This is our second week at Riderwood and we are getting into a rhythm. In the morning we come in and work on our projects. Right now, we are mostly focused on our theme which will get its own post. In addition, we also have some smaller projects to better understand the operations aspect of the facility including a SWOT analysis and a financial project. Then in the afternoon we have a mix of meetings, independent work and then we finish our day with kitchen work.
This week however, our pattern was thrown off by an event, the Chef’s Dinner. Residents purchase tickets and they receive a gourmet 5 course meal, designed and executed by one of Riderwoods’ chefs. They do this about 6 times a year, so it was Marta’s turn. This was our first time meeting Marta, but two of our fellow interns, Bethany and Margery worked with her during their rotation.
The purpose of this event was not only to give the residents a night of gourmet dining, but also to showcase the talent that Riderwood has employed in their kitchens. It was great to see Marta be able to be able to show her full range of abilities and it really made me appreciate how skilled she is.
We were able to check out the dining room and then watch them plate and prepare the meal. He lent a helping hand where we could, but you know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen…
…and we had three more in the wings ready to work on each dish. To begin the evening, Chef Victor (executive chef) went and greeted all of the residents. Marta then presented her menu and described each item. Everyone seemed very interested in each one, but definitely perked up most when they heard the dessert (teaser!) The first course was a butternut squash soup garnished with pancetta and grated chestnuts.
To follow was the seafood course. Traditionally in a five course meal, before the entree is served, there is typically a seafood or poultry dish. I never really understood the structure of this type of meal, all I knew was that there would be a lot of food. For this dish, Marta served lobster with plantains. I don’t recall the specific name of the recipe, but the plantains were prepared to be about the consistency of very think mashed potatoes, and served with this sauce that had a wonderful spice to it. The final presentation was beautiful.
We didn’t stay for the entire meal because it started close to the end of our shift, but I do remember the gist of the other dishes. The third course was the pallet cleanser or the intermezzo for which they served a sorbet. The entree was Kobe beef. Lobster and Kobe beef, I think these residents are getting spoiled! For dessert, I was able to snap some pictures before we left. Chef Chad was preparing the sugar top to the pumpkin spice Crème Brule. They looked amazing. A tip that Chef Chad gave us was to use sugar in the raw on top. If the sugar is too refined, it will smoke and other times with form too thick of a layer, so they miss the characteristic ‘crunch’ when breaking the top with your spoon.
I’m glad we stayed for what we were able to. It was really cool to watch these high level chefs work on something that was a fun project for them. Everything was performed with such precision and care, it will make me appreciate the presentation and flavors of any meal from a restaurant that much more.
Have you had any experience working with professional chefs?