Thursday, November 13, 2008

Soup and Salad

I worked my first night at Plate last night. It was nothing less than great. I'm on pantry, handling soups and salads, but the great thing about working pantry at Plate seems to be that the chef encourages this station to daily come up with a new amuse bouche (The term is French, literally translated to "mouth amuser" [for bouche = mouth; amuser = to amuse, to please]. The plural form is amuse-bouche or amuse-bouches; a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre). This gives some room for creativity and is a way to show the chef something. It's a way to rotate product (while the ingredients are still good, mind you) and to keep the menu different and interesting for regulars. Saute and grill both come up with specials too, though I'm not sure if they do it daily or not.

Last night I was trained from 2 til about 4:30, then my trainer left and I ran my station with the help and instruction of the sous. It was great that I got to just jump in there, I kind of feared that they would just have me shadow someone for the first few nights and have me just watch. This station is easy though. I'm right on the end of the line so I can watch the saute and grill cooks. I'll be taking a lot of mental notes because if the opportunity to jump on one of those stations comes up I want to be ready to take it.

Okay, so here's what I'm responsible for on pantry:
Wedge Salad - bacon, blue cheese, red onion and a balsamic vinaigrette (entirely unexciting)
Spinach Salad - chevre (goat cheese), walnuts and a maple, bacon vinaigrette (entirely delicious)
Endive Salad - grilled endive, roasted beets, Roquefort cheese and truffle vinaigrette (awesome and beautiful plating)
Lobster Bisque with Cognac Scented Creme Fraiche
Insalata Caprese (which they simply call Tomato and Mozzarella Salad) - Slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella with basil, balsamic reduction, and olive oil (another really nice plating)
I also do an item on the Bar Menu: Ahi Poke - this is a Hawaiin dish with sashimi grade raw tuna, cucumber and daikon (asian radish) sprouts with a sweet and spicy chili sauce
Pantry also handles the desserts, which I won't attempt to list in detail from memory but there was a pecan pie/cheesecake, bread pudding, tiramisu, apple pie, sorbet, creme brulee... all very pretty and delicious looking.

I haven't been able to sample much yet but you better believe I'll be working on that; I love the menu. Mainly, I was very impressed with how calm, clean, and organized everything was. I understand that it was a relatively slow night, even for a Wednesday, but it was good first experience just the same. My station is a breeze and I'll have it down by the end of today so I can concentrate on impressing everyone with my amuse bouche creations. It was a great first night.

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