Thursday, December 13, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine represents the finest work of the culinary talents who wrote the curriculum that has taught some of today’s greatest chefs to cook. From the basic principles of the professional French kitchen to preserving food, working with vegetables, poultry, shellfish, or meats, or dealing with pastry doughs, creams, braisings or marinades, The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine is a master course in cooking. Complete with insider tips and invaluable advice from The FCI, this will be an indispensable addition to the library of serious home cooks everywhere.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The magazine says “When the world's best chefs want something that defies the laws of physics, they come to one man: Dave Arnold, the DIY guru of high-tech cooking”. Click here to read more.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Over 200 people listened, learned, and tasted their way around what’s happening on the pastry scene today.
Artisanal Bread Baking - Cristobal Julio Guarchaj, Grandaisy Bakery
Dolci Italiano - Kir Rodriguez, The French Culinary Institute
Vegan, Wheat-free, Gluten-free, and More – Shimme, Whole Foods Market & Jorge Pineda, Candle Café
Silicone Molds for Cake Decorating – Ron Ben-Israel, Ron Ben-Israel Cakes
The Beauty of Brioche – Nancy Olson, Gramercy Tavern
Building with Gingerbread – Angel Elon & Wendy Israel, Baking By Design
Desserts with Japanese Flavors – Magdalena Wong, Kyotofu
Chocolate Desserts from Daniel – Dominique Ansel, Daniel
Buttercream Piping Techniques – Victoria Love, The Water Club
Cutting-edge Dessert Technology – David Arnold & Nils Noren, The French Culinary Institute
American Classics Revisited – Jaime Sudberg, The Stanton Social
Cake Boutique, Eric Bedoucha, Financier Pâtosserie
Friday, October 05, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
But in order to turn your idea into profits, you need a plan! You need advice from someone who knows what he's talking about! Enter Drew Koven, founder and CEO of Geoff & Drew's Incredible Cookies and the mastermind who put Jones Soda and Fresh Direct on the map. With his motto, "never confuse your hobby with what it takes to make a successful business," he'll get down to brass tacks and show you what it takes to succeed in the competitive world of food entrepreneurs. He'll cover everything from product development and launch to sustaining a profitable business over time.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
A list of some of the Employers that attended the event included:
Chef of the Year
David Chang, Classic Culinary Arts 2001
"David Chang is transforming the way America eats out. The 30-year-old chef with impeccable credentials (Café Boulud and Craft in New York City) has energized a new generation of diners - a group that yawns at white tablecloths but expects top-notch meals..." For more about David's award please click here.
Chef of Merit: Setting the Standard
Dan Barber, Classic Culinary Arts 1994
"Being a good chef isn't only about preparing a good plate of food", says NY Chef Dan Barber. "It's also about making connections between the impact those foods have on health, the environment, and the community..." For more about Dan's award please click here.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Grab your passport, come to SoHo and get ready to go on the Experience of a lifetime – The Italian Culinary Experience, at The Italian Culinary Academy.
Join us for an Italian lunch to:
- Learn about our programs
- Speak with our chefs
- Taste fantastic Italian recipes and see a class in action!
If Italian food is your passion, the Italian Culinary Academy has a program to match your level of Interest. Live and learn in New York and Italy with our Italian Culinary Experience program or simply raise your culinary skills with one of our classes for passionate amateurs.
Thursday, September 6th, 2007
Noon - 2pm
The Italian Culinary Academy
RSVP to: email@example.com
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
In case you missed it, that scrumptious blog Snack has spared no detail in its robust recap of the evening—from that first foray down the runway by Jacques Torres, to Lee Anne Wong’s last minute menage à trois, to how many clams one lucky person shelled out for sushi with Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Monday, July 16, 2007
The winners were Dominique Ansel, Executive Pastry Chef of Daniel in NYC (Best Dessert Menu, Spring Menu), Bill Corbett, Executive Pastry Chef at Anthos in NYC (Most Innovative Dessert, Sesame in Sesame), Megan Romano, Executive Pastry Chef at Aureole in Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (Best Dessert Revival, Early Summer Grape Float with Pistachio Baklava), Shane Tracey, Owner/Chocolatier at KeKau Chocolatier in Eugene, Oregon (Best Confection, 65% Sur del Lago L’Olivier and Kelli Bernard), and Kelli Bernard, Owner/Baker of Amai Tea & Bake House in NYC (Best Bakery Recipe, Green Tea Sweet).
