August 14 1998
Cheese Toast...
...but not really

The task of the day:

Another Buffet

Today we plated the apps we worked on prep for yesterday. Things went pretty smoothly, and after yesterday, lots more stable. I think maybe Chef was just having an extra bad day then or something. I've also learned how to handle him, I think, and have been very careful about getting explicit instructions where I feel they are needed. Our group's help was also noticed, so I think he ended up liking us pretty well.

* * *

We cranked out:

  • Red Pepper Buschetta
  • Cajun BBQ Shrimp
  • Smoked Turkey Breast with Onion and Raisin Chutney
  • Grilled Vegetable Salad
  • Gravlox

* * *

We did a pretty interesting plating today. I verified with Chef this was what he wanted, of course. We did 2 or 3 arrangements of each app, using different methods or styles. It was fun because each of us in the group got to try one. They turned out interesting, and also pretty good. It was also quite a bit of fun, because we were organized and had enough time to spend on them, rather than rushing.

Did a very LA plating of the shrimp. We made a Corn and Bean Salad, placed the shrimp in front, along with a very buttery reduction sauce. Topped with a Filo Wafer triangle, that I spiced down with Cajun Spices. Carefully cut three colors of bell peppers into very small dice and sprinkled them around the plate. Really came out very nice.

We made lots of different garnishes to top the various plates, and so then we got to use them in interesting ways. We did some sweet and regular potato crisps, the above mentioned Filo Triangles, some Romano Cheese Crisps, a bowl (also made out of Romano Cheese), and tortilla strips. Everything we used for garnish or plating (other than the main item) was our own idea or creation. So that was fun, organizing and creating.

The Smoked Turkey Breast was more of pain, just because it took nearly two hours to cook, and before that needed removal from the bone, trussing, and smoking. It came out of the oven only about 15 minutes before service. Lucky for us, we had everything else plated and out. So while we rushed a bit on that last item, it wasn't total chaos as it was only one thing.

* * *

Another class that was running at the same time as ours was Garde Manger for Chefs. These guys are all pros in the business, and spend the entire week turning out a very major buffet. It was pretty darn impressive, and the plates were gorgeous. Maybe some day I'll be able to handle that myself. Some of them are in my class next week (Smokehouse, we make sausages!), and I'm hoping to be able to team with at least one of them.

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Copyright 1998 Tom Dowdy