Top Three Things I Learned This Week
This week marked the end of my time in the kitchen classroom at San Francisco Cooking School, which is both exhilarating and sad. Exhilarating because I finished this part of my new culinary journey, sad because it’s the end of our excellent guidance and instruction by Chefs Catherine and Kirsten, as well as the many guest chefs who generously shared their knowledge and experience with us. And what a week it was– Restaurant Week! Actually only two days, but it was a full week (and then some) preparing for serving our invited friends and family. Here’s my final Top 3:
- Being a Server is Really Hard- over the two days of restaurant week, we split into two groups and worked as servers one day, and worked in the kitchen cooking and plating the other. I found being a server much more difficult and exhausting (so much to keep track of, so much walking!). But we do look pretty stylish in all black (that’s me on the far right).
2. It’s Great Seeing One’s Creations on the Plate– Not only did we select the items on the menu through a quasi-democratic process, some of them were our own recipes or variations on recipes. I had a hand in creating the recipes for the tepache (Mexican spiced pineapple and piloncillo drink) and the umeboshi dressing in the gravlax dish in the top picture, the caraway mayonnaise dip served with the kraut-tots below, the carrot soup with Indian spiced mint oil in the second picture, and the jalapeño applesauce served with the pork in the third picture. Of course with the thrill of getting one’s recipes on the menu there’s anxiety as well (what if they don’t like it?).
3. Plating is Important and Fun– I worked the garde manger station during my turn in the kitchen, which consisted of plating appetizers and desserts we had all prepared earlier. Don’t forget, you eat with your eyes, so you can’t just throw everything onto a plate if you want an enjoyable dining experience. Getting the plating just right was an artistic challenge that I really enjoyed, and a good thing, since I expect that will be a big part of my role as I begin my externship at Mourad next week!
Thanks for coming along on this journey through culinary school! If you’re curious to see what I learned, please scroll back to see my weekly posts over the last four months. I’m not sure what to expect during my externship, but will post periodically in the next two months, sharing what I learn about Mourad’s modern take on Moroccan cuisine,which is sure to add to my knowledge about spices. I can’t wait!
Et voila! C’est fini!
With my classmates from the January-July 2016 class at San Francisco Cooking School, and our Chef Instructor, Catherine Pantsios. Cheers!