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Pans and Perspective

You provide the food and I will provide the perspective." – Anton Ego, 2007

Month

January 2016

Lazy day

I was given three days off in a row.  Normally I wouldn’t complain but thats just to long.  My third day was leiu time to make up for the extra hours I had worked during the week.  I woke at half 12 and laid in bed for another 30 minutes.  I got up and took a walk to find some wifi.  After about an hour I found a small cafe.  I sat down and browsed internet articles and apps for nearly four hours.  After getting my fill, I walked back to my room and got ready for the staff party at the Shelbourne. 

The party was nice but not really my taste.  The booze was free and most of the associates used the time to get hammered.  I could barely hold conversations with them because of their heavily slurred speech.  I left early and walked back to my room where I called an early night.

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The Savage Hog Box

Two steps out the door I knew something was awry.  My nostrils were assaulted by a smoky rich aroma.  This was something unusual for Saturday afternoon.  I continued to walk towards this fabulous smell and as I neared an alleyway I was bombarded by the smell of caramelized onions.  An unmistakable smell if you remember my food memory article years ago.  In the alley was a small farmers market.  Five small tents all set up in rows with different goods ranging from bread to fruits and vegetables.  At the front of the pack was a tent billowing with smoke.  The sign read Goode Life.  When I got closer and read their menu, I was hooked instantly.  I ordered a savage Hog Box and its name surely did it justice.  About half a kilo of potatoes topped with another half kilo of carmelized onions and spit roasted pork topped with toasted crumbs, gravy, pickled beets and perfectly rendered crispy pork skin.  It was 10 euros and was one of the finest breakfasts I have had in quite some time.

I ate and slowly walked across town to the Tesco, the equivilent of Wal-mart, to buy a few items.  After I did my shopping I strolled back to my room and made my final reservation for the duration of my stay.  Most of the paycheck I so painstakingly tried to cash is gone, but it is fine.  I sat around for a little in my room before wandering out around town to find a real wifi connection.  I managed to stumble upon a internet cafe.  Usage of the terminals was 2 euro an hour so I bought two and a half hours of time.  It was a gaming cafe as well so I spent most of my time playing computer games. 

After having some fun I walked back to my room again.  I took a short nap and woke up around half eight.  I went and grabbed a burrito at a Chipotle knockoff, which was actually quite good.  Walked around town looking for some more wifi and then eventually headed back.

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Photos from dublin

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Some photos from yesterdays service.

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Goat cheese, beets, maple candied pecans, hazelnut dressing, compressed apples and micro rocket
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Foie gras and chicken liver parfait, compressed apple, apple puree, fig compote, pistachio and micro sakura
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Smoked Castletownbere (County Cork) salmon, beet puree, apple puree, lemon puree, fresh shaved fennel and radish, micro cilantro
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Bushmill-Lime cured salmon roulade, Liscannor crab salad, compressed cucumber, juniper aoili and lemon puree with micro cilantro

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Still loving it

Sorry about posting so late!!!

Upon arrival, the first task that needed completion was a white fish stock.  It was composed of just water and halibut bones simmered slowly for about an hour.  Next, green beans were blanched in boiling water until vibrantly green but still slightly crunchy to the taste.  Afterwards, 18 hours had elapsed from when the salmon roulades had started the curing process.  They were carefully unrolled and rinsed well in order to prevent any further curing.  The fish had a wonderful aroma of whisky and lime with a very subtle hint of molasses.  Once rinsed they were re-wrapped tightly to create a cylindrical shape.  Next two lobes of foie gras were deviened for a new preparation on the menu.  It will feature black garlic and a golden raisin puree.  After that I took my break.

Upon returning the first project was to devein foie gras.  The fatty liver has a series of connective tissue and bile ducts that run through it.  This can be done through various methods but one of the best is using tweezers.  Following that mussels and cockles were picked for service.  They are used in most of the fish entrees and act as garnishes.  Service time came and I was fortunate enough to participate.  Fish station is run by Brendan,  a junior sous from Down Under.  He is funny, brilliant and crass all at the same time.  He has one of the foulest mouths in the kitchen but its part of his character and he uses it well.  When things died down there was one more project.  Crab meat needed to be picked for a crab salad.  I made a crab mix similar to the one used on raw bar with the addition of fresh herbs and no chili or whole grain mustard.

