“People are too stubborn to see what’s right in front of them. That’s just the way life is.” -Chef Erik Wicklund

Today……was intense. There was a huge party who only wanted a bunch of hors d’oeuvres and Dan was not in today to be my form of comic relief when needed and I feared I was going to do something terribly wrong and the restaurant would get shut down because of me.

To save you from panic, let me just tell you, that did not happen.

Also, in sad news, my camera was not turning on today and I’m hoping it is just because the battery died and not because something is really wrong with it. That would be really sad…..:(

Let me try to sum up exactly what I had to do today.

  1. Scrape the outer layer off of a wheel of brie with the back of my knife, cut brie into cubes, set aside.
  2. Using a very small circle-shaped cookie cutter, slice a seedless cucumber into 16 pieces and cut out a small circle leaving no outer dark green, set aside.
  3. Make butterscotch bread pudding from scratch.

-First, brown sugar sauce. 4 quarts of heavy cream, 5 pounds of butter, 8 pounds of light brown sugar, 4 cups of corn syrup. Place all ingredients in a huge saucepan and heat until all sugar has melted.

– Make custard. Which meant to first separate 96 eggs. Yes, thats right, I needed 96 egg yolks. That was fun. Put more heavy cream on the stove, bring to a boil, add a lot of butterscotch chips to cream and stir til melted. Somehow figure out a way to make my little arms strong by picking up the pan and, while whisking with one hand, slowly add the cream to the egg yolks with the other. NOTE: Definitely not strong enough. The first attempt about a cup and a half of the butterscotch cream ended up everywhere. Think, Sam, think. Aha! A ladle. Ladles are light. I realized in that moment that I can thank Johnson and Wales. I normally would have given up, cried, and left, but at Johnson and Wales you make mistakes and ask your teacher how to fix it. Although mistakes are allowed at my internship, I was proud that I knew how to quickly fix the problem on my own. Add 8 cups of butterscotch schnapps and 28 cups of the brown sugar sauce. Custard achieved.

4. Make maple- almond paste cheesecake batter.

5. Manually butter over 50 little tin cups to hold both the butterscotch bread puddings and cheesecakes.

6. Slice brioche for bread pudding, put in tins, bake off.

7. Add two packets of Sugar in the Raw to each mini tin for cheesecakes. Fill with batter, bake off.

8. Mince mango and chiffonade basil and mint. Mix together. (I’m still not even sure what he used that for).

9. Bake off the goat cheese crusted racks of lamb and the puff pastry stuffed with braised short ribs that the kitchen worked on all day simultaneously for the party who DID NOT EVEN EAT IT. They all must have been birds out there. I was quite irritated that all the hard work the kitchen put in was not even enjoyed by the party.

Doing all of this while dealing with a really stressed out executive chef was quite scary for the first time. I got yelled at a couple of times, which I had been warned about, but he also apologized endless times, which I had also been pre-informed about. Long story short, what started to be behind schedule, ended up with us catching up and even getting ahead of ourselves. One of the chefs named Billy pointed at me and said to chef, “Isn’t she wonderful?”. I got all warm and fuzzy inside. I was really happy with the effort I put in today and hope that I proved to Chef Erik that I am not just a little girl with blonde hair batting her eyelashes.

Work again in the morning, than off Saturday and Sunday! I hope I can get my camera back to business….



Filed under Napa Valley Grille Internship

2 responses to ““People are too stubborn to see what’s right in front of them. That’s just the way life is.” -Chef Erik Wicklund

  1. Sammyroo's Dad

    Even without the camera, your words made pictures in my head!! Great post – I could really feel the pressure you were dealing with; and don’t forget where else you learned to deal with pressure – SOCCER!!

  2. Yeah, chefs can be crazy. In JNA, they will yell at you and not care. lol. It’s like the army.

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