My absenteeism wasn't in vain though, I swear. Since Thursday, I have been shopping, prepping, and executing an 8 course grand dinner for the Boal Mansion in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania. Every year the CEO of the Boal Mansion, Christoper Lee, hosts a dinner for the patrons of the museum. Last year, I took my first crack at being the Head Chef for the event and have to admit wasn't happy with the meal I put out. It was a combination of lack of experience, planning a menu that wasn't ideal for the space (or lack there of), and just overall more than I could chew....no pun intended.
So, when I got the email for the event this year, I took it as a challenge to do better. I felt like I had grew in culinary knowledge and skill the past year, but I wanted to validate those feelings. Planning began and I put together a menu that I felt was solid, delicious, and executable.
Right before the dinner started, I remember reading in Ruhlman's Twenty one thing that really stuck with me, something so simple...Think. I went through each course in my head, thought about every movement involved, every step, in order to get a beautiful and delicious dish in front of the guest. I honestly can admit, I have never felt so confident and relaxed in a kitchen environment. Everything went smoothly, I knew the answer to everything, and at the end of the meal I felt proud of what I put out on the table.
Then the best part of the evening was talking to the guests afterward and asking them what they thought because I wanted honest and thoughtful feedback. What I got was truly humbling. I was told by most of the guests that I need to open my own restaurant, one guy starred me dead in the eye and said I was one of the best chefs in the area (Which I would definitely argue against), I got asked if I was available to hire as a private chef, on and on...I just felt so good about where I am at in my culinary life after this dinner. Did I get validation?? You bet I did!
I kept on trying to remind myself to take pictures, but I did miss a few of the courses, but I'll go through each course and talk about it!