The festivities were kicked off with a dessert-centric panel discussion on Classic Versus Avant-Garde with The FCI’s Dave Arnold and pastry chefs Gina DePalma (Babbo), Will Goldfarb (Room 4 Dessert), and Alex Stupak, (wd~50), and hosted by Food Arts founding editor and publisher Michael Batterberry.
Of course, no award ceremony is complete without a musical number by a seven-foot pastry chef/drag queen—and the Golden Scoops were no exception, with self-proclaimed “Queen of the Dessert” Chocolatina (aka Martin Howard, executive pastry chef at Brasserie 8) doing the honors.
While the awards are only three years old (they were founded in 2004 with the support of The FCI and Food Arts), it’s obvious that they’ve earned their street cred—judging by those who entered, those in attendance, and by the 24-carat coverage they received in New York Magazine. Check it out here.
Friday, July 13, 2007
June 1-8, 2007
I recently completed arguably the most interesting journey I ever embarked upon. I spent the first week of June in New Orleans, as a volunteer for CulinaryCorps, a non-profit organization, founded by FCI alumna Christine Carroll, committed to rebuilding New Orleans and its food culture, through cooking and community-related volunteer work.
Although I had spoken with Christine numerous times about the organization, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I signed up for CulinaryCorp’s second of many week-long trips to The Big Easy. It turns out that no matter how well I may have prepared myself, I was in for a surprise. This wound up being one of, if not the most, challenging, emotional, exhausting but most rewarding experiences I have ever had (family experiences aside, of course).
Our group of 14 culinary professionals arrived Friday afternoon and headed to our residence for the week – The House of Studies, which is one of Xavier University’s many under-populated dorms (Xavier’s student population was drastically reduced
after Hurricane Katrina and they have been donating dorm space to volunteer groups from around the country ever since). For most of us, dorm life was long since forgotten. The check-in process gave us our first glimpse of the “X” that we would become very familiar with throughout our trip, the image of which will remain forever embossed on my brain.
The “X” I refer to is spray painted on every house and every building in any area affected by the storm (nobody in Louisiana refers to Katrina or Hurricane Katrina – it’s just “the storm”). The top of the X indicates the date that the home or building was inspected by relief workers; the left indicated the origin of the relief crew (there were crews from many states, Canada and others); the right indicated any hazards within the building (toxic flood water [TFW], loose wiring, etc.); the bottom counted the number of dead bodies found inside, human or animal. We were shocked by the first X we saw and the explanation received. It quickly became commonplace – we would see X’s all week – many, but definitely not all, with zeros on the bottom.
Once checked-in and unpacked, we gathered in the dorm’s common room and got to know each other a little. The mood was upbeat and cheerful. We were joined by Ashley Graham, the key New Orleans representative for Share our Strength. Ashley become involved in the relief effort almost immediately following the storm and after roughly 20 trips in the first year thereafter relocated from DC to New Orleans. Ashley was about to open our eyes to the real reason why we had made this journey. We loaded into our rental vans and headed out for the lower ninth ward, one of the most significantly impacted areas in the city.
Along the way, we made a quick pit stop at Dookie Chase, Leah Chase’s famous ninth ward restaurant that has served an endless list of celebrities, athletes and politicians since she took over in the early fifties. Mrs. Chase was a few weeks from reopening her restaurant and she had plenty of stories for us. Stories about the storm, about segregation, about “regulars” like Ed Bradley, about beating the odds, and most importantly about the city she loved and its people. She’s a role model if I’ve ever met one and an inspiration to female, African American, and all other chefs alike.
