Appetizer: Chilled Pear and Mint Soup
Entree: Saute Filet of Beef and Shrimp (garden herbs and first tomato sauce)
The heat came with a vengeance this week. It took its toll on my equipment, knocking out my dairy cooler, pantry cooler in the main kitchen, and my convection oven figured everyone else was leaving and it was out of commission also.
The dairy cooler needs to be replaced, the other two I will be able to repair. Learning how to deal with these situations and at the same time working in extreme conditions is simply part of this profession. What you want is for all the guest to think everything is just peaches and cream. Feeling stress from anyone is not part of a relaxing night out. For a chef what experience means is not having a good plan to operate, experience is really having a good backup plan. The unusual photo of the ceramic pot is my replacement for the convection oven, which is critical to my menu. How do you make one? Go to Ikea and buy a glazed pot from Vietnam, and while you are there go to the cabinet section and pick out a nice ceramic door handle for a dollar. Pick up a long stem thermometer in the cooking section while your at it. You will need a large cast iron pan, with a flat cast iron pan that you drill about a dozen holes in to put on top of it. I got mine at Dunkleburgers. Put this all together and with a flame from the range underneath it, it holds a perfect 450f and can cook 4 filets medium rare in 8 minutes. If you throw wood chips in the bottom it will smoke whatever you want (scallops are best) in no time. Having a plan for any possible failure is part of proper mise en place. Power failure? Knowing what the drill is when the lights go out(and they will) is part of being ready. Improvising is not limited to the musicians at the Deer Head.
So how hot was it? As a person that has been in some brutal kitchens over the past 40+ years I would like to make a survival check list for the young folk so they can be a miserable old bastard like me one day. Things to remember when it don't feel like december
1. Do not drink any caffeine, sweetened beverages or alcohol. stick with ice water. all the others will dehydrate you and make you stupid, which leads to more mistakes.
2. Do not look at any thermometers or pay attention to the temp in the kitchen. It does you no good. I equate it to looking at the speedometer of a plane in a nosedive. Do you feel better knowing you will die at 750mph? Would 900mph make you feel better about it. The damage to your mind is far worse than what your body is going through.
3.Shut up and don't complain. The hot air coming out of your mouth is only raising the temp around you. Besides, you were the one that decided to work in a kitchen
4.Putting a tatoo of an icecube on your ass will not prevent your sweat from flowing in that direction, use cornstarch instead. Boxes and boxes of cornstarch.
I could go on but I feel my temperature rising again, stay cool everybody, I am!