Wow…that’s all I had to say after the first day of production (actually cooking in the kitchens) in Food Production II. I so thought I was prepared, and I so…wasn’t.
First, I stayed up late the night before and reviewed what we’d be cooking the next day. Sauteed chicken with salsify and herb sauce, wilted spinach and spaghetti squash (later substituted to carrots). So I printed out the menu, wrote out all my mise en place, listed what equipment I’d need to gather, and figured out in what order I’d need to do things. I found a similar recipe in our textbook and attempted to copy it, but my printer wouldn’t comply. So I went to bed, knowing I had things a few steps ahead. It’s all in my notebook.
Fast forward, next morning in class, 8:30 a.m.
I realize I’ve brought the wrong notebook.
Egads, it’s elementary school all over again!!! Thankfully, the instructor went through everything anyway, and I was able to remember much of what I had written before. No problem.
She assigns me and another student as “food stewards,” which means we are to gather food product for everyone instead of each student running around (like we did last semester) looking for stuff. No problem. We take a break after the lecture and before setting up, and I cut it short so I can get a jump on setting up my station.
Oh crap moment #2: I realize I’ve brought my baking kit rather than my knife kit. They look EXACTLY the same. Sigh. (I managed to keep this from my instructor the whole time, but I guess she knows now, huh?) I managed to borrow a knife from a friend and keep moving.
Then, although I thought I was doing well and working ahead, I fall behind gathering the food for everyone. And as we begin production, I realize we had forgotten a few things. Sheesh. NOT. On. My. Game.
I oversalted, undercooked, and generally felt like a screwup the whole time. I forgot to add aromatics to the fond before deglazing with liquids. And it’s funny…I looked back at my blog post from almost exactly a year prior, where I am teaching this exact same technique. I KNOW this stuff. I just forgot!
But I managed to get my dish done, and besides a little too much salt, all other offenses were fixed. A few minutes in the oven went a long way with my chicken, which turned out quite well. The instructor, while tasting my dish, was talking with another instructor at that moment. She reached over and smacked my arm while nodding to her colleague about the conversation at hand…a silent gesture that told me it turned out OK after all. She did say I should sauce half-way down the chicken, so both the protein and the sauce are identifiable. Good sauce. A little too much salt.
I’ll go over the actual recipe another day this week, when I make it at home for the family. It’s quite easy, and the sauce is sooooo delicious.
And I’m sure I’ll do better the second time around!