So Tuesday night I hustled out of work, ridiculous as it was and I walked a few blocks in a wool jacket to this nondescript place @ 12th street on the West side. First of all I was looking for the wrong number and it was about 75 degrees in my jacket. I so did not want to walk any further. Also I had my clothes, tools and my knives. I am dangerous when I am hot and angry. 🙂
So I entered and went down stairs to the front room and then I peered into the kitchen. My host was a little oger-ish and scary. I asked him where to change and he said, change in the bathroom. So much for travelling light. I was wondering where I would rest my 1001 bags, in the bathroom. I am grossed out by those kinds of things. So the bathroom was relatively clean, as the place had not been overrun by people as yet. I had to store my things in the coat closet.
I found Chef and he was not as imposing as I thought. He was a nice guy who seemed patient. You will see why. I met another kid from ICE (my school) and he was older, already with almost grown kids. I was glad. The kitchen was small but very cozy. It was James Beards’ kitchen and it was a little country. It was traditional with the kitchen being on the lowest level and you could walk out to the back.
There was a whole bunch of people and only after an hour there did I decipher the team. So I got a task immediately. I was eager to help or else I would essentially be waiting time and have taken up a covet spot. So I had to make this thing in a spoon. It had fish, come to find out (after deduction and reading the names on the back of the shirts of the workers, and hearing the chef say it a few times) it was bass, seviche style. It smelled of strong lemon/citrus scent and it looked milky. So I filled the Chinese spoons (the ones you use for won ton soup) with a few pieces of fish and then later topped it with pico de gallo, and finally a piece of orange. It was pretty. It was to be one of the passed appetizers. There was not nearly enough room in the refrigerators. There was one with trays and only a few pieces so I put the second smaller tray in there.
After that Chef asked me to make some empanadas. There was ground bison, with scallions filling. I filled the shells and got them ready for frying. At the same time some pulled pork came out of the oven and also some arepas. I was ready to do work but the chef put a plate together for us, arepas with pulled pork, on the side was tomatillo. He added a cooked empanada. It was good eating and it tasted great. I got a chance to talk to the guy from my school, with the last name Orchart. I cannot remember his first name for the life of me. He let me know that he is somewhat of a regular. He gave me the low down on the place, even a little tour and then he talked about the help.
After the break, we started again and Chef Lamas (yes he has a name) gave us a run down of the plates we would use and the dance for the evening. The little alleyway in the kitchen would be used for us and the guests. I love dancing.
Menu for the Evening
Empanadas (bison meat)
Ahi Tuna with a shot of something
Arepas with pulled pork
Black Bean soup (topped with a zig zag of sour cream, a wedge of cheese that floated, chopped bacon and a ciloantro stem and leaf)
Seafood Broth (mussels, seared scallop, a shrimp, broth made of coconut and ginger and this oil I put in the plates for color) DELICIOUS-the broth, it was hot and flavorful
Skirt Steak, baby potatoes, with some pico de gallo and some sauce
Dessert was a banana rolled in thing sheets, deep fried, baked, and then put on a plate with a brown syrup, and berries. We stuck these larger than life pieces of mint leaves in the banana. It was like a little palm tree on some of them.
So before we were ready to plate my creation, I showed Chef the fridge and he said nothing, not even realizing until we were in the light, that the “fridge” was a FREEZER. I had frozen the fish appetizer. I was calm though as I knew there was more and I could make them twice as fast now and knew the drill. Chef agreed as I jumped to do it. Wow, ass whooping/cut tail/beating avoided.
So the dance was fun. Plating is the most important once the food is cooked, which in this case, it was done earlier and sitting in a warming place. The meat was done on the spot as you cannot really let meat sit for hours in the heat. It will just overcook.
With the soup, we had everyone doing a job like an assembly line, sort of, as this kitchen was a square with a 3 sided island. (In the box and around the box were your choices) We had a time limit and all. In order to keep all people eating at the same time and not eating every minute there was a kitchen manager who told us when to move to the next course.
It was a fun first time. The food was excellent and hearty. The Chef’s team was young but fun guys, who seem to work well together. It is unlike an office where you can just do your work and hide and keep the interaction to a minimum. In a kitchen, team work is necessary all the time and you better learn to get along.
Okay so next time you are in Louisville Kentucky, check out Seviche Restaurant.
Enjoy life and eat well!