Our challenge of the day was to make a consommé and pork chop, and present them at a certain time. And things didn’t become stressful until the 20 minutes before I had to present my first dish.
I was one of the last people to present their dishes, but I pretended to be the first so I could push myself to work quickly. I had every component of my soup ready 30 minutes before I had to present. Now it was a waiting game. For our midterm, we can’t serve our dishes a minute early or a minute late. When they tell you 12:15, they mean it. So half my battle was figuring out how long it would take me to plate soup and the accompanying vegetable garnish, while still keeping everything (including the bowls) piping hot. The other hard part? Lifting the tray. Don’t judge me…soup is heavy.
The back of the classroom has an obnoxiously large clock that’s a constant reminder whether you’re late or early. And in the last five minutes before presenting a dish, your heart starts to race as you frantically spoon soup or sauce onto a plate. Everytime something drips on your white plate, you silently (or audibly) curse to yourself because you just added seconds to the clock. And as you glance at the clock you realize you have one minute left and still have to put one more component on your plate. And when you’re done, sometimes your plates cooled off and like a maniac start shoveling in the oven for 30 seconds. It’s a stressful moment. Believe me.
Luckily I was able to put everything together on time, and make it up to the Chef’s table with all four plates of soup. But I wasn’t so on top of my pork chop. The chop is accompanied with a potato pancake, a green peppercorn sauce, and a garnish of watercress. And to make sure each is seasoned properly, everything is hot (but not overcooked), takes more than 9 minutes–at least for me. But that’s all the time I gave myself to put my dishes together, and ended up 2 minutes late. My potato pancake also needed more time in the oven since the center wasn’t creamy enough.
The actual midterm will definitely give me a few more grey hairs.