Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Toshiba, Radiology and Peking Duck

I had yesterday off but decided to go in last night from 6-8:30 for a banquet party for 1000 guests. Yes, that's one thousand. Although it didn't seem like there were that many guests there but I'm a bad judge of that kind of stuff.

This was not a holiday party. Toshiba apparently gives this cocktail party to radiologists as a fancy schmancy sell job to encourage the doctors to use their radiology products. Quite a spread for these guys (and few gals). I think the revenue generated from the party was around $120,000 for the hotel (based on what the Executive Sous Chef told us). Absurd for one nights work.

Considering that one months paycheck from the Ritz-Carlton does not even cover my rent, I figure the extra money couldn't hurt. I need to pay for the pitchers of beer we would be enjoying later than evening, right?

The second I arrived, the manager of the event showed me where my station was. I was in a corner next to another Garde Manger member who would be preparing the same dish. A chafing dish with a steamer of tortillas was to our right, with a small bowl of green onions, another small bowl of hoisin sauce below. Right in from of us was a cutting board with heat lamps and to the left of us was a larger chafing dish with peking duck. I really wanted to try one, but the instant I was prepped and ready to go, the guests started flowing in.

I had a server assigned to me to maintain my ingredients and he warned me that last year, peking duck was the most popular item. He suggested that I start making some finished product as soon as possible. I listened and started spreading, plopping, and rolling to get myself a small pile for the initial rush. The initial rush finished at 8:30 when I ran clear out of absolutely everything. The tortillas were the first to go but people were not deterred. They would settle for a pile of duck with scallions and hoisin on their plate or napkin. Once the scallions and hoisin disappeared, people kept eyeing the crispy duck skin sitting in the chafing dish. Not at all embarrassed by their request, the crispy skin quickly vanished as well.

I didn't even know what else was being served to these vultures of doctors. The other team member were working a risotto station and beyond that, whenever I tried to look up and see what else was around, the long peking duck line blocked my view and resumed to spreading, plopping, and rolling.

The time flew by and soon enough, a few of us were in a bar enjoying some pitchers by the train stations.

Another day off today and then at least four days work.

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