Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Went to the airport and a 500 person wedding broke out!?

     In this insane world of chef-dom (is that a word?), we offer ourselves up whenever we can to those in need of our assistance. Cooking, for me, is more than just showing up and feeding the beast and going home. Cooking, in my mind, is more than just applying heat to food, it's... a lifestyle. Cooking is more like a place or a thing where someone, like myself, can create. I guess it could be thought of as an artists canvas except my canvas is fire, platters, plates, tables; basically, anything that causes a person to pause, look, and salivate. 

     I wear many hats, for those of you that don't know, and one of those hats is catering chef. My buddy over at Celebrations Catering has me attend all sorts of awesome events. We get to show people our art on our many canvas' in all sorts of cool places. For example, we just did a wedding on the tarmac at the Nashua Airport. The bride and groom, Sandy Adams and Len Cushing, both met at the airport and both have been pilots for many years so it was a fitting setting. 

     The menu consisted of the use of three huge 8 foot char-grills with nothing but the best natural wood charcoal used. Grilled skirt steak, barbecue chicken breast and their famous St. Louis style ribs were fired, marked and glazed with this amazing house-made barbecue sauce. I can't seem to crack the code of this amazing sauce matrix, but I guess I'll just have to ask for a "sample" next time I'm there! 

This wedding reception was for 500 people, this is what 250 seats looks like (well, as many as I could squeeze into my cell-phone-camera).

The other 250!?

Smoky, marked and glazed with that SAUCE!

Yup, you know you want some of these!?

The bride arrived in a private jet, the groom in a hot rod, how romantic!

After a tearful toast, a few loving speeches full of great wishes, and salutes to five World War 2 Veterans (yes 5!!), the noshing began. Two buffets with all the picnic grub you could ever want. Of course, the smell of charcoal in the air will make anyone hungry!

The rest of the menu included the necessary sides to make this event complete; southwestern pasta salad, rolls and a million mini desserts just to name a few.

2014 Epicurean Dinner for my Local ACF Chapter, this stuff never gets old!!

     OK, many of you already know I'm crazy about food and this industry I've devoted my life to. I've seen and done so many amazing things throughout the years; from washing dishes at the local diner to opening cans of pudding for a temp-service and breaking down an entire pig for my dinner menu to feeding the rich and famous at chef galas. You'd think that, after a while, one would get sick and tired of doing so many things?! You think, after a while, that I'd be ready to settle down and stop running around so much? Not me, I'm far from tired of seeing or doing so much great stuff. As a matter of fact, I always look forward to doing more, seeing more and learning more every day. Every chance I get I sign up for this or that, meet great people that share my passion and become a better chef as a result.

     Just the other day I volunteered with my local American Culinary Federation chapter to take part in this years Epicurean Dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua, New Hampshire. There were all sorts of amazing things going on, multiple courses and even more multiples of chefs, culinary students and pros getting involved! There were about 250 guests that attended. From foodies and home cooks to ACF chapter presidents and awards winning chefs. There were dozens of us chefs plating, cooking, tasting and drinking. Lots of laughs were had and the level of camaraderie was second to none. We basically raised money to help up and coming culinary students get into culinary school and other charity organizations. 

The menu below was a collaboration of area chefs that each took charge of a course. 

We had some amazing charcuterie for people to snack on. This amazing pate campagne was divine. Being wrapped in bacon helped too. ;) 

My buddies from SNHU and I were in charge of the inter-mezzo. Fresno Chili Mango Sorbet, Strawberry Mint Sorbet and a "Mardi-Gras Cookie" that I threw together. Adorable and yet very therapeutic. Cutting over 300 of those little buggers with a cutter the size of a silver-dollar will keep you focused for sure!

Amazing ice carvings by Ice Breakers

An amazing plated salad. 250 multi-component salads laid out all over the hotels kitchen, was a sight to see!

Gumbo garnished with mud bugs? YUM!!

Yes, more salads...

Our awesome inter-mezzo! Thank you Baldor Boston for donating the chilies and the Peruvian mangoes!

Beads baby!

More salads?

Braised beef short ribs :) 

Our guest speaker was Nicole Barrierra from Great NH Restaurants who discussed making healthy choices. Oddly enough, while she was discussing this, we were stuffing our faces with the above braised short ribs, yum.  

This amazing carving talent was awesome!

We raised tons of money for great causes and I, personally, had a blast!!! I'm very much looking forward to doing this again next year.