Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Taste of the Caribbean

Last sunday we arrived to El Conquistador Hotel in Fajardo and we met Ms. Wanda Piña. The work we had to do that day was transforming the Pablo Casals ballroom into a kitchen. The first surprise of the day was finding out that we will work close to Chef Augustos. Pheww!! that man really works :). We helped him to set the tables and cover them with proper lines then plastic. After that we equally distributed all the kitchen equipment into the six kitchen stations.

Monday June 14

After finishing our Food Preparation 2 laboratory in the afternoon, 4 of my classmates went to the competitions. Angel Luis, Enmarie, Maria and me. As soon as we arrived we made sure that everywere was clean and in its place. In the kitchen station they set up all the produce so the competitors get all the seasonings, fruits, flours, dairy products and vegetables.

Chef Bill one of the coordinators of the event gave us a brief of what we were going to do that day.

6 of the UNE (Universidad del Este) were assigned to the six teams, I was very excited to be announced that I was going to be the helper to Puertorican Culinary Team. Not only because it's our country, but most, because 3 of the 5 members are professors from the university. Chef Enrique Piñero, Chef René Olmeda and Chef Kalysh Padró.

We were assigned to help them with any assistance that they required us to do like: cleaning pots, cleaning presentation plates, getting produce and replacing the dirty water. We were not allow to help them with cooking, cutting produce or plating. It was very rush those 4 hours, unfourtunetly I couldnt see most of the cooking preparations but I got to take few pictures.

Madeline Guadalupe - Puerto Rico
Enmarie Torres - British Virgin Island
Angel Diaz - US Virgin Island
Aileen Ortega - Curacao
Maria Morales - Anguila
Ariel Harrigan - Belize

Aqui varias fotos de la actividad.... (las habia perdido pero gracias a Lourdes que estaba jugando con la pc las encontre)

En esta foto aparecen los chefs del team culinario de Puerto Rico 2004
Chef Enrique Pinero, Chef Cynthia, Chef Kalich Padro, Chef Rene Olmeda

En esta foto aparecen el team junto a su Coach Chef Ariel Rodriguez

En esta foto pueden ver el primer plato un raviolli (no tengo detalles)

En esta foto pueden el postre confeccionado por el Chef Rene Olmeda

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Chef Augustos

Hmm although I was not familiar with him, but now that I am at the Culinary Arts school I can hear his name almost everyday. I search the net and I found his page and his work it is very impressive. But mostly what I admire most of him, is something that my proffesor told me on friday.

I was protesting because I tought that being an executive chef must be boring because you dont cook at all, and it's all administration. I am not telling is not easy, because I know it is very difficult job and they must have lots of experience to get there. But once you are there, do you ever cook something?

Chef René Olmeda told me that Chef Augustos wakes up very early in the morning and he actually cooks, the food you are eating in his restaurant is cooked by him. He loves cooking that is his passion.

I will really love to interview him, he will be in the competition as a judge, maybe I will have the chance there.

Lots of homework to do

From my Purchasing and Product Identification class I have a research paper to do. I have to finish it by the 30th of June. I will have to give information about 3 products, mushrooms, rhubarb and pomagranate. I was suppose to get only 2 but when I heard rhubarb I took it also because I really want to learn about it, I was very curious about that pie plant and this will give me an opportunity to get the idea :). Mushrooms well instead of a research paper it will be more like an ODE to the mushrooms, because I like them so much.

I already found lots of information now I just need time to digest it and process it.

Need more time, less sleep :)

Busy and no time to write

I wish I had more time so I can complete my 2 reviews from the two mayor events I participate, but I havent stop for the last 3 weeks :) I am not complaining because I love what I am doing, but I will like to write it down before I forget it.

Its a shame I havent mail Giovanna Huyke, I promised her I will send her the photos from Caribe Hilton. Meeting her was great, she was such a lovely person and treated us like friends. I have to email her, I have to email her!!!

Today at 1:00 pm I must meet with my fellow students in the Conquistador Hotel in Fajardo because we were invited to participate in the culinary competition called "Taste of the Caribbean", there will be 12 teams from differents countries from the Caribbean. It will be a great experience just watching them, even more if they are asking us to help them.
The Puertorican Culinary Team is composed with 3 of our dear Chef Instructors and one women (hurray girl power) she works with the best Chef Augusto.

