Thursday, October 1, 2009

An Anxiety Building End of the Week

I seem to be very anxious this morning, and for good reason. I am likely to have my black box test today and after surfing the Food Network website for a good hour looking for inspiration I realized there is no way to prepare for this test without knowing what ingredients will be in that box.

I initially thought that I would just look up a fish appetizer, for example, but when I did that generous inundated me with a mountain of recipes using shrimp, scallops and a variety of fish. These main ingredients were marinated, skewered, served cold, seared, grilled and then presented in a variety of ways. I cannot possibly look at all the marinades because I really don't know what I will have to work with. Will there be lemon in my box? Will there be herbs? If there are no herbs, am I allowed to go to the walk-in fridge and get some? I know that I'll have access to any pantry item I might need (i.e flour, butter, sugar and so on), but am I allowed to use the fridge too? Cream, butter, herbs are all contained in there. I don't think there's a way to prepare. Those guys on Iron Chef or Hell's Kitchen have years of culinary experience to draw from. I have under a year in a far from fine-dining kitchen. Sure I've been cooking at home for over a decade but I don't think that compares with a high-end presentation I will be challenged to come up with. I can't make him a beef stew and hope to impress him, even if I have potato and beef in my box. Not to mention that a beef stew would take almost 2 hours to make and I have three hours to come up with a concept and then prep, cook and plate everything.

Another reason for my nervous tension this morning is that I am going to visit Lucy's Kitchen next Wednesday. Yes, I know there's a whole week between now and next Wednesday but this is a big deal for me. Lucy has been my Julia Child in a way and I am nervous beyond words.

Finally, there is the Brick Works Picnic going on this Sunday, Oct 4, and I have volunteered my time both tomorrow, for the preparation leading up to it, and on Sunday. For my services I will be given time to attend the picnic for free, something that the masses get to do for a fee of $110. For me the picnic will be a bonus, I am excited beyond words to be in the presence of some great chefs as well as work with them.

Tomorrow at 10 a.m I will be reporting for duty and I have been assigned to assist the chefs with preparation, cleanliness, and helping to ensure their area runs smoothly. I can only be there until 3 pm as I have to be at work for 5 pm, but I am excited beyond words. I don't know yet what I will be doing on Sunday, during the main event, but I don't care. I'll be there and that's what counts!

I'd stay here and write longer but I have to go and continue my deep breathing exercises. I'll let you know how everything went and I'll have pictures to show you tomorrow if I do indeed get my black box today. Gulp.

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