Monday, July 4, 2011

First Practice Dinner

The Chefs were in by 8:00, I joined them at 9:00.  It was a tough one getting up and I stopped to check email and do some organizing before I rolled.  Was not able to bike in since I knew there were a few holes I was going to need to fill from Kroger and riding a bike with four gallons of milk is a silly proposition. We brought in some of the AM cooks to get us a jump on the prep.  We were closed two days for Red, White and Boom, which is the annual fireworks display in Columbus and is in our front yard.  Catching up from being closed  can be a bitch so we were at a run most of the day.

One of my favorite things in Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook is the prep list at the end.  It is all scribbles and on a beat piece of paper.  It is also one of the more authentic artifacts from what I have seen of restaurant life.  Late night post 14 hour shift, beer, the back side of a menu and a note to the guy coming in in the morning.

So with the prep cruising along we, the management team sat down for "pit stop".  Many of us are Cameron Mitchell alums and this is a hold over from that time.  We went over the last few days and talked about what to do if the printers don't work (they did), what glasses were getting cleaned in the bar and which in the tank.  Pretty mundane stuff.  The Chef's cut out early and jumped back on prep.  I was shooting for about 20 of everything.  we were expecting 150pp and it seemed like nothing was going to push past 20.  Walleye needed to be cut, Pollack needed to be marinated, cakes to be frosted, lemon parfaits assembled.  I still needed to set up expo, make soup of the day (Watermelon Gazpacho with Avocado and Shrimp) and really get my mind set.

Vicente was on Saute, Nick (our Sous Chef you can see him in the background) was working grill because I had a few cooks out for a wedding.  Lilly, who wont pose for a picture, does not have a computer or the internet and seems pretty happy about that was working with Nick.  Out front Matt had Eric and Cesar. 

Myself (Christian) and Stacy were going to Expo.  I get little tickets out of a printer and coordinate the cooks activities by calling out orders, while Stacy receives the plates from them wipes the rims and gets servers to run them to guests.

About ten minuets before service I changed the presentation on the calamari. My friends in Georgia might recognize some aspects of this one.  Deep Fried Calamari and Jalapenos with Oranges, Cilantro and Sweet Thai Chili Sauce.  I had the boxes and wanted to find a spot for them on the menu.  One of our themes is the park so this makes me think of getting carryout and eating it in the park.  
A stretch? Maybe but it is fun and makes me Happy.

 After the Pollack was marinated (Ginger, Garlic, Scallions, Sambal, Lime, Nuac Mam and Sesame Oil) it was battered in Tempura and served with Diakon Radish Slaw, Siracha Mayo and there is a wedge of Lime skewered on top for squeezing.
  229 Burger- Ohio Proud Beef, Roasted Peppers, Mornay, Bread and Butter Pickles and Fried Onions

Three Little Pigs- Seared Belly, Pulled Pork and Really Good Bacon with Slaw, Pickles and BBQ

The Mac and Cheese comes in a skillet and is served with Bacon, Scallions and Tomatoes as garnish.  There is a bit of panko on top as well.  The boys had the salamander (that is what we call the broiler like thinnk you can see behind Vicente above) kicking and this one got darker and less uniformly toasted then one might have wished for but there you have it.

This is a real simple banana pudding that went over with all but one person who did not like the jar.  As you will see below I am a big fan of the jar so it is unliklely that I am getting rid of it now.  I actually had a group of ladies who ordered five to go and we sent them home with the mason jars with lids on them.  Really cool perp.

As you can see another jar.  It is a bit different then the other one so I am going to run with it.  Lemon Parfait- Lemon Curd, Whipped Cream, Lemon Soaked Pound Cake and Blueberries.  Gotta Like Lemon for this one.

Service went well.  Ticket times were good, only one recook.  There were some issues with salt.  I have some issues with salt which I will try to tone down.  There were a few Plates that still need some work but overall really a great first practice.  So at 11:00 the cooks went home, at 11:30 the chefs said good night and by 11:45 just shy of 15 hours I checked with Danielle and Stacy who were working on Liquor Inventory and left for the day.  No note for the AM guy, no menu to scribble on, but I am rolling back in this morning to check on things and get the whole thing started back up.  Christian


  1. I have to say that I'm amazed by your food and am proud to serve it...Milestone Proud

    Anyway, just wanted you to know I appreciate the updates. Take a look at the tables outside when you get a chance. Hopefully you find them worthy of your food!


  2. Looks good, are you planning on having any gluten-free options?

  3. April- I saw you sanding tables on Sunday. I am not sure how to express my admiration for the level of commitment you have shown. I really look forward to our opening and to creating true "Raving Fans" of both you and the guests you come into contact with. At some point in the future I would like to cook for you. Maybe after we have been open for awhile you and Charline, Mindy and her husband can come in for a tasting menu. I will pull out all the stops. Christian

    To Virtual Driver- The way that I approach all issues such as Gluten Free or allergies is to modify what it is we are doing to suit the needs of the guest. Please let your server know of any concerns you have and at the moment we will present the options we have that are currently gluten free and those things which we can modify to accommodate your needs. Christian

  4. is kevin from cmr-kj? and did you ever work at M?

  5. Yes to both. KJ has moved out of the kitchen and is GM. and I was Exec Sous at M and then Chef at Martini. CMH

  6. Hope all is weel with U2. Good luck from Chef DD.