Day 1 Fish station

I started off my day by making a cold compressed cucumber pickle.  It is a simple recipe that yields great results.  The tendency with traditional pickles, even cold brined, is that they lose their vibrance. But I am lucky enough to have access to a cryo-vac machine at my disposal.  Using this machine the cucumber is pickled through compression.  This forces the brine, in this case a champagne gastrique, into the cells of the cucumber giving it an almost chartruese color.  Those of you interested in testing this recipe (even without cryo-vac) can make it by combining the ingredients and brining them in the fridge.  A syrup of champagne vinegar, sugar and mustard seeds will do fine. 

My next task was to make crawfish potage.  A potage is a pureed soup with vegetables, primarily carrots, as the thickening agent.  I sweated down a combo of leeks, onion, celery stalk and carrots in whole butter then added stock and brought it to a boil.  Once the vegetables were tender, they were pureed and passed through a fine mesh strainer.  My next task was to make a whisky salmon cure.  This was a mixture of light brown sugar, salt, Bushmills, lime zest and bicarb.  The function of the baking soda is to prevent over curing of the fish.  I took my break just after.

I returned and then fabricated rouk salmon for cured roulades.  Once the sides were cleaned I rubbed them with cure and wrapped them tightly in a log shape using plastic wrap. They will cure for 18 hours and then get washed and re-wrapped.  I’ll take some pictures tomorrow.

Concluding Oyster Bar

Rather than just detailing my day I wanted to take some time to reflect on my experience during these first weeks here at the Shelbourne. 

I started (almost) late, catching myself at 12.14 in bed.  I rushed out and made it just on time.  I did my usual setup and transitioned into washing oysters for the station.  I did a quick back-up pan of shrimp and then chopped some ham for afternoon tea.  Mo, the executive sous, came to me and asked for 80 oysters for an event later in the evening.  My total time was 30 minutes with change.  Based on my last session of 15 minutes for 25 oysters, my speed had increased by nearly 30%.  Just after I finished the ham mix and then gathered ice for the action station.  A group had rented out the entire bar and lounge for a party. The function had a sliced smoked salmon station that I was asked to run.  The function started at half six and went to close.

I managed to gather a lot of knowledge during my time on oyster bar.  Day 1, I learned a new way to open oysters.  My general knowledge about shellfish increased.  During my time I improved my opening speed overall as well.  I picked up a handful of new recipes such as the lobster thermidor and Guinness oysters.  There were a lot of meticulous tasks that I didn’t enjoy, most of which were afternoon tea prep.  It was a quick 2 weeks but I enjoyed it thoroughly.

My time in raw bar is nearing the end.  I was told to come in at 12.30 for my setup since the restaraunt was so slow.  Once complete I made the crab mix for the cocktail.  I had picked the meat yesterday so the assembly was quick and easy.  Next I prepareed some juillenne iceberg and followed that up with tomato petals.  I did it using the par boiling method and it took signfigantly less time.  Shortly after I diced shallots and made a back-up container of shallot vinegar.  I was asked my the afternoon tea crew to make some sliced cherry tomatoes as well.  I did 10 boxes and then went on break.

Service was slow so when I got back I peeled potatos for meat station.  My last task before I left was smoked salmon for afternoon tea.  I managed to get a lot of tasks completed during an even shorter shift.

Many people were scheduled off so I was in charge of oyster bar.  I did the setup and then sliced more smoked salmon for afternoon tea.  The station was running low on tomato concasse so that was the next task.  Afterwards pantry station and I cleaned out the main walk in.  I did another small batch off egg mayo and then took my break.

Dinner service was steady but not busy.  I managed to pick some crab meat during this time as well as peel a case of potatoes.  We had five on the supper menu and it felt good to be able to step in and help plate everything.
We have 30 for lunch and dinner so it should be slow tommorow.  Will advise.

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