Sep 5, 2009

oh hi, 6 weeks are gone. and i am 3/4 done with school, 100% done with my part time job that i quit my full time job for, and about halfway closer to figuring out what i'm going to be doing in 2010. i'm working part part time for a shared use commercial kitchen, which is awesome because i get to meet a slew of entrepreneurial food business people, get to meet local celebrities (of bravo top chef fame) and occasionally cook in a kitchen that can handle catering gigs better than my own. it's good. and the extra time off is good too, to peruse the green city market, and the daley plaza market and sleep in a little and cook and experiment and hang out with other like minded people. i want to do this forever.

i've been working on a couple of catering gigs, small to large, low pressure to high, low pay to maybe thinking that i can make a living off of this thing. my good friend joel and i coordinated and pulled of an delicious feast for 60 people in michigan a few weeks back - we had an amazing opportunity to feed some wonderful (and wealthy) folks at their summer home just north of new buffalo. they put all of their faith in two culinary students with little catering experience, and we wowed them. it rained, was colder than we planned, there were a few last minute surprises and we forgot a laundry list of to dos, but we pulled it off. joel and i recruited 3 other classmates and my wonderfully supportive husband to help us out. i'm lucky to be surrounded by such talented and helpful people who let me freak out every so often and do what i ask them to better than i ever expect them to. judy, david and nick were awesome, every one of them with something unique to bring to the team, and throughout the planning joel and i realized we are a great team and can probably take this thing and run with it. and craig is the best errand runner and pee soaked napkin holder EVER! (i will tell you that story in person if you ask me...)

the menu included a flatbread with goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes, a quartet of salsas (pineapple, cherry basil, tomatillo and heirloom tomato pico de gallo), bacon wrapped chorizo stuffed dates, grilled flank steak with chimichurri sauce and horseradish whipped cream, grilled shrimp with adobo, a grilled summer vegetable salad, grilled potato wedges with truffle aioli, and grilled pineapple with lemon honey yogurt and chocolate chili mini cupcakes with cinnamon ganache for dessert. (the theme was summer grilling, as you may have noticed.) everything turned out so well, i couldn't have asked for a better first large scale catering gig. cash in wallet included.

my classes are over for this quarter, and i'm sad. this was probably my favorite quarter in culinary school so far, with more pressure and more reward than i have experienced cooking in my life. my catering class made me shaky and nauseous then elated and calm after pulling a meal together with no recipes and limited ingredients in 2 short hours. my nutritional cooking class taught me some of what i already knew - that healthy cooking can be approachable and delicious - but also introduced me to a slew of ingredients that i knew little or nothing about what to do with (amaranth, millet, wheat berries). and how to make tofu. and seitan. my beverage and dining room class taught me how to be a waiter. which i am now certified for. so there's that. but really, this quarter has been more about growth for me, giving me more confidence than i've ever had in my cooking abilities and making me realize that i really honestly am doing the right thing. i'm happy. really really happy.

i'm on break until the end of september, which is wonderful. hubb and i are taking a vacation (half of it is work for him) to london for a week. i'm really looking forward to two things: walking around by myself while craig is working in a town i have vague memories of from a visit 15 years ago, and this place. i will do a proper write up about the ox heart i plan to eat there. xoxo

1 comment:

Sara said...

Pee-soaked napkin? I won't forget to ask when you get back!