I couldn’t help but notice the spray paint on the side of the housing complex across the street from Dookie Chase that said “dog food drop here.” With no stores or restaurants open, the people and pets of much of New Orleans were (and in some areas still are) reliant on the support of relief workers and fellow Americans. Nowhere was that more apparent than deep in the lower ninth ward, just over the river, ever so close to the levees.
Our “tour” through these neighborhoods was shocking. It seemed that for every home that was still standing (albeit barely) there were 20 vacant lots. Vacant because the houses that once inhabited them had been swept away and/or permanently abandoned and recently demolished. Many of the neighborhood streets remain impassable and the two schools we saw were without windows, teachers or students. There was little
glimmer of hope in these neighborhoods – arguably 10 for-sale signs for every home that had any indication of rebuilding. That indication was most often in the form of spray paint on the house to the affect of “DO NOT DEMOLISH – WILL REBUILD”.
Our “tour” ended with some rib-sticking poboys and beer at Jazzy PoBoys, a local favorite in the lower ninth, struggling to maintain enough business to stay alive. Poboys of roast beef debris, sausage, oysters and shrimp reminded us that our mission was to be engaged in the rebuilding and fortification of New Orleans’ vital food culture. And so our work began, bright and early Saturday morning.
Our first project was to cook brunch for roughly sixty residents at Holy Angels Convent, in the upper ninth ward. Holy Angels had recently started hosting a farmer’s market on their property every Saturday and our coinciding brunch would promote awareness and bring in some customers. The kitchen and seating area had been damaged by the storm and had not been used since. Although none of the kitchen appliances were operational, we were armed with butane burners, electric skillets, and coolers. Brunch was a smashing success – we served 125 residents, stretching the food to make it seem like we expected that many all along. The farmers had more customers than ever and Holy Angels has decided that this should become a monthly event, executed by different groups. The setup at Holy Angels was make-shift, at best, but nothing would compare to where we would spend Sunday and Monday: The Goin’ Home Café in the lower ninth.
The Goin’ Home Café was a community center run by Emergency Communities that provides three meals a day, laundry, internet, and children’s programs to locals and volunteers – all free of charge. The EC volunteers were delighted by our arrival as it meant two things for them: a couple days off (which were the first for many of the volunteers who had been there for months), and the promise of really good food. I whole-heartedly salute the EC volunteers for their efforts and dedication, but I was shocked to see the conditions in which they operated. The kitchen and dish pit were built outdoors (as was the only “shower”) and had plywood roofs and walls. Refrigeration and dry storage consisted of two separate semi trailers. The refrigerator/freezer trailer was broken for most our two-day stay and clearly had many issues prior to our arrival. Under ordinary conditions, our task would have been simple – cook breakfast lunch and dinner for roughly 300 people at each meal. We accomplished our task, but spent more time cleaning than cooking and threw away far more food than what we cooked and served.
We served hundreds of people at each meal – and served them well. They loved the food and didn’t want to see us “chefs” leave. But this is not the memory I have of this place. I remember many things before I remember the meals: the rotten chicken we threw away from the broken freezer (roughly 2000 lbs. of it), the dish pit that consumed me, the swarms of flies – the overall disaster that was this food service operation. The volunteers are not chefs – they are saints, in every way, but they are not chefs. They do not have food sanitation certifications or culinary school degrees. They do what they can with the donations they receive (huge donations that quickly perish when the refrigeration fails), but they too are in need of help. The Goin’ Home Café was a perfect example of why food rescue programs often fail, even though Emergency Communities is typically seen as a success.
