On Sunday, March 12th, the Arclight Cinemas hosted Explore-A-Story: A Celebration of Books for the Wonder of Reading organization. It is basically a children's book festival with book readings by authors and celebrities, screening of popular movies based on children's books, activities and etc. Of course, there was food as well, frequently themed to children's books, such as donuts for (what else?) Arnie the Donut.
As Kitchen Academy is in the same complex as Arclight Cinemas, we provided a venue for serving the food provided by different sponsors.
We students did prepare some hors d'oeuvres for the VIP room: gravlax on toast with herbed cream cheese; savory pastries stuffed with ham and cheese; pate on toast; and, etc. Other than that, however, this was mostly a serving event. Students portioned and readied for buffet service food provided by other sponsors of the event, such as California Pizza Kitchen.
Although there wasn't much cooking done (I did learn a couple of tricks for the gravlax, though), learning proper service is an important skill for the well-rounded chef. Either you're going to be directly involved in organizing service, or you're going to be supporting service so it is good to know what it is like.
Since I've done so few events, each one is quite a learning experience for me. For example, I'm getting a much better idea of when you need to swap out hotel pans of food. You never want to run out, of course, but you don't want to leave too many servings in the hotel pan either. It is an experiential thing learning how quickly portions get used.
I also learned a bit more about keeping an eye on things like plates, napkins, utensils and condiments. It may sound trivial or easy, but if you're not used to it, it takes some attention to ensure that you don't run out of one of these things.
Other tricks you just pick up. For example, we didn't have enough fuel canisters to keep the warming pans, well, warm. So, we periodically filled them with boiling water. This means pouring out the old, cool water. This means some large buckets under the table at the station. Not a big thing, but this knowledge will come in handy should something similar happen in the future.
Anyway, I enjoyed serving children and their parents.