Saturday, October 11, 2008

Out with the old...

As I mix the ingredients to make our green apple sorbet, it strikes me that this is my last night in pastry and the last night in Level V. I wonder in amazement how quickly time has passed and realize that I have only 7 more weeks of school left until graduation.

Tonight, the current Level VI students experienced their last night in the kitchen in anticipation of their final cooking exam on Monday. At the end of the night, pictures were being taken, voices were raised in excitement and many family members dined that night at the restaurant. There was an air of finality but also one of accomplishment. I wondered how I would feel on my last night in the kitchen with our final looming just days away. I quickly tossed those thoughts out of my mind and focused on making the sorbet in the ice cream machine. The ice cream machine is a professional kitchen model that makes sorbet and ice cream in the matter of 10 minutes or so. The sorbet is made of frozen apple purée, simple syrup and freshly squeezed lime juice. Once the sorbet it extracted from the machine we smooth it out on to a half sheet pan and place it in the blast freezer to set properly.

Our team raced through our prep work and we were careful not to over produce since the restaurant’s menu will change on Monday and we will begin rotations through the stations once again as new Level VI students. These new recipes will be the ones we are tested on for our final – so it is vital to learn them inside and out.

As the night wound down, Chef came over with our evaluations and new group assignments and starting stations for Monday. I was concerned and wondered who I’d be partnered with – there are some students that would make this last rotation difficult (I’m being polite) since our work ethic/focus/skill level doesn’t mesh well. My current partners, Ashley and Tim, have been so wonderful to work with – we are a well-oiled machine and we just rock-it-out every night in the kitchen. We can pull each other out of the weeds, we split tasks evenly, we all get a chance to work on part of the recipe and we define our duties for service way in advance. We “work” not only in the literate sense but in the way you want your left hand to know what your right hand is doing. So, the change in groups is always a worrisome dilemma for most of us.

I braced myself, Chef showed me my evaluation and finally revealed my new group – and the envelope please…I’m working with Spencer and Ashley yet again! I took a deep breath and Spencer came from no where to give me a high-five. The smile on his face led me to believe that he had already learned about the latest trio. Spencer is great to work with he’s funny, easy-going, plays well with others and he can cook. I might have to slap him around a little but he won’t mind – I’m Alpha dog and he has a thick skin. Having Ashley on my team is like having a warm hug from Jesus, we work brilliantly together and have bonded as friends.

The most ironic part of this whole plan for Monday…can you imagine what station we will be working on first? Sweet Jesus, the pasty station! for another week and a half. We’ll survive, we always do and we’ll kick ass as we have in Level V.

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