My deepest memory of this entire trip was represented most by a single element during our two days at Goin’ Home Café: the people. Although very few have returned, those that have are incredible people – strong and determined. I think about Darrin, a local resident who helps out at Goin’ Home Café (he volunteered there when it was a community center before the storm) and is currently rebuilding a house for a friend. He lives in a FEMA trailer with his uncle and hopes to rebuild his own apartment. Darrin took us for a tour of his neighborhood. He showed us the house he was rebuilding and the second floor apartment where he used to live. The water line was up to the top of the steps to the second floor – for four days he looked out his window and watched bodies and other debris float by until he was rescued by a boat. Darrin didn’t ask for help; he wasn’t looking for sympathy. He had a job to do and was kind enough to take time away from it to show us around and tell us his story. We looked, listened, and will never forget. As Chef Frank Brigtsen told us later in the trip, "More than government support, more than money, we need Americans to see us and meet us and hear our story."
We left the Goin’ Home Café Monday night with three full days ahead of us. None could compare to what we had just accomplished, but there was still rewarding work to be done. We spent Tuesday first at the Crescent City Farmers Market (the biggest and most populated farmers market in the city) before offering our services at to the New Orleans branch of Edible Schoolyard (originally created by Alice Waters in Berkeley, CA).
Wednesday was our “day off” so off to Mississippi we went to check out an oyster packing facility (apparently one of, if not the largest in the US). Oysters were being imported from other states, due to the devastating impact the storm had on the Mississippi oyster industry. After a brief tour of the packing facility, we boarded an oyster boat operated by the Mississippi Department of Marine Services, responsible for post-Katrina oyster recovery. The prognosis is good, as many new oysters have started to develop on the millions of empty shells spread upon the bottom of the ocean by the recovery group, but it will be many years before the level of growth even compares to what it was prior to the storm.
Our final working day was Thursday and we spent it back in New Orleans at Café Reconcile. Café Reconcile teaches at-risk teens cooking and front-of-house skills in a working restaurant environment. The restaurant is incredibly popular for the local lunch crowd and the students run the show – in the kitchen and in the dining room. We were to execute a very busy lunch service from start to finish, including all prep, with help from the students. The small handful of students gave 14 culinary professionals a lesson in real down-home cooking. Then, after a busy lunch rush and plenty of scrambling on our part, it was our turn to teach them. The topics of the day were job searching skills and a tasting and discussion of gourmet ingredients that the students were not likely to be familiar with. Caviar, truffles, fois gras, and different salts seemed about as foreign to these students as their lives were to anyone in our group. We may not have been well received by all of the students, but I think we connected with some, and that was worth our efforts.
Throughout the trip we also managed to eat some wonderful meals and snacks at the following places: the aforementioned Jazzy PoBoys, Bayona, Café du Monde, crawfish boils with Poppy Tooker at The House on Bayou Road and a late night one at Maple Leaf Tavern, Cochon, a special dinner and demo by Chef Frank Brigtsen at Savvy Gourmet, Kimball’s Fresh Seafood (in Mississippi), Creole Creamery, Crescent City Farmers Market, the Hobnobber, and the test kitchen at Emeril’s Homebase. Our farewell dinner was at La Provence in Lacombe, Louisiana – just across the largest bridge over a body of water (Lake Pontchartrain) in the world (24 miles). La Provence has a small working farm (a la Blue Hill at Stone Barns) and wonderful history. We finished the night watching some live music (Lynn Drury – available on iTunes) at a tiny bar called the Apple Barrel on Frenchman Street, just outside The French Quarter. Two things brought me to New Orleans many times before this trip: the food and the music. They are still alive and hoping you will come down for a sample…
For more information on how you can help, contact Erik Murnighan or visit www.culinarycorps.org.
Monday, May 21, 2007
You can’t buy love, but on June 11, 2007, you can buy a date with a famous chef. Friends of The French Culinary Institute, a non-profit organization that raises money for culinary scholarships, will auction off exclusive dates with some of New York City’s hottest celebrity chefs and food personalities. Nearly 200 guests will gather to witness the first-ever event and to bid on an evening with legends like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jean-Georges pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini, Momofuku chef/owner and FCI alum David Chang, The FCI’s Alain Sailhac, André Soltner, Jacques Torres, Cesare Casella and many more. The money raised at the event will go directly to culinary scholarships and will help dozens of future chefs afford an invaluable education at The French Culinary Institute.
