Monday, October 31, 2016

Plane, Coach, Bus, Van, Car

Today was a day full of travelling - a flight, then an aircoach, then a bus ride, then a van, then a car until I reached my final destination. It took all day but eventually I made it and am settling in to my new home away from home for the next seven months. I also got a look around where I will be working and met a few people.
I also got treated to supper in the restaurant where I will be working, but I opted just for a started so I could get settled in earlier.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

And Back To The Bottom of the Ladder

Today I am beginning my journey to start a new job. I will be overseas working as a commis chef in a five star hotel from November 1st until May 19th. The hotel does breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea and has both a bar and a house restaurant that holds one Michelin star. I am very excited and somewhat nervous to begin this new opportunity, but I am sure it will be worthwhile! 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Some Food From The Trip

polenta and cheese filled tomatoes with fresh peas
at a Spanish restaurant

Main course vegetarian version, salad, and soup from a
competition lunch 

dessert from a competition lunch

my favorite...eis schokolade (iced chocolate)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Chocolate Museum

Today I visited a chocolate museum, which is of course, one of the top things on my list of fun/interesting/pleasurable things to do! This museum was quite large, with lots of information on chocolate; from the growing, cultivating and farming of the cocoa beans, to the production of different percentages of chocolate. There were a lot of displays of chocolates, packages, equipment, and machinery; as well as interactive games and stories. The best samples. Ok, maybe the gift shop. No, possibly the in-house cafe!!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

On The Road Again

For the next few days I will be taking a few days rest from my trying summer of Olympic endeavors and recuperating before beginning a brand new job. I am taking this time to visit relatives while still in the country. I am certainly glad I booked this few 'free days' for myself!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Olympic Trip Day 12

The final day of this adventure, and all that was left were the closing ceremonies and some tough good-byes. We found out today that not only did our team win double gold medals, but we also came in fourth place among the regional teams, with only 2.5 points difference between us and first place!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Olympic Trip Day 11

I am so so so so SO happy, excited and proud to announce that our team won DOUBLE GOLD MEDALS!!!!!!! A gold medal in culinary and a gold medal in pastry, the highest ranking a team can get. We are so proud and over the moon that all our hard work finally paid off and we accomplished what we sent off to do!

I cannot even describe the feeling we got when the announcement was made and we definitely didn't try to hide our joy. I was shaking, laughing, and bawling all at the same time. So much hard work and stress finally lifted off my shoulders, and having that gold medal placed around my neck - nothing could have felt better!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Olympic Trip Day 10

Today after the stress release of being done our competition, we got to go to the show to see some of the other competitions. We ate a three course hot lunch prepared by national teams, then looked at cold food displays, and chocolate, sugar, fondant, and bread sculptures. Some of the work was absolutely incredibly and mind-blowing. Then we had a nice three course team dinner together at a nice restaurant in town. 
pumpkin carving

vegetable plate

buffet platter

sculpture made entirely of bread dough

sugar sculpture

fondant model

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Olympic Trip Day 9

Today was a very busy day. It began at midnight, where we were continuing our overnighter. At midnight we were still glazing our food items, then moving on to burning and plating them. We gently and securely packed up the vans with our plates and held the delicate garnishes on our laps; then departed our kitchen site at 3:45a.m. to travel the forty minutes on the highway to the competition site (our kitchen facilities were in a separate town and although this may sound impractical, it really is the best and most efficient way to get our food ready for the comp). We had the air conditioning on in the car to keep the food cold and to keep us awake, and carried on pointless conversations to stay alert. 

We arrived at the site and spent a long time in the line up of vans, trucks, and large buses to get to park near the loading zone, which is why we left so early. We finally got in and had two hours to set up our table. Luckily we had been permitted to set-up the display and menu cards and tablecloth the night before and had taken advantage of that opportunity, and all our food had already been plated, so it was just a matter of placing on last minute garnishes and placing the plates on the table. We had five people working on the table and three runners to bring stuff back and forth to the vans. 

At 7:00a.m. when the table displays had to be done we returned to clean up the kitchen then got a couple hours to nap before returning to the show to hear our critiques and see some of the show.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Olympic Trip Day 8

Tonight is our over-nighter day. We are going into the kitchen at 7:45a.m. and staying for a couple of hours or so or as long as we need to until our food is complete and ready to glaze. Then we will go back to the hotel to nap for a few hours, come back into the kitchen at 3:00p.m. and begin glazing all the food in a gelatin glaze (which preserves the food during display). Glazing all the food for 12 plates, 32 finger foods, 32 petit fours, a buffet platter, and a salad with three coats, plus the extra pieces (in order to ensure there is one PERFECT piece), plus burning the excess glaze off the food, then plating the food, takes approximately twelve hours. Then we have to oh so carefully transport the food from the kitchen to the next town to the event area and set up and have everything ready by 7:00a.m. It's a loooonng day (and night).

