January 11, 2017
The bid day arrived and I strolled into the bakery at 7:15 as usual. The first year students would be filling the cream puffs with a lemon filling while Kayla and I worked on our pan rustic bread and preparing it for baking. We baked it with steam for the first ten minutes to set the dough and let it puff up a bit, then we turned the oven to convection at 400 degrees to help form a crusty exterior. It was strange when they came out and cooled completely; I cut into Kayla’s loaf and it was almost perfect inside with a nice crumb but looked a little like it needed to bake longer. Mine had too as well. Kayla’s bread had a wonderful flavor with a slightly chewy crust but mine had little flavor like it was underdeveloped in the gluten department and needed to bake at least three minutes more for a better set in the crumb and the crust. First time baking this bread and I was at least able to get it to the oven stage with little trouble, but baking this bread will be a regular occurrence so hopefully I can improve upon seeing how the dough develops.
Kayla cut the angel food cake for our banana pudding, which was literally heavenly like cubes chunked off of fluffy and sweet clouds. Everything was finished to assemble desserts so that all Kayla needed to do was put them together for the buffet the next day. While she advanced with the daily schedule, I helped Collin and Chef Gil pack up for the Governor’s Ball and get things loaded into the truck for the long trek down the freeway. Once the food was packed, the van pulled up and me, Ellie, Chef Shawnna, Chef Gil, Sal, Alex, Collin and Christina loaded up and set off with photo ID and a fun time in mind.
We were quite early when we arrived at the check point where policemen and state patrolmen were swarming the capital. The policeman who pulled up to the window asked us to put the van in park and stay inside the vehicle while police dogs sniffed the undercarriage looking for anything hostile. We then were escorted to the capital building by state patrolmen and were told to unload the food and place it in the kitchen area (which was basically a space for four schools with a two person hand washing sink with ice cold water and soap that looked very questionable…and an oven that had four racks with a small two basket fryer and a four door hot case to keep things warm). Once dropped off, the food stayed on rolling racks and we went off to get food; at this point everyone had enough of starving and needed nourishment.So we stopped at a small cafe and sandwich shop in the labor and industries building in Tumwater and got wraps and pizza bread. Yum! But I think we invaded the place because it looked like just two people manning the establishment with a barista that was just closing down when we walked in. Oh well, we were hungry and didn’t care!
Then came the time to set up which did not take any time at all as compared to other schools and institutes that came to the event. I guess some didn’t make it due to the recent weather warnings and snowy conditions of Snoqualmie Pass. We were told at the event that around 4:30 the premises would have to be emptied for policemen and dogs to come through and secure the area before the guests arrived at 6:30. Although it didn’t turn out to be 6:30 when guests arrived, more like 7:30 but I guess you cannot rush political figures too much when they are attending an important party like this. There were huge tents set up in a circle and cross sections in the middle so that the hike to our little kitchen wasn’t so bad, but all of us still ended up walking around six and a half miles that whole day.
Service started at 7:30 and it was slow at first because the entrance that all the guests came through ended with a long half moon of sparkling plastic champagne flutes and a giant ice sculpture that read Governor’s Inaugural Ball. Coffee vendors and wineries/breweries lined a couple sides of the tents as did many different schools with elaborately decorated tables with their own culinary flair. We ran out of our smoked salmon sliders with cole slaw on mini pretzel buns within 45 minutes of service, we then ran out of our duck breast with apple turnip ratatouille in 3 hours, followed by our lemon filled cream puffs and most of our petit fours. We had many people compliment the simple elegance of our table set up and menu. It ended up so that we had to consolidate many of our items because we were running out at a considerably fast rate.
Around 10:30-11:00 we slowly broke down the table and packed our stuff up on the rolling racks and waited for our chefs to drive the van and food truck to the parking lot. It was 20 degrees outside and it had snowed only a little in Olympia by the time we had arrived. All of us stood in the parking lot for 15 minutes waiting for the vehicles and that is when I took a picture of the capital building. While freezing, I look up and see the Capital building in all its glory and snapped the photo at least twenty times before giving up and piling into the arriving, warm van back to Mount Vernon. Burr! at 20 degrees in January.