I’ve gained yet another valuable experience this past week as I got the chance to assist Chef and his staff to put on a private dinner party at someone’s home. I got the feel of what it would be like to be a private chef creating fine dining dishes in a household kitchen. Working in the house kitchen was definitely an adjustment in the sense that the restaurant kitchen has all the necessary equipment readily available. It was a beautiful home with an unbelievably nice kitchen, but it often took me several tries to find the proper drawer that had the pots, pans, bowls, or plates that we were looking for. There was also obviously more of an emphasis to keep our “stations” clean at all times since guests could easily walk into the kitchen to see what we were doing. The key was to remain prepared and organized throughout the entire process. We strived to keep all of the components to each dish grouped together as much as possible as we packed the cooler and unpacked it into the refrigerator at the house. Staying organized helped us to quickly complete each dish and kept the flow of dinner going without any hiccups.
All of the dishes on the menu that night were delicious and unique. However, the two dishes that really stuck with me that day were the caramel foie gras and ahi poke granite. Both of these dishes are foods that I do not prefer to eat, but the way that Chef prepared it really made me want to try more of it. Chef had done a reinterpretation of a salted caramel apple using a mix of foie gras mousse and kabayaki sauce to make the “fudge.” He then instructed us to try the “fudge” with a slice of apple and fried prosciutto. Like I said, I am not a big foie gras fan, but I would have eaten it that way in a heartbeat.
The ahi poke granite was another dish that blew my mind. It was ahi poke topped with red onion jalapeno granite garnished with micro greens. The granite glistened on the poke and as it melted it was like eating poke with chili pepper water. When we got the chance to try this dish I was taken by surprise to eat the icy cold granite and found that it had such a spicy kick to it. The initial cold shock of the ice followed by the spiciness of the jalapeno that was in the red onion granite really elevated the dish to a whole new level. The element of “surprise” really made this dish stand out for me.
I would have never imagined that this externship opportunity would allow me to experience so many different things. I learn so much from these experiences both in a culinary sense and personal development. Applying what I’ve learned to everyday life is what I’m trying to work on at the moment. My main focus is to improve on paying closer attention to detail in every aspect of work and life in general, and to have more of a sense of awareness of what is going on around me at all times. A couple weeks ago, I began to notice that I would focus only on the task at hand. It was hard for me to catch the cooks in between their work to help get the costing done for multiple recipes in a day. Since then, I’ve been able to work closer with the cooks so that I could come up with a schedule for myself and plan out which recipes can be done on which days so that I’m not chasing them around everywhere
- Miki Iwai, Extern at Alan Wong's Honolulu