Some of the one-time-only dates on the auction block:
Train with Wylie Dufresne of wd~50 in his kitchen, then join him for dinner at his favorite late-night hang-out, Momofuku Ssäm Bar.
Have dinner with Jean-Georges Vongerichten at his favorite New York City sushi restaurant.
Learn to master your favorite dessert with Melissa Murphy, owner of Sweet Melissa Patisserie, and appear on an episode of her podcast “Simply Baked with Sweet Melissa.” Then join Melissa for lunch at the patisserie.
Get a private, behind-the-scenes tour of Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Haven followed by a hands-on chocolate class.
Among the other chefs participating in “Date Night” are Lee Anne Wong of Bravo’s Top Chef; Jean Francois Bruel of Daniel; Aaron Sanchez of Centrico and Paladar; Julian Alonzo of Brasserie 8½ and Dan Barber of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
“Date Night” will take place Monday, June 11, 2007, at Cipriani 23rd Street, 200 Fifth Avenue. Cocktails and bites will be served from 7 to 11 p.m. The auction will begin around 7:30pm.
Tickets are $250 and can be purchased by calling (646) 254-7521 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t miss it!
Also, check out some other blogs discussing our event!
Friday, April 20, 2007
Midway through Culinary Techniques, I’ve already learned an enormous amount about how to get things done smartly in the kitchen. I went into the class thinking I could cook reasonably well—I cook at home every night, and I’ve always done a good job at making a spontaneous meal out of what’s around—but the class has opened my eyes to dozens of new ways of handling food.
Culinary Techniques starts with sanitation, organization, and knife work. I thought that the organization and sanitation portions would be of little interest to the home cook, but I was wrong. Learning to wash, peel, trim, and organize vegetables and meat properly makes cooking in a small, New York City kitchen easier, neater, and safer. I knew I needed help with my knife work—is there any non-professional who is truly confident in his cutting abilities? And while I won’t be doing much taillage or tournage at home, the hours we’ve spent on them in class have taught me the right way to hold and move a knife safely. There’s no sense in owning fancy knives if you can’t really use them.
I’ve learned numerous important lessons in the last six weeks that have improved my cooking at home. For one, I’ve learned about temperature: of the food before and after it’s cooked, of the pan before the food goes in it, of the inside of meat. A thorough understanding of temperature keeps food from sticking, cold butter from melting, eggs from scrambling, and sauces from breaking. For another, we’ve learned about liquid: when to use water, when to use stock, when to deglaze and why, and when and how to flambé. We’ve also received extensive instruction on different cooking utensils, and on how the shape and size of a pan make a huge difference in the way food cooks in it.
We spent an eye-opening evening on eggs, and another on potatoes. My favorite lesson so far, though, has been on tart crusts. What could be better than a flaky, all-butter crust? I’m turning out onion tarts every week at home now, making the crust right on my kitchen counter, with a fork and a scraper, as we learned to do in class. The sweet crust for a dessert tart is even easier, and an apple tart with Greenmarket apples and hand-whipped cream makes a stunning end to a home-cooked meal.
Culinary Techniques has lived up to its name. In almost every class, the chef-instructor stops the work at some point to remind us that we’re learning a particular technique that can be applied in other preparations. When we made blanquette de veau, for example, Chef Tom described how the same technique could be used with other meats. He has taught us classic methods of cooking vegetables, from sautéing and glazing to boiling and roasting, and we’ve learned to make them work for any vegetable.
The running theme of the class, and possibly the heart of French cooking, is that every ingredient is important, and each element of a dish must be considered separately. When I cook a dish at home with different vegetables in it, I usually throw them in the same pan over the course of cooking, overcooking some and undercooking others. In class, we are learning to cook and season everything separately before reheating and assembling at the end. The result is fully realized dishes with married but distinct flavors, such as in the navarin printanier d’agneau, a beautiful stew of lamb and spring vegetables that we learned on Monday night. Being able to taste everything that you’ve worked to prepare is worth dirtying a few extra dishes.