Please wish us luck!!!!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Olympic Trip Day 7

Today started out as incredibly frustrating and ended as incredibly exciting. In the morning it seemed as if NONE of my stuff today was working out, and half the stuff I did yesterday hadn't been successful and I was taking a long time to complete jobs that still weren't perfect, and I was in the weeds and waaayyy behind. I had to take extra time to redo several items. But by the end of the day, I got everything done just as I wanted it.

After work, we attended the opening ceremonies which was very exciting - seeing all the participating countries parade in and seeing the most people dressed in chef whites in one place I have ever seen before!!
little chef puff bean a teammate and I got for dancing
to the entry songs for each country like goons :)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Olympic Trip Day 6

Today was an extra long day - twelve hours in the kitchen with one five minute break. I spent the vast majority of the day cutting, peeling, shaping, choosing, blanching, charring, and storing vegetables, vegetables, and more vegetables. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Olympic Trip Day 5

Today was a bit of a long and frustrating day for me. It was another day going hard at prep, and a few things didn't work out for me today. We prep all day. and after that there isn't time for much else except getting some food and a good night of rest.

At least there are adorable goats outside the kitchen that are always excited to see us...especially when we come bearing food scraps :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Olympic Trip Day 4

First real day of prepping and what a long, frustrating day it was. We prepped from 9am - 6pm and getting used to the kitchen, where everything was stored, the different ingredients, and trying to adapt our recipes to fit what we had to work with proved to be a challenging start.

Vegetable Gratin

stunning pink dragonfruit

Monday, October 17, 2016

Olympic Trip Day 3

Today we drove into the next city to get a feel for where we would be shopping for food, attending opening and closing ceremonies, and displaying our food. Then we got to explore the city for a few hours - going into lots of bakeries, cafes, eiscafes, looking at old buildings, enjoying the beautiful and warm sunny day!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Olympic Trip Day 2

Today we went into the kitchen early to unpack all of our equipment and plates (and make sure none were broken), set-up stations, and receive all our food, put it away, and check lists five times to ensure we had everything. There was a lot of downtime before we get into the full swing of prepping things tomorrow, and we got to play fooseball on the table in the kitchen and see the dog and goats on the property. In the evening we went for supper at a local restaurant.
Salad with potato dumplings

Spinach and blue cheese dumplings

Delicious chocolate mousse cake

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Olympic Trip Day 1

Today was a long day, arriving in the early morning after an overnight flight. Then a long drive to the hotel, then a long wait until our room was ready, then a refreshing nap and shower. Then exploring the small town by foot with teammates and going out for a pizza supper!
First flight - leaving home

Arriving & leaving airport

Our destination

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Culinary Olympics

Big announcement time! This news has become common knowledge to both my loved ones and people I don't know very well at all, but for those of you who don't know...I am going to the World Culinary Olympics Competition tomorrow! Way back at the beginning of the year I was chosen as a member of our regional culinary olympic team. We trained Monday - Friday; 7:00a.m. - 2:00p.m.; May 16th - October 7th. This is where I have been working all summer, with another job on top. It has been very stressful at times, and extremely busy, but tomorrow is the day we travel to the competition. I am so excited and nervous at the same time! I won't share too many details in regards to the actual competition today, but I hope I will get a chance to post some updates along the way!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Apple Crumble Muffins

Apple Crumble Muffins
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups non-dairy milk
3 Tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3 apples, finely chopped, peeled or not
leftover apple crumble topping, as desired

Preheat oven to 400°F; grease muffin tins.
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix wet ingredients in a separate vessel.
Add wet to dry and mix well. Batter will be lumpy.
Mix in chopped apple.
Pour into muffin tins and top with crumble.
Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ice Cream Birthday Cake

This was an ice cream friend we devoured recently to celebrate my roommate's birthday. It was M&M chocolate-coated candy flavored. It was very good. It consisted of the typical vanilla soft serve, chocolate ice cream, chocolate fudge crunch, whipped cream icing, chocolate drizzle, and piping gel. Sometimes, there's just nothing like a good classic ice cream cake.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


S'mores was another action station at the golf club tournament. It consisted of marshmallow roasted on site in a smoker, warm milk chocolate sauce, warm caramel sauce, and graham cracker crumbs. Delicious and sweet! This was certainly a popular station.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pork Belly & Mash

This was one of the action stations placed on the gold course event. It is easy to do to order and do in large quantities.

1. Brined, smoked, confit, seared pork belly
2. Creamy, buttery, mashed potatoes
3. Sweet apple cider gastrique

A piece of pork belly is brined overnight, double-smoked at a cool temperature for a long period of time, slowly cooked confit in fat, then seared until crispy. It is placed on a pile of creamy, smooth mashed potatoes and drizzle with an apple reduction sauce.