Monday, November 07, 2005

My First Sunday Brunch

For some bizzare reason, my husband volunteered to drive me down to work at 6:45 AM. The hotel was expecting over 200 guests for brunch this morning and the Garde Manger contribution was significant. This week's brunch also seemed to kick off the holiday season. The numbers will probably grow from 200 until January. In my opinion, it's such an insane day because when we put out our dishes, each one only serves about 20-25 guests. So the waitstaff is constantly rushing back to our department to refill the dishes. On the one hand, its a lot more work for them, but on the other hand, the food looks so much more attractive when its displayed for such a small amount. It's thought to make 200 Chicken breasts on one platter look appealing.

So I teamed up with another team member and basically shadowed him in the morning. I really want to feel more comfortable with what I'm doing and learn their style before I just do my own thing. So we were prepping the seafood display. This involved thawing shrimp, shucking oysters, making lemon garnishes, and some other things. Nothing too exciting. Next, we were on to finish the kids menu. We made some ham and cheese sandwiches on crossiants, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and and filled so "A-cups" with muesilix that were topped with a raspberry. Next up was dish of cous cous with curried chicken and yogurt mint sauce. The cous cous base was made so we just doctored it up with some currants, dried apricots, raisins almonds, and a chiffonade of basil. We tossed the pasta with a pear vinaigrette. The chicken breasts were cooked the day before so we just had to slice those on a bias. We plattered four chicken dishes and garnishes the dish with basil. Nice and simple. The rest of the menu included:
  • Gazpacho Shots garnished with brunoise of Avocado and a jumbo shrimp
  • Cauliflower Soup with American Caviar
  • Chilled Slow-Roasted Salmon with Lemon Caper Aioli
  • Garlic Glazed Sirloin with Grilled Asparagus and Beefsteak Tomatoes
  • Spinach Salad with citrus Mandarin, pomegranate seeds, and Red onion
  • Frisee Salad with haricot verte, prosciutto and Parmesan
  • Field greens Salad with Candied Pecans and Slivered Honey Crisp Apples
  • Three Juices: Tropical Blend, Granny Smith, Beet Celery

In addition to the changing menu each Sunday, there is also the seafood display and a monstrous cheese display.

The actual menu is made up by the sous chef the Wednesday before each brunch and each person on the team seems to be assigned to one or two dishes. Beyond that, its all up to the individuals for how to present it and how to make it more creative.

There is so much I can learn from my team and it really seems overwhelming. Their creativity comes so easily to them and I hope down the line, it will for me also.

After the brunch rush ended, we all thought it was time to go home. We started cleaning up and then we kept getting in orders for that day. I put together a cheese platter, make tea sandwiches, made a horseradish cream sauce, and ugh...more salmon canapies.

I forget when I took my lunch break and it turns out I stayed a half hour longer than I was scheduled for. But the day went by quickly because there was so much going on. I enjoyed this day the most so far and look forward to next Sunday for more great ideas.

I left work at 4:15ish and called my husband. Turns out he was at the Penninsula Hotel not far from the Ritz, having tea with his uncle who was in town for the day. Amazingly, I still had some energy left in me and I scurried over to the hotel that was only 4 blocks away. Ahhh...To sit down in a hotel as a guest was an absolutely phenomenal experience.

I got home and treated myself to a big bubble bath with an ever bigger bowl of cookies n'cream ice cream. I have Monday and Tuesday off. My schedule for next week is Wednesday through Saturday 8-4:30 and Sunday 7-3:30. See you on Wednesday!

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