Sunday, 17 January 2016

Final Exam = Staff Banquet

The time has come to show our stuff, so to speak.

Can the brigade actually produce when their reputation is on the line, to people who are their teachers, under a lot of pressure, with severe time limits and no chances of a second try?

YES !! Real triumph !! The brigade did an outstanding job on Friday.

Here was the concept:

And ... here is the execution!

We prepared for three days ... one student for the week had the job of Exec. Sous-Chef, and worked with me to plan the event, work on menu details, decide on brigade teams, come up with shopping lists, change what needed to be changed from day to day, and then, on the final day, run the 'pass', the point at which every plate has to be shown for a final check for every element, everything positioned correctly. This week was Willem's turn, and he did a great job. Thanks Willem!

Here ... just let a few pictures tell the story:
The salmon was run through the dishwasher (20 cycles for each large filet) by Tamara and Austin, the cheesecakes were made by Kenisha and Kat and Evan and Bryan in the new mini-muffin baking pans generously donated by Chef Susan Plummer, sheet after sheet of nori was used for practice by Adam and Xaviar to practice making maki, coulis was made, the smoked maple gastrique nearly defeated Jackson but he persevered and got it down pat with practice (and it was just delicious!). Tiramisu was made into sundaes and the scallops seemed to require an awful lot of student taste-testing (could it be the scallops, or the bacon?).

Finally ... Showtime!! Chef Ruby Trostin came in and brought a lovely donation of fresh flowers and worked with Salem to set beautiful
tables for the 24 or so staff who would be joining us. The final result of all their work ... each setting was lovely and ready to be a welcoming point for our guests.

Then, behind the scenes was a bit of frantic last-minute work ... catching up with the most recent bout of all those darn dishes!
Why didn't we think of cooking on Royal Chinet?

Ruby helped with plating and presentation design of the mini-cheesecake desserts ... here she is working with Austin designing the presentation.

At about 11h00 Chef opened "Chef Aller-Stead's Kinder, Gentler School of Hospitality and Table-Waiting".
The entire course was complete in 20 minutes. Pass on the left. Clear on the right. Keep your fingers low on glassware. Greet everyone with a smile. Never show your back to the room. Practice carrying more than one thing at a time out of the kitchen from the pass.
Everyone has a chance to try, and learn some basics of good-quality table service.

The bell rang ... our guests trickled down and Julia was our
Maitre d'hotel at the door, handing out menus with a smile and words of welcome, quietly directing people where to sit.

And away we went!

And, at the end, there was nothing left to do but clean up and put away.
What our guests din't eat the brigade did. There were absolutely NO leftovers. None. At. All.

Congratulations to all ... you pulled off a simply wonderful event for everyone, and proved, again, that the Monarch Park Culinary Arts & hospitality Program is worth its weight in gold. See the next blog-entry for a lovely letter from the community to support this!

And to wind up, here is our Exec. Sous-Chef for the week, Willem, just done in.
Willem, you did a great job.

Congratulations to all, and thanks, as ever and always, to our wonderful community supporters, Chef Ruby Trostin and Chef Susan Plummer. You two ladies just SO rock!

A special note of thanks this semester must go to Ms Jenn Martone, who has been working with us in the kitchen, and who has taken over 1000 photographs of the brigade and the techniques demonstrated and (hopefully) learnt. Jenn, thank you for all you've done!

Another special note of thanks needs to go out to my wonderful co-op student sous-chef, Tamara, who kept the shopping lists, supplied me with what I needed and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the place running smoothly.
Tamara, you have been an absolute gem ... thank you, thank you, thank you!

Let Kat's (Kristine's) wonderful smile close this semester's blog. Thanks for everything Kat ... you've been quiet and capable and skilled and simply wonderful.

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