As I have promised Chef Bull, I didn't tell anyone in the kitchen that my catering was actually for the staff party of 4Vuodenaikaa. And they were quite surprised to see me at the place when they arrived. Ready with their surprise snacks. Chicken Siomai with super duper hot Asian chili paste and prawn crackers.
At first, I kind of felt that I might have bitten off more than I can chew. I said yes to the catering as soon as it came out of Chef Bull's mouth. After I came home, I felt nervous. Should I have said yes to it? I will be catering for a caterer. Worst, I will be feeding a roomful of chefs! God was I scared. Yes, I am confident with the food I serve. But these are Finns! Yes, my in-laws like 'em. But these are high caliber chefs. Yeah, I went back and forth with these emotions, that in the end, I was so sure I had gone crazy!
My assistant for the day was Sugah Mama Hanna. A trainee from Tredu. I get along well with her and she was a huge help. She was also in on the secret and we have been talking about the menu for a few days before. So she has a fairly good idea what will be served and how it will be served. I am truly indebted.
Chef Bull had a few more surprises up his sleeves though. He has hired a beautiful woman to teach us how to do a fire performance with lit up batons. And after a few mishaps, and the unrelenting rain, THEY were asked to do a catwalk - on hot COALS! I say THEY, because I was too much of a coward to walk on hot coals that I refused. I even threatened that if they want to eat later, they shouldn't push the cook to walk on it. haha. Yes, I was a chicken!
But the highlight of that night for me, was the long lasting oohs and aahs from these chefs after their first bites. I was so overwhelmed that they genuinely liked the food. I even made a joke to our wonderful Herra Eero that the buffalo sauce isn't soup, as he ladled one after another onto the siopao.
Our Maitre d had some problems though with the chili. His own words: 'Omppu, what did you put in that chili? It just keeps on burning and burning!' hahaha. I warned them when they came in, that it will really give problems in the morning.
As a cherry on top, everyone was well fed and happy. So I was happy too!
Working in my own kitchen.
Using my own equipment.
Making my own food.
Darn! How I miss it.
Today, I will be making: (for catering)
Vegetarian spring rolls
Garlicky and buttery prawns - My mommy's recipe.
Chicken Wings - breaded, fried and crisped with buffalo sauce for dipping.
Longanisa - a Filipino chorizo
Pork Siopao Asado - Steamed buns with sweet pork fillings.
Pansit Bihon - Stir fried rice noodles.
Vegetarian Spring rolls
I am not in any form discrediting the food we serve in the restaurant, please don't get me wrong. Being in this environment only strengthens my convictions of getting my Adobo out there. (I use capital A for my Adobo as I mean it like you would mean your mojo while pertaining to the Filipino dishes I make). And yes, I am very lucky and I feel so blessed to be a part of and in the company of this amazing chefs. So I am trying to learn as much as I can.
Yesterday, in the midst of cutting veggies, making bechamel, and stirring the soup pot, I heard a voice. No, not that kind of voice!!! You know? Like an epiphany of sorts. That I should really forgo finding my own small place. Anyone willing to invest?
Garlicky Buttery Prawns
It is not always practical. It is tiring. But I serve with a purpose. To put smiles on the faces of the people eating my food.
There's nothing better than hearing people say how they loved their food, to cure the aches at the end of the service.
There's nothing better than seeing all these clients leaving the restaurant happy and satisfied, to take away the muscle pains. It is all worth it. I promise...
That was my station today. With wok egg noodles. And of course, my special "jakkara". (step-up)
I was asked by Chef Handsome to make focaccia yesterday and of course, I just had to do it at home for my number one fan. Rosemary and garlic topped with fresh tomato!
p.s. Chef Handsome said my focaccia was very good! :) Score!!!