Thursday, May 28, 2009

Those Food Tasting Sessions - and Conversations

There's always a big advantage if your profession is close to your heart. I classify myself as one of the world's luckiest people (i.e., you fly with angels at night, etc., etc.) and at daytime I am faced with a lot of food- all I have to do is say no. Ugh, I'm full. Just today, one of our suppliers gave me samples for soft- serve ice cream which I will work on tomorrow :) The other night I was invited to an opening of an exhibit in a really cool cafe/ art gallery, dragged by a chef friend who was a consultant of the cafe there. I said, what a great combination: food + the arts - and a lotta vodka :) Those are the little perks of life and I am very thankful.

Food tasting sessions aren't exempted from those little happy- happenings. Last week, the chef consultant of a multinational company visited our kitchen and did some cooking with us (using their products. Of course, they're selling). Dish after dish... from teriyaki to mashed potato to tocino...

Chef Kaizer of Nestle Philippines is a friendly young man who got to study in Switzerland because he had said, "My blogging got me to study there." That was years ago, though, and he is no longer active on the net.
Those food tasting sessions with other chefs from outside are some of the moments I enjoy the most. While I just eat with a wee- bit of everything, the conversations are just too much for the heart and fills your stomach as well. Funny how cooks notice all the small things on the dish, I said to Kaizer "Hey, look, I love these black beans...they're so plump and healthy."
He started giggling. "You saw them too? I noticed that last night and I said the same thing."

Food tasting sessions could take hours. The panel is the whole management committee (the board room people) and they have these sheets of paper on which to evaluate the food. The sessions are a highly subjective activity and I honestly hate breaking the food down like a critic... I don't know, it's just me. So while that was going on, we the two cooks sat at the end of the table answering questions and talking kitchen stuff-
Kaizer: Have you tried using pressure cooker to cook azuki?
FH: Nope, I'm not a pressure cooker fan.
K: You too?! I thought I was the only one! I soften tough meats in a charcoal burner- long hours.

Board Room People #1: Hey, what's this?
FH: (glancing) Pea sprouts.

Kaizer: I'm not a mandoline person either...
Kaizer: Just one? You know, one of my friends got all three fingertips slit by a mandoline.
FH: (Cringes) Oh, s---t.
Board Room People #2: Can we pre- make this mashed potato and microwave it afterwards?
Kaizer: (Looking) No sir, I won't advise that. It's really very easy to make that mashed po...
- more.

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