In the final nine lessons, we’ll learn dishes as varied as consommé, pot-au-feu, fish mousseline, and chocolate soufflé. I look forward to using the techniques we’ve already learned, and to adding new ones to my expanding repertoire.
Friday, February 23, 2007
The event begins with a VIP tasting from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, tickets priced at $185. This exclusive session offers a much smaller audience a special selection of super premium Reserve and Estate wines. The larger Grand Tasting takes place from 7:00 to 10:00 PM, with tickets at $95. Also included in this event is a Silent Auction, with donations from the participating wineries and restaurants, to benefit Second Harvest. For both tastings, space is limited; tickets are sold first-come, first-served. For information or to purchase tickets: www.wineenthusiast.com/TOT07 or call 800-847-5949.
There is a 10% discount for members of The French Culinary Institute.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
7:30am pick up from The FCI. My classmate, Steve, and I are picked up in a black Mercedes by Tyler Florence's Culinary Director, Anthony Hoy Fong. 33ish Chinese, New Zealand-born, moved to NYC 18 months ago and has been working with Tyler for 8 months. He is a FCI grad and says he got the job by doing just as we are - volunteering. He did great, Tyler kept asking him to help out and eventually offered him a full-time position. Yup, that's the plan!
The ride up to the venue is about an hour and a half, which turns into two hours when our driver gets lost, but no matter, as it gives me more time to pick Anthony's brain. He works very closely with Tyler, arranging logistics whenever food is involved as well as prepping and cooking when need be. He also gets to travel around with Tyler - cooking events, speaking events, Food Network filmings, etc. Basically Tyler's "go-to" guy.
Arrive at Citigroup's estate and we're introduced to all the staff as "Tyler's chefs". Nice. We feel like celebrities as we walk around, heads peering over to get a look at us. A tour of the grounds (gorgeous country club) and the kitchen (one for prep, the other for service, HUGE). Anthony tells us we're being spoiled for our first gig. He explains that most of the time he's in a tiny kitchen where he's expected to plate for a hundred and cut vegetables on a cardboard box.
They give us a room to change into our chef's whites and we head to the prep kitchen. We meet the Citigroup chefs who will be helping us out - four 50ish men, one of which worked Tuesday's UN General Assembly dinner with President Bush (seared foie gras and filet mignon). We're told that tonight's guests include Citigroup's top worldwide customers, Citigroup's CEOs, and guest speaker Al Gore. Wow.
Prep work consists of stuffing game hen, then four hours of peeling and splitting beets. Yeah, that was the low part of the day. And I used to like beets...We wrap up the prep work and move from the prep kitchen to the service kitchen which is adjacent to the dining room. In addition to the four Citigroup chefs and ourselves, there are four other workers ready to help out. We unpack and set up for service. I'm engrossed in inspecting celery leaves when Tyler Florence walks into the kitchen. Jeans, a blue stripped button down shirt, a dark blue blazer. He speaks with the Citigroup people, checks out the venue, chats with Anthony, checks out the food. Then he puts on his chef's whites and jumps right into the mix.
My first assignment, given by Tyler himself, was to roast the walnuts, season and rough chop them. I dump them on a sheet pan and throw them in the oven, checking every so often. When I think they're done, I take one out and hand it to Tyler. He says they're perfect and I pull them out. The whole time I'm calling him "Chef Tyler" or "Chef" as is usual in a kitchen, but by the end of the night, everyone was just calling him "Tyler" and he didn't seem to mind. I start rough chopping and ask Tyler how fine he wants it. He comes around, motions for my knife and starts chopping. As he's showing me the consistency he wants, he tells me a story when he worked in a kitchen and had "to hand chop 10 pounds of nuts". He says he asked the chef if he could use the food processor, and explained that you can't really get the right chunks of nuts using a machine. He hands me my knife back and I get to work. The whole time we're working there are two cameramen following Tyler around the kitchen, snapping pictures - they even took one of Tyler chatting with me about the walnuts! Oh, and of course from time to time I take out my own camera and snap a pic of Tyler working.
