Family meal is what you get when you work in the restaurant industry: a free meal cooked by the staff. And at The International Culinary Center, students are responsible for feeding their fellow students and the school’s employees when they hit Level 4. And I wasn’t very excited for this level because mass volume cooking means massive cookware.
Everyone gets a piece of the meal’s responsibility. Today I was in charge of starch, and it was up to me to lift the 50-pound boxes of red bliss potatoes and turn them into a warm potato salad with a mustard vinaigrette. My first strategic plan was to pile a bunch of potatoes in a massive rondeau (wide pot), but Chef John had a better idea: use the steam kettle, something akin to a witch’s cauldron that is used for making mass quantities of stock–or mashed potatoes apparently. The problem? This stand-alone stove slash pot is about the same height as me, so when my potatoes were tender Chef handed me an oar. No joke. This massive metal paddle could ferry me across the Mississippi, but in the kitchen, it was supposed to smash my potatoes. That is, if you’re tall enough to have the leverage to actually move this metal spatula more than a centimeter. I was throwing my whole body weight onto this stick, but nothing was moving. So my tall and talented classmate Chloe took pity on me. This girl is strong. She must be amazing at shoveling snow. And thanks to her, my first day was a success.
TIP OF THE DAY: If a vinaigrette is too acidic, salt will cut that sour taste.