Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Institutional Humor

Last nights production-Cinnamon Sweet Rolls with Honey Pan Glaze and Pecans (these honey buns taste yummy), Sweet Bread Braid filled with Sweetened Almond Paste and Brioche.

I got to work along tonight, so I didn't have to share any of the loot!! Yippee!!! Brioche is in the freezer for at least a week of breakfast and the rolls and braid were brought to work today.

Did I mention that I love culinary school?

Monday we went on a field trip to Hartford Hospital's cafeteria. My chef instructor is one of the head chef's there and he thought we'd enjoy seeing the kitchen.

This is the chef that mispronounces words and skips over the word "anus" in nutrition class. He's very nice, but we laugh about it when he's not around.

The hospital tour was very cool. It's a Ginormous space, spanning almost the entire hospital. (Or at least it seems that way) There's a separate bake shop with an oven the size of a room! They load a few rolling racks into the center and a big arm comes and lifts them, turning them slowly until they are done.

Way cool.

They also have tons of steam powered tilt kettles, which are enormous kettles that can make tons of soup, sauce or whatever you'd like, all at one time-all heated by steam in a matter of minutes.

There were walk in freezers and storage rooms gallore and even a blast chiller-which cools food almost instantly, helping to comply with the Serve Safe rules of proper cooling. (From 135* -->70* within 2 hours and from 70* --> 40* in 4 hours for a total of 6 hours) This speeds it up.

The funny moments of the tour where these, and I'm sure they are going to be just funny to me b/c I know chef Zorn and you don't...

1. He turned on EVERY oven, grill, steamer, convection oven..they have. Why? We have no idea.

2. This is the grill...we grill chicken on here, burgers,'s for grilling. Really? Thanks so much for clarifying that. I'd have been lost without that information...

3. This is a food warmer. You put food in it, and it warms it. At this point, I looked at my classmate, Bagpipe Willie, and we started to giggle.

4. This guys-you're not used to seeing. This is turkey that's been boned out and rolled, then put in this netting to keep it together. We smoke or roast it, and it tastes just like a turkey. Oh! That's so good to hear that your turkey tastes like...TURKEY! I'm not kidding, he actually said that.

5. At the end of the tour, Chef Z asked us to hold on as he ran away from our sight. A few minutes later, I looked away from the group in his direction, only to see a rack rolling by with no one manning it. (Of course this made me laugh) The rack was filled with patient food trays. It was at that moment I realized that he did provide dinner for us-but not the good food that he prepares for guests-yup-patient food! He said, "This is what you'd be eating if you were upstairs." WHY would you give us that food? Why? It was comical...very, very comical.

Overall, I had a really great time touring that huge kitchen. The shear amount of space they have is incredible, and knowing they feed 1500-2000 guests a day for lunch alone is impressive. Everything is larger than life, but also done the same way we do in school.

Needless to say, it fascinates me.


One who listens said...

You may have mentioned that you love culinary school, yes. :)

Oh, and I have fixed the picture so that you can see the foreign skies properly.

But no, sorry, the skies in question are not in Connecticut. :(


Mags said...

Shucks. Would've been nice to have a visitor or two.


GMadrid said...

Wow, you food looks awesome! Good to know you still are loving school even with the crazies. I mean your classmates not the patients. Good to know there is not a lot of anus talk during your classes too. I probably wouldn't ever be able to eat out again if I knew there was. :)

Mags said...


Yes, we try to keep the anus talk to a minimum. Thanks for the compliment too, by the way!

kristarella said...

Yum! I want sweet bread pastry things. I'm hungry!

That's cool that you enjoyed the kitchen tour, your chef sounds very random.

Segue said...

I'm curious too... Why would a chef be discussing an anus?

It's interesting your culinary class toured an institutional kitchen. That's the polar opposite of the type of cooking you've shown pics of on this site, in the sense that the purpose is to feed a given number of people who are already "guests", rather than to attract and impress guests individually with the cuisine.

Did you get to stir anything with a canoe paddle? That always cracked me up.

Mags said...

The anus talk, Segue, is because he also teaches us nutrition and speaks of digestion and the anus is involved in that.

Actually, there are 2 parts to the hospital kitchen-the patient side and the cafeteria side-so there is a bit of fancier food that goes on-but not like the food we cook in school.

And we didn't stir anything with a canoe paddle, but there definately were some there!!