Monday, January 21, 2013

Cooking for a Crowd

by: Melissa Grindle

This past Friday was our internship Theme Meal at Riderwood Village.  We spend 6 weeks at this location learning about food service and developing our kitchen skills.

It takes roughly four weeks to completely plan, market, price, and develop the menu for the theme meal.  We are told to plan for 100 - 120 residents to attend the meal, and with that forecast we can begin to prepare.  But, first you must pick a theme!  Wendy and I decided on Caribbean Cruise theme meal to warm us up in the middle of winter.  We featured foods such as Rum Cake, Coconut Chickpea Curry, Red Beans and Rice, and Chili Lime Grilled Steak.

The Pre-Sale Tickets

While both of us would claim to have decent kitchen skills, translating those skills to a commercial kitchen is completely different.  Spices do not just multiply and baking becomes more complicated in large quantities.  Keeping this in mind, we more than welcomed the help from the chef and kitchen manager of the Windsor Dining Room.

Selling pre-sale tickets for our meal

The Tuesday before the meal (the meal being Friday afternoon) is when all the prep starts!  The creation of our production schedule was probably the most helpful portion of our prep.  We knew each day the tasks ahead and approximately how long it would take us to complete.  Chopping, grilling, and baking took place for at least 8 hours each day.  Not only did we have kitchen work, but we also decorated the dining room to feel like to dining room on a cruise ship.

Our favorite decoration - Inflatable Palm Trees!

So how did it all turn out?  Well according to the residents, we believe it was a huge success!  Of course day  of chaos occurred, but when you have 14 things to do at one time, when wouldn't that happen?  With a great crew, internship partner, and support system, our theme meal was an event never to forget!

Wendy and I with our Kitchen Manager - Jason

What I'll take away from this rotation is how much goes into just one meal.  We fed just a quarter of the people the kitchen feeds daily, yet the preparation that goes into just that was outstanding.  I will forever have a respect for the daily endeavors of the kitchen staff as a future dietitian.

1 comment:

  1. This was simply amazing. Considering you do not think you cook very well - the curry was simply incredible! ok and so were the desserts!