Gearing up for Easter

I am the Executive Chef at a pretty busy hotel/conference type property. We have a Ballroom, Banquet Rooms, 60,000 square feet of Meeting Space, 40 acres of potential catering venues, Restaurant and Bar Menu, Room Service etc. you know the deal.

In spite of our three Sous Chefs I still work the line. My day is probably like that of many chefs. Eight hours on the line and then off to the office for another 4 or 5 hours of paper work, reports, meetings and menus. I don’t mind, it keeps me in touch with the pulse of my kitchen. Knowing the challenges and tribulations first hand is invaluable. I am comfortable that I am not just a figure head, a pencil pusher and politician. When someone asks me about our food, I can answer with confidence that this was this or that was that.

Right now we are gearing up for Easter; in spite of the economy I have almost 600 reservations and growing. Tomorrow I will be smoking 80 pounds of seafood for the cold display as well as 80 pounds of smoked chicken. Today I netted an tied 5 cases of Turkey Breast, trimmed and marinated 2 cases of strip loin. The hams are clove studded and 100 pounds of shrimp for shrimp cocktail is ready to go. Tomorrow will be a busy day, work the line at lunch, do an Ice Bunny carving and make sure we have enough of everything in the house. Some days I work until my neck hurts and I can’t think anymore. At that point I know its time to go home. At 49 years old, I can’t imagine how many hours I’ve worked in my career, how many meals I served and how much time I have stolen away from my wife and kids. In spite of all this, I still love what I do and get a thrill out of the process.