Thursday, July 30, 2009

and another set of skills

I haven't had time to write in a while, though there hasn't been a shortage of exciting things happening. This week we started back at the Culinary and my third skills class, which is the first production kitchen we start in. While in the other two skills classes we learned the foundations of cooking and made 1-2 portions of each recipe, this is the first kitchen where we make around 40 portions of all the menu items in teams of 4-5 for lunch service at 11am. This means my day starts at 5 when I wake up and have tons of coffee, and am in the kitchen by 6:15 prepping for the day. 

We just finished up day 3, and I finally faced my fear today. While I am a good enough cook, I have never worked for a long period of time on the hot line of a kitchen. These are the stations that cook the dishes to order, typically having 5 or 6 saute pans cooking at once, making plates. The speed of this has always scared me and prevented me from trying it. I got thrown on the saute today and while the beginning was a little rough, once I got going it was such a rush. Before I knew it, I looked up and lunch service was over. For a long time, I sort of idolized the cooks on the saute station for their sheer speed and never thought I could do it. It is very stressful but rewarding at the end of service.

It was hard to get back into the school mindset after such a relaxing and fun break, but I think I am at full steam ahead. Though our chef takes the cooking and everything else quite seriously, he doesn't rule by intimidation and seems to enjoy teaching us. I can tell I will learn a lot from him. Some of my skills 2 classmates got split up into the other skills 3 class which doesn't have as much foot traffic as our kitchen (we usually sell out in 20-30 mins). And we lost 3 members on our team so we were down to 4 people doing the same amount as the groups with 7. I think both of these restrictions will only help me learn to be more efficient and be able to see more in each of the stations. 

Tomorrow we're making sauteed chicken supreme breasts with fresh pasta, veggies, and fines herbes sauce. It should be a good day. :-D

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