For those of you who’ve been following me on LITTLEMISSLOCAL.com, you’ve been reading about the preparation process for this 100 person, sit-down meal required by my culinary school… but if you’re just tuning in now, let me catch you up to speed!
As a student of the Natural Gourmet Institute, we are required to create and prepare a 3 Course Vegan Meal before we graduate; so tonight I’m talking about my experience as one of the Featured “Friday Night Dinner” Chefs at The Natural Gourmet Institute of New York City!
THE AMBIANCE: At 4:00pm, the Natural Gourmet Institute gathered a team of student volunteers to transform our professional kitchen spaces into our Persian Dining Room (which was designed by yours truly). When the guests arrived at 6:30pm, the lights were dimmed and the tables were ready for their arrival.
NGI students (turned waitstaff) escorted guests to their seats, opened their wine bottles (BYOB) and offered them Kukicha Tea as the rest of their party arrived.
THE MEAL: We plated dinner for over 100 people; our 3 Course, Vegan Pre-Fixe menu included an appetizer, entree and dessert. All of our dishes were made from scratch and Persian inspired.
THE FEEDBACK: After the last dessert plate was served, we waited for the signal to walk out to the dining rooms. Like the James Beard Foundation, it is a tradition at NGI to open the floor to guests for a Question & Answer session.
As we walked out of the kitchen, all six chefs (Susan, Tiffani, Lee, Jonny, Jennifer & myself) were introduced to the crowd. As soon as the Q&A opened up to the floor, I thought to myself: Did they like it? Did they hate it? Are they still hungry? Was it seasoned enough? Annemarie Colbin is dining tonight. So is Chef Jay. This is serious. So I took a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief when we received numerous accolades and compliments for our dishes!
OVERALL EXPERIENCE: Exciting. Crazy. Stressful. Rewarding. I plan on writing a post regarding my experience in the kitchen, but I have to say that it was unlike any experience I’ve ever had in the culinary world. My team and I were the chefs in charge. We considered timing, portions, organization, quality control, team morale, communication; at one point we didn’t know how it was all going to come together, but it happened and it exceeded all of our expectations.