Cooking School Journal: The Vote

I arrived in class just as the wine tasting course was about to begin.

I brought my food to the TA’s. They had lists and food everywhere. They jotted my name onto the bottom of the list. They wanted to know what I was serving, how they should prepare it and how I wished them to present it.

On top of the covered sheet pan of bacon-wrapped dates sat the platter I chose from home and the e-mail correspondence I had with Suzanne Goin. I felt totally solid about it.

For the rustic mushroom cups I had the filled mini muffin tin, but no recipe or instructions. Time was short since our lecturer was getting ready to begin. I grabbed a piece of scrap paper and quickly wrote: Bake mushroom cups at 400 degrees for ten minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly.  Top with a shave of Parmesan and a sprig of fresh thyme.

They nodded, and I quickly found an open seat next to NGL.

Before the lecturer began Chef got up and began discussing our final. Jesus! I’m in the middle of my damn midterm! And we’re already talking about the final?

Our final is a banquet. We will invite our families to The Sherwood Country Club for several courses of beautiful and delicious food. That sounded great to me. I couldn’t wait to go, but then I started getting the gist.

We were DOING the banquet.

We had to come up with 6 courses to prep, cook and present. Oh sh*t!  That seemed so daunting after all the stress I went through over thirty bacon-wrapped dates and thirty “rustic” mushroom cups, that I began to feel nauseated.

We’re screwed.


We voted on the Executive Chef. Four people nominated themselves: NGL (well actually, Alice, Ashley, Sabrina and I put him up to it. (He was reluctant but smiling), Bridget the bitchy Brit who was rolling her eyes at me at the Wednesday class, Bigfoot (No, I’m not kidding), and Amber.

Amber lives two blocks away. Her kids went to the same school as mine (she has the same spread, but hers are thirteen years older. She plays Bunko with Lucy’s teacher, so I’m always nice to her.  But, she’s too direct and talks too much, and I always feel like she’s putting me down).

They each gave a campaign speech.

Lance’s was very informative, concise and exactly to the point. Just what I want in a leader.

Bridget the Brit Bitch gave an endearing speech about being working class, coming to America, blah blah blah… she’s devoted the last ten years to her kids (sounds familiar). Now it’s time for her to do something for herself (I hear that). She was apprehensive to start this course because she was afraid that she might learn that food was not something she was good at (I reached to my bag for a tissue). Being the Chef de Cuisine for this banquet would teach her so much and finally give her the recognition she’s been longing for (I almost had to excuse myself).

So maybe she’s not so bad.

For a Brit.

Bigfoot said (and I’m paraphrasing), “Just in case you didn’t get it that I’m really crazy, I’m going to blabber on for a really long time about crazy things that confuse you and make you feel really uncomfortable… and bored.”

Never stops talking

Never stops talking

Then Amber spoke. She basically said that she was just going for this job because the Brit refused to do it without her. She has catered events from 100 to 2000. She’s comfortable creating menus and analyzing them logistically regarding prep time and difficulty in presentation. She has years in the industry and has a great relationship with the hotel and feels very solid about producing an event there.

Well, I thought, there’s no way in hell I’m voting for her. If she’s catered events for 2000 people than what the hell is she doing here in this little class?

The nominees left and we cast secret ballots.

I was front row, so when they counted them, I could actually read them. Bridget got the most.

It was close between Amber and NGL, I was starting to get nervous. Oh please God let it be NGL.

The final nominee, Bigfoot, had one vote. I’m surmising that it was her own, but you never know.

The winners were announced: NGL and The Brit were our Chefs De Cuisine.