At Alan Wong’s Restaurants, we believe that “if you are hungry, you will be fed.” The Feeding Leaders program offers our employees an opportunity to continue their professional development through formal education while continuing employment at Alan Wong’s Restaurants. One of the requirements for students in this program is to write weekly reflections on what they are currently learning at school or at work that impacts their professional development. This is Connor’s reflection on Menu Development and continuing his journey as a culinarian.

“This past week I attended menu development before class and got to see a little of what is to come for Valentine’s Day. It was enjoyable to see a little of how the menu will be made and what goes into making a special menu. Hearing the background for the dishes gives me a better understanding and gets me thinking about what I would like to be doing. While I really enjoy my baking class, I still really like to see some of the things that were going in the apps dish, James’ main dish, and how they will be prepared. I think this is one of my favorite things to come see because I get a chance to see things and see how plating is designed and flavors matched. During the normal week, I am learning fundamentals, so to get the chance to be in the middle of new and different dishes is like having a front row ticket to the show Chefs Table. 

As I near the end of this first module in school (March 2nd) and get ready to move into intermediate baking, I am starting to try new recipes, but still am very limited to what we are allowed to do before moving to the next class. I am excited to move into a class that will allow me a little more creative freedom and out of the traditional recipes we have been focusing on. I look forward to the exploration and the chance to make my own things. I have been doing more reading lately leaning about new ingredients, some from Hawaii, but many from all over. I am excited to try new things like galangal and new plating ideas I have seen with the specials and put that into action in my next class.

Overall this week was a roller coaster of exciting and stressful days, when I take a step back I realize that I learned a lot and am getting to experience things that make me think. It’s a lot of “ah ha” moments and for a brief second, I find myself dumbfounded because it never looks like it’s going to taste. These are some of my fondest memories in relation to food and always keeps me interested and coming back to learn more.” – Connor Underwood