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« Kitchen Academy - Course II - Day 16 | Main | Salsa Verde »

March 16, 2006

Kitchen Academy - Course II - Day 17

Posted by Ernest Miller

Three of the four courses at Kitchen Academy provide a buffet meal to friends, family, the school and select visitors once during the course, in the fourth week. Course I does a breakfast buffet on a Thursday (Kitchen Academy - Course I - Day 19) and Course 4 does a "Tastes of Asia" buffet on a Friday.

Wednesday is Course 2's buffet, a lunch/dinner menu:

  • St. Louis Ribs
  • Santa Maria Tri-Tip
  • Barbecued Baked Beans
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Country Onion Rings
  • Hush Puppies
  • Carnitas
  • Guacamole
  • Refried Beans
  • Salsa Verde [recipe]
  • Mexican Style Rice
So, today, the entire class concentrated on preps for tomorrow. As in PCA-1, we are divided into teams to produce each of the dishes.

I and Natalie Walker produced the Salsa Verde [recipe].

This was easy. Production went quite rapidly. Of course, some dishes required more effort than others, but when students are finished, or have a break (as I did when the salsa was simmering), they helped another team. There sure was an awful lot of garlic to peel.

The biggest issue with producing such large quantity recipes is paying close attention to tastes and flavors and common sense. You can't simply multiply a small portion recipe and expect a large quantity to come out the same. For example, just because a recipe calls for a single clove doesn't mean you should add ten cloves when you make a batch ten times as big. Having one slightly larger than average onion won't generally throw off a recipe that calls for one onion, small dice. However ten larger than average onions will be much more likely throw off a larger batch.

Time is also a major factor that can vary non-linearly when multiplying recipes. A small roux takes a certain amount of time. A roux five times as big doesn't necessarily take five times as long. It'll take longer, but not exactly five times as long. Sometimes things take longer than the multiple, more often less time, but you have to recognize this and take it into account.

Sometimes, you might want to divide a multiplied recipe down. Rather than make one multiple of ten bechamel, you might want to make two multiples of five, or four multples of two and a half. Why? Sometimes you don't have a container big enough. Sometimes it is simply easier. Or, as in the case of bechamel, you'll be less likely to ruin it. And, even if you do ruin it, you've only blown a small portion, not the whole deal.

Where production was difficult was in fixing some of the problems that multiplying recipes might cause, for example, adding more avocados and tomatoes to cut down the overly strong onion flavor in the guacamole.

As the recipes were finished (at least as finished as they would be today), we stored and staged them for use the next day. We also put together a list of what needed to be accomplished the day of the buffet (i.e., fry hushpuppies in APCA, fry onion rings in PCA-2, grill tri-tip in APCA, etc.). The chef instructors also went over service and how we would organize that.

Still, there was plenty of time, which meant: deep cleaning the ovens. They come apart pretty easily. Of course, some steel wool would have come in handy.

Don't tell anyone, but we still got out of class a good twenty minutes early.

Danny_Riskam_Small.JPG Danny Riskam Making Guacamole

Leon_Miller_and_Marie_Miller_Small.JPG Leon Miller and Marie Miller (no relation) Making Bechamel for the Macaroni and Cheese

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Salsa Verde