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A Dinner of Appreciation, and Only a Little Bit of Chaos

So every 3 months  a new class (Mod) comes in, but for this to happen it means that the Mod before has to leave. Sometimes this is just a Mod going on internship, and other times it’s the Mod 4 AOS group and the Mod 6 BA group graduating. A week or two before they leave the students like to have a send off for them, which NECI has named the Mod Dinner. The most recent Mod Dinner was put on by the Mod 5 class as a project for their Kitchen Management Class, where they had to “hire” a staff plan the menu and then execute the dinner.  With that done we moved on to the menu planning and testing and ended up creating this menu:

Now while there were a few bumps in the road in getting to the actual day of the dinner itself. The dinner went off without a hitch, and was a blast to work.

I was hired as part of the 1st course, or the soup course. I was working with AJ, and Jack, both of who ended up letting me help in the development process. After a few days of playing and testing what we wanted to do, we came up with the final product and our soup ended up looking a little something like this. The soup tasted fantastic but that wasn’t the only thing we served that night.

The whole night was a flurry of activity. I got there at 3:30 and dinner was at 6, so being the first course we had to be ready to go out the door whenever the floor was sat and everyone had drinks and bread. Because all we really had to do was bring the soup to temp, season it, and fry the mussels, we prepped the plates and bowls. The garnish under the bowl is the green outer husk off the corn. When we got the go ahead we cranked it out assembly line style with Kealan and myself portioning out the soup while AJ, and Jack went behind us with the mussels and other garnishes. We busted out all 55 bowls in 3 minutes and 23 seconds.

Once the soup was out I was able to give a big sigh of relief, but the night was far from over. It went from here to salads. The whole time we are running food out we are clearing plates and cleaning the kitchens we used.  Working seamlessly to move from the back kitchen to the front kitchen was the name of the game. We started out with just 4 people cleaning, to 8 people, as the salad group was finished putting their dishes out. This is when the craziness began… the main dish ran in to a few bumps but still looked and tasted fantastic. Getting to the end of the line was interesting for lack of a better word. However, when bad things happen, or in the case of when you run out of the base sauce, you move on and make it up as you go.

We had a time when one of the women cooking the gnocchi had to go start getting the dessert ready so I jumped onto her place. This was about half way through the service. It was crowded and we were flying as fast as we could to get everything out on time. This picture doesn’t do justice to the pace we were working at, and you can’t see the 2 people on the grill, or the two people working on saucing the plates, or cleaning the rims at the end. When all was said and done we put out a main dish that had the students and faculty asking for seconds, so all-in-all a success. They didn’t know that we still had dessert on its way. With the craziness that we just went through, I think everyone was a little surprised that dessert went so smoothly. We plated the sorbet as the plates went out the door. Almost as soon as the last plate was out the door we had the cleaning done.

While it started out rocky, it ended up being a blast. I wish some things had been done differently, but I had no say in how it was run or put on. Before we could leave we had two things left to do. First we all walked out in to the main dining room to the applause of everyone we had just cooked for. The last thing we did, and it ended the night very well I think, was to take a group picture of everyone who had worked the event.

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One Comment on “A Dinner of Appreciation, and Only a Little Bit of Chaos”

  1. Grandma October 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    Sounds like you are loving every minute of your classes and learning experience, except maybe the teachers of service. If that’s the only thing not great, then you are doing good.

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