Advanced Cooking – Day 20

October 24, 2016

I had been somewhat dreading Monday since Friday of last week hit…just because I knew that the prep list was going to be never-ending and that we had at least 22 people reserved at noon for the cafe. But fear not, I told myself, Chef Gil had come into the kitchen on Sunday and mise en placed quite a few recipes so that we could just jump in Monday morning. God bless him!

Today was the first day of the Latin American menu, and we have got some pretty tasty stuff going on including Duck Empanadas, Mango Jicama salad, Mole Poblano, Red Snapper, Goat Curry and some others. I am still learning the different names of the dishes, when it comes to language other than English I get a little lost sometimes. We started off by cooking three things at once: chicken stock for the Pozole, ground duck for the Empanadas, and preserved artichoke in olive oil, bay leaf and peppercorns with vinegar.

While that was cooking, we prepped for the other dishes. I fabricated about 8 or 9 red snappers which included scaling, decapitating, and deboning the fish. It took a while because I didn’t want to get poked in the finger again and have it swell up and I didn’t want to rip the flesh up so much; white fish is not as “hardy” when it comes to the boning process as say salmon. It took us the rest of the morning to prep for the 22 people that would be having lunch today, and I honestly did not think we were going to make it. But the smart thing that Chef Gil did was to completely reserve the cafe for the two big parties, because we would run out of food otherwise and that would be bad if people still sat down and there was no food to cook.

Clean up took forever just because I was trying to figure out how to categorize the things that we had cooked today, eventually I just gave up and wrapped whatever. I kept the salad stuff together because that makes sense, I put the sauces and meats on a tray with some garnishes, the fried plantain chips that we made earlier stayed on the counter with a paper towel. It didn’t help that Sal had to leave early for work, but what can you do when duty calls? *sigh*. Overall, today went smoother than I expected and I stressed over nothing. I hope tomorrow will be a little more organized and less hectic so we have time to really learn the dishes and how to make and plate them.

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