mean played lots of Rock Band. Zigs has been challenging me to move from Hard to Expert. So far I've only succeded in doing that with bass. But it works.

But on to what you all should really care trip to Petoskey. The drive up was pretty good. Nothin eventful, although there was just kind of a WTF feeling when US 131 stopped being a freeway. The past hour and a half or so was going back and forth betwee 60 mph and 35mph. Bleh

But the visits were fun. Friday afternoon I made it to Walloon Lake and met a little with Golan, the sous chef there. Mark (the executive chef who I had interveiwed with) was on a trip to Napa Valley so he set me up to meet with Golan. Golan just showed me around the country club and then explained what they do. A plus thing for me is that the two spots they're hiring for would be good for someone with minimal experience like me. Also both Golan and Mark are pretty good at accepting reccomendations from the cooks on possible items to make which ALSO works good for me since I seem to have 10 million ideas floating around my head. I guess it was left at that Mark is going to call me when he gets back and either we'll set up a meeting or talk on the phone.

Afterwards I went to my hotel, checked in and then explored town some. Kind of reminds me of Grand Haven with the "quaint little town on the lake feel."

The following morning I made my way to Bay Harbor Yacht Club to do a stage. That was actually pretty fun. This summer they're catering a wedding with an Indian (as in the country India) theme so they were working on recipes for that. So I helped with a few while they took care of lunch orders and then we tried some. That ended up being most the afternoon and then at the end I got the request that I knew would cement my fate. Dan asked me to make two different types of eggs of my choice. And then I shot myself in the foot by saying I only knew how to make scrambled and Hard boiled. To which the line cook standing next to me said "you shouldn't have said that." So Dan said, well make those and then try something else. I seemingly did okay, but I wasn't really happy with it.

Afterwards Dan pulled me in his office and we talked. Overall he said that he like my work habits of cleaning up after myself and that I worked well with others. But overall he didn't think I'd fit in there due to my lack of experience. He said that while I'd do okay that he wanted me to have an experience that I'd succeced and feel well about and that working up there for the summer probably wouldn't provide that. Mostly cause they go from being slow to getting their butts kicked in the cours of 3 days.

So yeah, it sucks. But I understood. Walloon Lake is still an option so when I talk to Mark I'll bring that up. The whole flip side to leaving GR for the summer is that if I stay, I can take summer classes and then be done by this December and explore my options then.

So yeah, that was spring break. My new lab started this week, and its intense, BUT I'll write about that later