Yesterday was a special day for Pierre, his family, and for me. From a earlier post [Chef Ryan on the Hot! Seat, June 30, 2012] you know our son Ryan has attended the Culinary School at Manchester Bidwell for the past year. Over the past months, he has made a great friend named Pierre, also attending the school.
In that earlier post, you also know that each student gets to have a day where they are the “Executive Chef” for the day. In effect, they plan an entire meal, supervising its preparation and service. When I attended Ryan’s day in the Hot! seat, I had a blast witnessing these young chef’s doing their very best to make their day a Hot! Day. It was quite impressive.
I’ve also enjoyed getting to know Pierre during his visits to our home with Ryan, and I was truly honored to be invited to partake of the meal he planned for his Challenge Day at the Institute.
Like the others, Pierre has been planning for this challenge for weeks. Prior to his assigned Challenge Day, he was responsible for selecting and creating the recipes for the multicourse menu he chose. He then collaborated with the professional staff chefs to order, purchase and cost out the ingredients for the menu items. He created a detailed workplan and timeline for the 14 or so student chefs that would be under his guidance for the day as they prepared, cooked, sauced and served the meal to about 20 or so people. Yesterday, Pierre had to lead and guide the student chefs through the execution phase of the dinner and be ready to serve it at precisely 2:30 pm.
The most daunting element of the Challenge is that the students and professional staff rate the meal and his performance as the head chef for the day. There’s nothing more challenging than having to tell people what to do in a multi-tasking environment, and then have the workers who performed the tasks critique the outcomes.
Yesterday, I arrived a little earlier than I had planned, and had a chance to see Pierre in the last stages of executing his responsibilities. He did not seem the least bit nervous or rattled. Pierre always seems to have this big ole’ smile that just beams ear-to-ear, and it was there in full bloom yesterday. He appeared in-control and confident that the team of student chefs had performed admirably and expertly to create his menu exactly as he desired.
Pierre invited me to join his Dad, Mom, Grandfather and younger sister at the family table. I was again delighted for this honor. We had a wonderful time admiring Pierre’s performance and chatting while all the great stuff was happening around us. His Grandfather, also named Pierre, has a smile like Pierre and he didn’t stop beaming the whole time. He could not have been more proud of his grandson.
At one point, I caught Pierre’s Mom shedding a few tears. That’s OK Mom–we understand the softer side of pride from our Mom’s–it’s what makes us Guys human beings. Dads show pride in a different ways. In this case, Pierre’s Dad totally consumed every morsel of food we were served. There is no bigger compliment than that! And his sister and I agreed the soup was the star of the meal, although it was all fantastic!! A little later, Pierre’s girlfriend joined us, and I’m thinking she’s pretty happy to see she is dating a Hot! Guy. Oh yeah!
Of course, I took pictures, knowing I’d blog this special event in Pierre’s road to graduation. I even asked them to prepare another plate of salad because I had forgotten to take a picture in my haste to dig in when it got served.
The plating was terrific, the food tasted fresh and healthy, and the menu items worked well together to create a great tasting dinner!! Dessert was even a flaming specialty to make sure we ended Pierre’s meal on a Hot! note. Compliments were flowing freely among the student chefs and the professional staff chefs, because they were pleased with the outcome knowing they had each contributed much to the dinner.
Ryan and Pierre have come a long way since beginning Culinary School, and we couldn’t be more proud of what they have accomplished, and of the potential they both have as Chef’s in their newly found career. Pretty cool (or should I say Hot!) to be a young person with a lifetime of mastering recipes, creating menus and learning cooking techniques before them.