Thursday, 23 April 2015

Why Cook Tonight? for Tower Hill

You know, every once in a while you get that feeling. That feeling that says "I just don't want to make any effort tonight, but I'm hungry. Let's see ... pizza or Chinese?" And then you dial and dinner arrives on your doorstep.

Well ... WE can do better than that!

At Tower Hill, where Chef used to live, there is a wonderful Tenant's Association which hosts dinners in the lobby, called "Why Cook Tonight?" Tonight was the seventh of these dinners.

My students and I go once each semester and produce a simply fabulous dinner for all the tenants who choose to come and join in a large community feed and soiree in the lobby (or, if the weather is great, out by the pool).
Tonight we did this again at their request. Over the past years the event has become so successful that we're running out of space ... we can seat about 40 people in the lobby, and tonight it was just jammed!

It takes hard work and focus and a lot of planning. Tonight's menu featured:

* Caesar Salad with home made croutons and dressing, bacon bits and extra anchovies
* Breaded, pan-seared and baked Tilapia filets offered with a home-made orange and ginger reduction
* Broccoli in lemon steam with hand-crafted mornay sauce
* Two custom-made breads; Fougasse and Focaccia
* Meyer lemon semifreddo with raspberry coulis and fresh berry garnish

We ran out of everything!

Happy clients!

Outstanding service by the young chefs!

In the background, of course, there are hours of careful planning, sourcing of products, rigorous work, cruel time management, a strong logistics plan and a dictator to oversee it all. My co-op student, Chef Tyler, has been an absolute rock in all of this, and I know will continue to be. Many thanks, Chef! Two months of craziness to go.

Loading our food and gear was done in 10 minutes by all the chef students when they'd finished their afternoon snack (hoovered down while standing in their kitchen in Monarch Park after classes today). We had 15 minutes for all loading AND sharing a fast squat-and-gobble meal. Chef Tamara donated all her free time this afternoon and made the meal for the whole brigade. Thank you, Chef. Before this, at lunchtime, Chef Leslie donated all her time to making bread for the event. Well done, Chef!

I cannot count the number of compliments I received tonight on the quality of the food, its flavours and textures, and the decorum and professionalism of my chef students. I take my toque off to you, dear young chefs! You should be VERY proud and satisfied with how you carried off the event.
Your excellent manners, your strong personal skills, your professional focus and your simply delicious food ... everything combined to make for a grand evening!

Thank you particularly to my friends Joanne and Gordon, who opened their apartment and kitchen to my students to make them welcome and offer a place to work and do final preparations. A special nod of thanks as well to Nancy and Francine who look after the money and the Tower Hill logistics.

For anyone who wants recipes, please just add a comment at the bottom of this entry and I will be glad to oblige.

Buono Appetito!

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