I don’t wanna be, all by myself. But this was my morning reality. Poor Ron was out with food poisoning, and I had to prep and serve the tri-tip by myself. This put me in overdrive.
Here was my prep list for the day:
1. Make steak sauce: quarter shallots, sweat in butter, and add wine. Add bouquet garni. Let reduce. Then add stock. Let reduce until nappant.
2. Make cauliflower puree.
3. Prep pommes paille (hair string potato fries): Peel and mandoline all sweet potatoes. Then deep-fry close to service.
4. Season steak.
5. Grab plates and supplies for service. Take out sauce spoons and set up station.
6. Sear off three steaks in preparation for service.
7. Have a demo plate ready by 11:30.
I had a lot, but manageable, amount to do before 11:30. I got in at 8:30, had my red wine reducing by 9 and cauliflower on the stovetop by 9:30. I started to peel my potatoes by 10 and had them prepped and ready by 10:20. I jumped back onto the cauliflower. I left the cauliflower simmering in heavy cream with four cloves of garlic for about an hour–or until it turned to baby food. Then I strained it, and pureed the cauliflower. It’s about the best thing that’s ever touched my tongue. And the recipe ruins it with smoke powder, which I abhor, so I put a dusting. You could barely taste it–you just got a hint that maybe this cauliflower was smoked. That’s how it should be. I want to taste cauliflower, not some imitation of smoke. Yeah, I hate you smoke powder.
Now it was 11 a.m., I had 30 minutes before I needed a demo plate. The deep fryer was being used by the burgers and fries guy so I decided to grab plates and pots for service. He finally jumped off the fryer 20 minutes later, which meant I didn’t have a demo plate for today. But service went so smoothly that I felt like a rockstar. I’ve never had a great service where all my dishes came out on time, and looked great (and tasted even better). And the best part? I did this all by myself and I could tell Chef was impressed. Finally, a good day on the line!
TIP OF THE DAY: Make a cauliflower puree. Trust me. It’s the easiest dish that will turn even the most anti-cauliflower haters into cruciferous lovers. Just remember: Cover your florets with heavy cream, add some butter (we add a lot–like half a pound–but feel free to ration it), add a bay leaf, thyme, and four cloves of crushed garlic. Let it simmer until extremely tender. Then blend on high until velvety smooth.