Monday, March 5, 2012

Testing, Testing....

Sweet cherry and pear sorbet with cassis

Another Chef’s Table last Thursday evening: the morning Advanced class set the menu this time, and tried to still their nerves as the evening progressed from amuse-bouche through dessert. They were no longer practicing on family and friends: The diners were special guests, invited to critique each course.

 I watched this evening unfold   behind the scenes. One student arrived early in the day to bake fresh bread. Another was searching for ice just a few hours before dinner (no time to freeze any, and none to be found). The buzz in the kitchen rose to near-tangible levels as the guests arrived, hung their coats, and watched through the window at the progress on the stoves.

Whether his students were flush with confidence or sliding into uncertainty, Chef Dan remained stoic. The evening was an exam - a test of how far his students have come - so he watched, waited, and fought any urge to assist. Seated in the kitchen he assessed each dish – taste, colour, plating, temperature – along with the co-ordination of the team, from their prep work to their timing, organization skills and team work.

Chef Dan marks each course
Rain, shine or broken limbs;
nothing will stop this future chef.
As the pots piled up, eight students worked together assembling, plating, garnishing and serving. At the end of the evening, they were also the clean up crew. They had little time to eat, but a lot of time to reflect before Chef Dan’s feedback. That will come on Wednesday, while they continue their classes and wait until mid-week to exhale.

Goat cheese mousse in
Montasio cheese nest

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