Tomorrow is the breakfast buffet in which we finally cook for the public (Free Food at Kitchen Academy - Feb 1st, 2nd, 3rd). If you're in the area, be sure to join us 8:30am - 10:00am.
Consequently, today is different from every other class day as we go into production mode. When class starts Chef Perez divided us up into different groups, each tasked with producing one or more elements of tomorrow's buffet.
My group included my station partner Brent and Nicole, a young woman of 19 who is rather mature for her age and quite a hard worker. Our first task was to grate the potatoes and onions for Potatoes Roesti (basically fancy hash browns). My first question to Chef Perez was whether we could use a Robot Coupe, an industrial food processor. His answer was yes and we took care of all the grating in minutes.
After cleaning our stations, the three of us were next tasked with cracking 2 crates of eggs (180 eggs per crate) for the scrambled eggs and omelette station. I'm getting really good at cracking eggs one-handed. Even working for speed, I only broke a handful of yolks. The real fun part was when we took a yard-long industrial immersion blender to the eggs. I must say that the torque developed was impressive.
Next up, we joined the crepe team, turning out dozens of the delicate flour pancakes. It felt good to be able to really practice what we had been learning. You can almost feel your skill increasing after repeating the same task time and time again.
After that, it was putting bacon on racks on sheet trays and sausages as well. Again, teamwork made the task go by extremely quickly as we filled half a knock down rack with breakfast meats ready to go into the oven tomorrow.
That was really it for us. Chef Perez was quite impressed that we finished all of our prep with an hour to spare. He said ours was the first class to finish in time. I thank teamwork. Until the very end, there was little lollygagging. When students finished one task, they quickly looked for another to get to work on.
We thus had time to partake of the lunch buffet put together today by the students in Course 2. Those were some mighty fine ribs, tri-tip and carnitas. It was a little early in the morning for such a meal, but most of it was good, some of it darn good (and a couple of items not so good - the rice was overcooked). I can't wait for Friday's "Tastes of Asia" menu. Peking duck for breakfast. Cool.
Unfortunately, we had one small hiccup in our prep. The large stockpot in which the Bechamel was being made for the Crepes Morney was defective; it burst a seam and sprung a leak as the sauce was simmering. In a weird side effect, this resulted in the sauce being scorched. A protein and mirepoix raft was used to correct the flavor somewhat, but the sauce still tasted off to me.
Tomorrow is the big day. The class will be divided into a buffet brigade (the high-pressure omelette station is volunteer only) and we will actually be serving the public. It'll be my first taste of what actually happens in a restaurant. I'm really looking forward to it, though a bit nervous. I rather enjoyed today and think I will like tomorrow even better.