My second assignment - polenta. As I'm working on the nuts, I'm sharing the table with Tyler as he makes polenta. We're discussing the difference between raw and instant polenta mix (he used instant) and he's whisking a big stock pot of polenta. When he's finished, he hands me a spoonful to taste. Nice. He pulls it off the heat and tells me that when I'm done with the nuts to arrange the polenta for service in three hotel pans and cover them with buttered parchment paper. Look at me, I'm Tyler's "go-to" gal! My third assignment - the assembly line. I finish with the polenta and the kitchen kicks into high gear. Dinner service is minutes away and everything needs to be done and ready to go. Tyler calls out my name and tells me he wants me organize the assembly line. Working with the kitchen staff, I make sure the tables are clean and set up properly, ensure hot plates are hot, cold plates are cold and that we have more than enough for service. I even catch that the salad plates were in the warmer and had to be moved quickly to the cooler. 8:30 hits and we're into dinner service.
My first time on the assembly line. We're arranged in two lines down both sides of a long table. The food is in the center in the order it needs to be plated. Plate and pass it down. All goes pretty smoothly and Tyler's at the end of the table making last minute touches and garnishes. He finishes off every single plate before it goes out the door. First I'm on apples, then beets (yuck!), then hen and sauce. In the middle of the hen service, Tyler calls me from the end of the table and tells me to start working on the strawberry sandwiches for dessert.My final assignment - strawberry sandwiches. I jump off the line and check on the grill - it's filthy. I fail at trying to clean it up myself and call for one of the dishwashers to help me out. Thankfully, they all like me, probably because I was the only girl in the whole kitchen. It takes awhile for it to get cleaned up and I can see Tyler eyeing me from the assembly line as the hens go out the door. I start setting up the butter and sheet pans with some hesitation and Tyler calls over to me "Cynthia, you better get started on those or else dessert service is going to start and we won't have any sandwiches." I freak out a little - but internally - and jump on the task. I'm working this grill like crazy, pushing out 20 sandwiches every five minutes. By the time dessert service is up I'm on my last batch of 20 and by the end I make 100 sandwiches - all by myself! Red bull has nothing on natural adrenaline. Tyler would come over once in a while and check on my progress. I let him know things are under control and he says, "Well, that's why I put my top chef on it!" Ha! The desserts go out and dinner service is over. Tyler makes some finishing remarks to the guests in the dining room and invites the kitchen staff out to be recognized. He introduces Steve and myself as The FCI student volunteers. Cameras flash, everything is a blur and we head back into the kitchen.
Of course I make sure to get a picture with Tyler and I have him sign the recipe list we were given. He promises us a great letter of recommendation and a copy of his newest cookbook.The end of the night, we pack up and head out of the kitchen. Tyler, Anthony, Steve and myself walk back to the prep kitchen to gather our things - replaying the evening and chatting and laughing like old friends. We wait in the parking lot together for our cars and discuss random things. Tyler has a bit of a cold and he tells us how hard it is trying to get well while working and on the road. He even visited a doctor that specialize in voice therapy to try and fix his throat. Steve and I talked about The FCI and how we're on stations now. I explain that I'm doing skate wing next class and Tyler says, "Oh yea, they have those bones that stick out." Hehe. The cars come and Tyler and Anthony jump into the first one. Tyler gives me a peck on the cheek and thanks me and Steve many times over for helping him out. He says he always has events he needs help with and will keep us in mind. Goodbyes and thanks to Anthony as well and I yell out to make sure he keeps in touch. Steve and I jump into the second car and talk the whole way back about our day working side by side with Tyler Florence. Hopefully, the first of many...