It has been 8 weeks, maybe 9 since I’ve been in the back of the house and the time has finally come for the switch. No more “Would you like the Hoisin Lamb or the Miso Sake Marinated Butterfish? Is everything okay? Can I get you some coffee?” This week, my task was to produce the meat entree. I will get into that a bit later but here are a few highlights of the week.
First, the kitchen upstairs is pretty amazing. I’ve been waiting for months to get behind the wheel. There are different service areas for different courses. The kitchen is open to the dining room so we have to be on our best behavior. This wonderful kitchen space is only used for service. There is a whole other kitchen in back for prepping. I’m gonna miss all this stainless steel when I’ve completed the program.
Monday was the day that stations were assigned. I kept waiting to draw a card to let me know which station I’d be assigned to. Secretly I wanted to make either one of the entrees but of course I’d do whatever…maybe not dishpit! When my turn came, the only available station was the meat entree. Woohoo. I would be sharing that with Kaui.
The meat entree was a Hoisin-Honey Glazed Lamb Porterhouse Chop with an Asian Risotto and Stir-Fried Asparagus with Miso Butter. Prep work for us was to get the marinade ready, make the Asian broth for the risotto and partially cook 2 hotel pans worth of risotto. So off we went. Kaui got the marinade ready and I got the stock going. I used basic chicken stock and spiked it with ginger, garlic, green onion, mushroom scraps, whole cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, fennel and coriander seeds. What an aromatic stock it became!
Once the stock was done, it was time to get the risotto going. Chef Kyle helped us make 2 half gallon batches, one for Wednesday service and one for Friday. It was cool to see how risotto can be pre-cooked and held and it only takes a few minutes on service day to prepare.
Carrie preparing her Amuse Bouche, Tartare of Hamachi, which is Yellow Tail Tuna and Kula Cucumbers, Avocado, Red Onion on a Won Ton Crisp and topped with Wasabi Foam.
Myrah is getting her pineapple wheels grilled for her Grilled Maui Gold Pineapple and Red Thai Curry Soba Salad.
Byong is getting his baby bok choy prepped for his Oyster Sauce Braised Baby Bok Choy which is a component on his Miso Sake Broiled Black Cod entree.
So when Wednesday came around, Kaui and I decided that he would grill the lamb on Wednesday and I would stir fry the veggies and finish the risotto. We would switch stations for Friday service. With that in mind, we were on our way to our first day of service at Lei’s Family Class Act.
The first task for us was to get the sous vide contraption set up. Since the chops were pretty thick, it was decided that the chops should be sous vide to 130 degrees and then finished on the grill until medium rare. Sous vide (if you don’t know) is a process by which something is cooked in a pressurized bag, in a warm water bath to a predetermined temperature. It’s like a food jacuzzi. This method insures perfect cooking every time. It can sit for hours or days in the water bath and will not get any hotter than the predetermined temperature.
Mies en place for my vegetable stir fry and risotto. I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to getting my station together. I’m also a bit of a towel hoarder but I need to have my area around me clean or that throws me off…even before the day starts.
Our final creation, Hoisin-Honey Glazed Lamb Porterhouse Chop with Asian Risotto and Stir-fried Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes.
The day worked out pretty well. We started service a little later so it clogged us up a bit. Fortunately we didn’t have too many large parties. I was functioning on 1 burner for risotto and 1 burner for vegetables. I had to plan how many orders of each I would make because once I committed, I would be stuck with that amount. After I got behind by a few orders, I started to pre-make orders that I was anticipating. The plate up was harder than making the dish. Each piece of asparagus and tomato had to be placed on the rice individually so that was time consuming. After all was said and done, the lamb station did a good job.
I was looking forward to Friday service because I knew that grilling the lamb wasn’t as complicated and the risotto and veggie station. We just needed to marinate more lamb and prep some vegetables and we were ready to go. After a few grill flare ups, I determined that the best place to locate the chops on the grill were the outer edges. The grill grates were heated by the flames but there was no direct flame below it. The day went pretty well for me. We had more larger parties and more covers so it was pretty busy. Kaui got behind a little bit but Christian or I stepped in. When I wasn’t at my grill, Dianna watched to see that my chops wouldn’t burn. All in all, it was a great first week of service. We all chipped in to help each other out.Since I haven’t had any baking class, I don’t feel guilty making a cake from a box mix. I had a request to make a Pop Tart Cake, so here it is. French Vanilla cake with Blueberry and Strawberry Pop Tarts and a Milk Chocolate Frosting.
I can honestly say that the last time I was so excited about Spring Break, was in 1979. So with that said, I will be laying low this week, resting and relaxing in anticipation of our Latin Influence upcoming week.