These crunch days of catering are getting easier to handle….mentally.
I know how to prepare and how to spread the work out over a longer period of time. Yet there will always be aspects of any menu I plan that cannot be done till 24 to 36 hours before to amintain quality. At some point it becoimes a matter of setting enough time aside to do all those thiings properly. Yet invariably some kink in the plan comes along that screws up my carefully planned schedule. Today it was the idea that I would be able to find the two pounds of prosciutto I need at costco. Nope. They apparently didn’t have any. Nor did they have the endive I needed. This required a separate trip to a separate store that took up an hour and half of time I had alotted to other thiings. I was able to bend with the pressure and was able to make sure I got back on track, but it took me four hours to get there. I’m physically tired but still wired. My brain is already planning tomorrow and the day after that. I realize that I worry about each gig individually and in the worrying I make things happen. For now, I’m showered after several hours infront of the stove. I’ve made a lot of food today and I’ll make more tommorow morning before they come to get it. I’m having a beer before bed in the hopes that it will let me body slow down loing enough to get some sleep.
But then a part of my brain goes “Yeah, right.”
1) It’s currently 75 degrees in my kitchen. The windows are all open. It’s quite pleasant compared to outside. I’m about to make utterly unpleasant by turning on the oven and the stoive.
2) Every time I catrering an event, I have one moment where mybrain goes (for lack of a better phrase) “OHSITWHATHAVEIDONEICANTDOTHISIWANTTOTAKEANAP!” and then it passes and I get on with things.
3) I’m holding off a chest infection with my will alone. Well..that and zycam and enough OJ to make me jaunticed.
4) I wish I was at the beach today. I really do.
5) I’m a little ahead of schedule and a little behind. I’m ok. It’ll be fine in the end. I just need to make more peanut sauce.
I just made a half gallon of caremelized onions for Sunday. I got distracted by crunching numbers for my shopping over the next few days and almost made a half gallon of blackened onions. I rescued them just in time and they’re cooling on the stove right now.
I don’t have to say how much I love cooking and food and talking about it. This past week end I took the Italian down to the Ferry Building and, as usual, I kicked into high gear. I ended up giving a lesson on food and what’s good and encouraging him to try new things. We walked in and out of the outdoor Market and then into the inside market. We stopped by a goat cheese booth and I gave him a quick lesson in how to sample cheese. We went through a couple of samples because he kept popping them in his mouth and swallowing them. Eventually he did what I was telling him and his eyes lit up and he nodded vigorously. An hour and a half of episodes like this he said “Tank-yoo… I came here to get food and got a lesson. Dat wuz berry nayce.”
It was nice for me too. I really was enjoying dragging him from place to place. Standing in front of the caviar store telling him about Scambled Eggs and Caviar in Egg Shell Cups. I must have been doing something right because he was totally focused on what I was describing and he said “Dat sounds dekudant”.
We wandered from there to the Filbert Steps and then Coit Tower and then North Beach and then to the MOMA.
By the time we walked out, I was exhausted but invigorated. It was the kind of morning that I love. A friend. My love of food. The sun. Some good art. Some bad art. Good times.
it’s the kind of day I have to remind myself to do more. Perhaps having an out of town friend who’s never experienced me talking a million miles an hour makes it different. I notice that somtimes people’s eyes glaze over when I start talking food. I know it’s not everyone’s passion and often I get carried away.
People ask me why I don’t do it professionally and all the reasons that I come up with are based on my income and endurance. I’ve done the living paycheck to paycheck and I hate it and I also hate standing on my feet for 18 hours a day. Yet lately I’ve been wondering if there aren’t other options. As I have been researching job options, I’ve come up with other ideas.
Since I’m in a brain dead temp job right now, I’m taking advantage of the time and researching my ass off. I’m looking at a long list of SF ad agencies I fouind on the web and going agency by agency. I’m targeting food and beverage oriented marketing/pr/advertising agencies or those that have a strong history of working with them. I’ve been looking at those that target restaurants. I’ve looked at restuarant groups that promote their own clients and consultants that do the same. I’ve snet resumes out to a handful of them but for the most I’ve collected their contact into into a spreadsheet so I can send tailored letters of introduction.
The long term goal is to get myself in a creative oriented environment where I can continue to learn about marketing and promoting food and cooking. Learn about it from the inside out, use what I already know and have, and make an impact there.
I’m also going to try and get a proposal on paper for teaching a class that for now is called “20 Things Every Gay Man Needs To Know How to Do In the Kitchen”. It may be 20 or 30 or 5 or 1,000,000. The idea is to get back to that feeling of teaching that I had at the Market this week end. That feeling I loved when I was teaching at Macy’s Cellar in New York.
All of this is on the surface a lot of work and it is. I’m excited though. Once this catering gig wraps up this week end, my time needs to be focused on creating the strutures to do this.
Roast some peanuts and then pour wasabi paste over them and mix by hand
…and try not to knock the pan of curry oil you’ve got on the stove all over the floor as you stumble backwards.
As a friend in NY said to me once “Stephen, it’s a good thing you’re pretty.”
I made dinner for the Italian tonight. He clapped three times during the meal in appreciation.
Salad of orange pepper, lemon cucumber, shredded endive, dill and bacon lardons with a orange rice wine vinegrette.
Boneless pork chop served on a bed of brown rice and pan roasted pitty pan zuccini with a turkish fig pinot noir sauce.
As for the rest of the day, I will post later. He’s having fun and I’m enjoying rediscovering San Francisco with him.