Culinary School Here I Come (29) 2nd Semester Week 4, Latin Influence & More


Did I mention that we change our menu every week?  That’s crazy. Once you get to know your menu, it’s off to another country. We said goodbye to Asian and hello Central and South American cuisine…aka Latin.

Hello coffee bar!  Yippee, I was assigned to the bar on our first day of service. I loved it.  The bar is responsible to get water and iced tea set up for the servers to serve to guests.  We don’t serve drip coffee so it’s either a French press or Cappuccino, Latte or Mocha. If you haven’t tried French press coffee, you must. It’s way better than drip.

The beverage line

I finally got to use the Cimballi Bistro. Come to papa! She was pretty easy to operate. Just get the correct amount of grounds and tamp down, the machine does the rest. That was the first time I used a commercial steamer. Soooo much power. I’ll be looking forward to this station again.

I managed to escape service on Wednesday but I wasn’t so lucky on Friday. Oh crap, I gotta learn the menu. Ok, it’s Latin so it should be easy. Like I said earlier, I won’t spend much time on the food as I will be writing about it when I’m I am doing the kitchen part of the course. I’m writing about service here. Serving a 5+ course meal plus having to enter all courses into POS system and dealing with tables coming in and leaving can be a little stressful as it is. Enter tinfoilduck, because of a lack of vision in one eye, I have a depth perception problem. Water service, wine service and general service stresses me out because I just don’t know where the glass or table is unless I make contact. Not a good idea when pouring wine from a bottle to a glass. Not to mention balancing tall items on serving trays…..

…..like this 14″ tall Grilled Shrimp Martini. Get a few of these wobbly numbers on a serving tray with a somewhat unstable plantain spike and it caused me much grief for the day. It was pretty busy on top of all that stress so I can honestly say that I was still flustered from service till around 6:00pm or when the dark beer kicked in. Oh Lord, please don’t make me serve for another few days.

It was a pretty busy week. Lots of reading and assignments for my food science class. We had to log onto the Mayo Clinic website and located their Healthy Food Pyramid Tool and calculate our personal calorie needs based on age, weight, height, sex and activity level. We then had to come up with a days menu based on these numbers. First, my daily calorie intake requirement is 2400 calories. I never figured that out before. We then were told how many servings of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables are needed to fuel 2400 calories. It was very interesting because it turned out that I was eating pretty much for my required needs. It was also interesting to note that portion amounts are really small. For example, a serving of a banana is 1 small or 1/2 large…what? 1 serving of a pancake is 1 4″ baby. No way. A serving for me is 4!

No, she’s not a nurse. She’s Fannie Farmer. She is considered American culinary royalty. She studied at the Boston Cooking School then stayed on to become their principal. Anyway, she was obsessed with accurate measurements so she labored to standardize measurements removing terms like “a wineglass” of liquid or “a chunk of butter the size of an egg”. She was also a cookbook author. Sales of her books topped 4 million which were unheard of numbers in those days. I write about Fannie Farmer because I saw a program on PBS last night called “Fannies Last Supper”. Cooking show host, Christopher Kimball and his staff put on a 12 course dinner of original recipes from Fannie Farmers cookbooks. It took a year and a half to plan and execute. It was held in a Victorian home in Boston and every menu item was cooked on an old Victorian wood burning stove. It was pretty interesting. One recipe called for boiling a calf’s head to make the stock. Their gel course was made by boiling pig hooves to obtain the gelatin. It was interested to see cuisine of a different era prepared the way it was a hundred or so years ago.

French cuisine next week…Viva Le France!

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About tinfoilduck

I had this wacky idea to go to culinary school, while maintaining another full time career. I will be blogging about the program and how it affects me as I try to manage my daily life and how I try to keep everything together.
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