Puerto Rico Culinary Team

Chef Cynthia Negron
Chef Enrique Piñero
Chef René Olmeda
Chef Kalych Padró
Bartender of the Year = Daniel Vázquez
Captian of the team = Ariel Rodriguez

Good luck to all!!

Today we will help to set up the salon where the competitions will take place. This are the students that will go to the activity:

Marianne Santos
Victor Vazquez
Ariel Harrigan
Arleen Ocasio
Sara Rosso
Jorgge Colon
Maria E.Morales
Vicmarie Rodriguez
Angel L. Figueroa
Enmarie Torres
Jose Raul Noy
Madeline Guadalupe

I will take lots of photos so I can show you how it was :) but I can garantee that this will be a great experience because we will see how the best team and the chef of the caribbean will be choosen. Yay it will be FUN!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Working at the Ritz Carlton Hotel

Hoy tuve el honor de trabajar en la cocina de baquetes del Hotel Ritz Carlton, y fue una experiencia innolvidable. A continuacion los detalles de esa maravillosa experiencia.

Llegue alrededor de las 9:30 am, al principio fue una confusion para conseguir la entrada de los empleados, pero encontramos un empleado que nos guio. Llegamos hasta el departamento de seguridad, ahi esperamos hasta que llegaran la mayoria de los 25 estudiantes. Exactamente a las 10 am el Executive Sous Chef Steven se acerco a nosotros y empezo a explicarnos lo que hariamos hoy. Nos dividio por grupos y a mi por suerte me toco trabajar en banquetes. Nuestro Chef encargado era Julio, Jr. Sous Chef de banquetes. Nos dio un quick tour, y se veia muy bonita la cocina, limpia y con un good layout.

Aqui esta Julio, al quien considero una gran persona, pues nos trato como a unos reyes :) Gracias Julio, espero que siguas trabajando tan bien como siempre.

Primero nos asignaron con el Chef Johnatan Hernandez, quien fue muy atento con nosotros. Se mostro bien cooperador, contesto todas las preguntas que le hize, me explicaba cual era el estilo de cocinar los caldos. Con Johnnatan teniamos que hacer 1200 spring rolls, 600 con un relleno que incluia pollo, mango y chayote (receta de un chef de Jamaica) y los otros 600 con un relleno de carrucho y camarones, que por cierto los dos estaban muy sabrosos.

Lamentablemente no tengo ninguna foto de Chelo pero fue otro de los Chefs que nos ayudo muchisimo. Si consigo una de Chelo y de Johnattan las colocare aqui.

Perdonen pero proseguire el relato en ingles :) es mas facil y lo pueden leer mis familiares en Turquia.

Luego pase a trabajar con el Chef Julio, wrapping with saran paper all the trays. It was the perfect job for me, although I sweated a lot, I liked the tension :). They named me the Banquet runner and they were making fun of me. I can say that is difficult and a bit boring for me to do a standing job, I guess I prefer to be running and not being still in one place.

Its amazing how organize this chefs are, you can see the armony, the partnership. I just saw the Executive Chef once or twice and they were not giving orders, so from my point of view the chefs were having everything under control, and that is amazing. Bravo for all the Chefs in the Ritz Carlton. Although I have something bad to say about the kitchen, because honestly its quite small, but I dunno why, they really manage to do all the job in such a small space. Bravo Bravo for all of them.

Here is a picture of Chef Eric, he was very special because he was so patient with me, and he gave me very nice jobs so I could learn more from the kitchen. If I wouldnt be studying I would definetly will love to work with that team.

Although I didnt work directly with Ernesto, he was a very nice person and I know from the students that worked with him, that he was very good to them. I wish you luck in your carreer.

Of course we cannot leave the girl power in the team, and that comes with the name Jannette. I hope we the gals of the school can be a success like you :).

And here you can see the whole team of Sous Chef that we worked with...

I cannot leave outside the Executive Chef Alain and Steven, but unfourtunetly, whenever I wanted to take pictures of them, I was busy so didnt catch a good photo. Very impressive the organization Chef Alain has when they make the plating. By the way he was such a nice person, he was not intimidating, you could easily ask any question, he would answer it with pleasure. After we finished with the wedding, Chef Alain met us all and told us to finish our studies and later to come and play with them :).