First Day on Charcuterie

Charcuterie & Cheese Board for Chef's VIP guests

Charcuterie & Cheese Board for Chef’s VIP guests

So today, the day that I had been waiting for finally arrived. This restaurant is known for its charcuterie — terrines, foie gras mousse, house-cured salumi — and it was my dream to be in charge of this station since I embarked on this journey eight months ago. It’s a specialty that is quite unique among restaurants, and one I look forward to adding to my repertoire. (If you think female chefs in the fine dining world are rare, try finding ones who know charcuterie!)

Station-mate was enthusiastic and encouraging throughout the day as we made chicken liver mousse for Happy Hour jars, orange-apricot marmalade for the duck & walnut pate, deviled eggs with Thai green curry seasoned filling, and checked salumis (including a duck breast prosciutto that was ready to be taken down, cleaned, and vacuum sealed for upcoming services). There was much to learn, and I was feverishly jotting down notes and watching his every move like a hawk.

Using every part of the orange for making marmalade

Using every part of the orange for making marmalade

With two people on Charcuterie, even though Station-mate had to slow down now and then to explain things to me, we finished our prep in record time and were able to take a real break to enjoy Family Meal outside. Then came service, which I was already familiar with and excited about. Today was quite slow for a Tuesday, but we did get the occasional Charcuterie Board (we call it a Charc, pronounced like shark, Board for short). I moseyed on over to Hot Apps where Singing Hot-Apps Guy was flying solo. He seemed a bit busy so I helped him plate a few orders of the fried octopus appetizer. It was another situation where I’m glad someone (in this case, Sous Chef J) took the time to teach me something new so that I would be able to fill in and actually be useful.

Chicken Liver Mousse Jars for Happy Hour

Chicken Liver Mousse Jars for Happy Hour

During service, it was slow enough that we also did some prep in advance for tomorrow: sous vide yukon potato slices for building our salmon terrine. Using the cryovac machine to vacuum seal the bags, cooking them “low and slow” in a pan filled with water, and then cooling them for assembly the next day, this task already felt a bit daunting to do on my own. I think that’s the most difficult part about Charcuterie — you’re a one man band and you have to stay on top of your game.

Time to get some rest and get ready for more learning tomorrow!

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