Thursday, August 24, 2006
There's no place I'd rather be...
Than on my surfboard out at sea
Lingering in the ocean blue
And If I had one wish come true
I’d surf till the sun sets
Beyond the horizon
("Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride" from Lilo & Stitch)
Yep, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean would be a good place right about now. A place with no Fine Technical College Culinary Arts Program...a place with no missing ingredients from your requisition for your project that is going to significantly impact your grade...that would be a good place. A very good place.
Wednesday is Day 1 of Team Projects, and of course, being Team 1, the Cutest Chiclet and I get to go first. We had received our menu/recipes for the Pacific Rim, and were tasked with creating a PowerPoint presentation, transcribing the recipes onto recipe worksheets for our classmates, creating a restaurant menu from the project recipes, doing timelines and ingredient requisitions for recipes, plating diagrams for the food, and separate 3-4 page papers.
We did work diligently on this project notebook. I made a perfectly lovely PowerPoint presentation, and we had everything ready to go and turned in last Wednesday. On Monday, Chef Regional mentions that there is something awry with our requisition form, and it looks like a few things were left off. I had done the basis of the requisition in Excel so I could sort it into groupings that would make Introductory Chef's job (she who is in charge of getting foodstuffs for all classes) a little easier. Evidently, when I copied and pasted into the form we turned in, I lost something...a lot of somethings...not good.
Chef Regional said it would count some points off, since it was incomplete, and I said fine, but do you want me to email you and Intro Chef the correct form with all the ingredients? He said no, that they knew what we needed, so it wouldn't be a problem.
Famous last words.
So, here's what our menu was supposed to be, and the side comments of what we actually had to work with...granted, it was my fault for not closely doublechecking the form when I printed it off for the notebook, and I feel the worst about this because it's going to impact someone else's grade, but I did offer to send in the correct one and he said no and we had to live with the consequences, which were not pretty.
Cold Avocado & Cucumber Soup (We actually had almost all the ingredients for this soup except for some peppers. Personally, I'm just not into the cold soup thing unless it's a fruit soup. Gazpacho is okay, but I'd much rather eat it as salsa with chips!)
Buckwheat Soba Noodle Salad with Grilled Mushrooms (Mushrooms? Right. Red Peppers? Mango? Uh huh...I had some sliced green onions, some julienned carrots, and some slices of cucumber to dress this up. Don't worry, it gets worse.)
Mussels in Spicy Butter Sauce (this actually turned out pretty well. We were missing some peppers to roast for the spicy butter sauce, but the Chiclet managed to throw together something that was both appealing and tasted good. She added some diced tomatoes and scallions to the butter sauce, and it was really tasty.)
Sigh...I don't even know if I can go on with this...the Mahi Mahi with tropical fruit salsa became fried fish with some pineapple and toasted coconut. It was supposed to have this lovely fresh salsa with mango, papaya, and fresh pineapple...you're getting the picture, aren't you? Team 2 really did pull this together and improvised the toasted coconut-pineapple thing--go Mother Hen and My Partner in Crime.
Team 3, which is Mr. Big Stuff and Dimmer Switch didn't do too badly, either. They cooked some duck breasts with Brussels sprouts in Macadamia Nut butter sauce--it was supposed to be Hazelnuts, but Dimmer kind got the wrong box of nuts. You have to watch her--she wants to cook things like green vegetables and throw then in the hot box for a couple of hours. Now, the hot box is a fine and wonderful thing, but it is not the magic food stasis box. It keeps things warm, but it can also degrade the color and taste of more delicate things. Throwing a pot of mashed potatoes in for a couple of hours is a far different thing than the Brussels sprouts.
Chef Regional said that it was admirable how we got our collective act together and got down to business after being thrown for such a loop...maybe we'll become a teaching tool/story for the next class. I'm just hoping we get some points for creativity and for my rockin' PowerPoint.
What's killing me in all this is that it's not just my grade that is affected--the Chiclet is going to take some major hits because of my inadequacy, and I don't think that's fair to her. I've been pretty vocal to Chef that it was my mistake in the data transfer, so maybe he'll go easier on her.
Of course, this means we both have to ace the freakin' final, now doesn't it? Sigh...I really would like a little deserted island right about now.