DINNER 198: Monday, July 17, 2006

I took a vacation day from the office today to wait for our air conditioner repairman to tune-up our air conditioner which is, like every other air conditioner in hot Cincinnati, struggling with the heat. He also removed the broken motor from our whole-house fan and will have that repaired. While in the attic, we noticed that we’ve got (at least) two raccoons living up there, so Wendy contacted a ‘critter getter’ service who will set humane traps in our attic on Wednesday in hopes of catching and removing them.
This evening, I helped with a team-building event at Cincinnati State. It was an evening event, starting at 5:00pm and scheduled to end at 10pm. A company brought 28 employees to the kitchens of Cincinnati State to prepare a three course meal (Artichoke Hearts with Aioli, Potato/Mushroom Lasagna, Roasted Leg of Lamb, Seared Duck Breasts, Green Beans, and Fresh Berries with Burbon Saybayon) under the direction of Chef Arthur Leech, and the assistance of myself and Joe who is a student at the college.

After a late start — because of traffic and happy hour (before we started cooking!) — we got going. The group was divided into 6 groups — two groups preparing the artichoke appetizers, two groups preparing the dessert, and two groups working on the two proteins — and everyone got started. I was impressed with the willingness of the group to try anything. I showed a few people how to cut properly with knives, how seasoning changes the taste of a dish, and the correct response when someone is passing behind you carrying a hot item and saying, “Hot behind”. (The correct response is, of course, “Thanks, I work out“.)

Everyone took tremendous pride in their work, listening to us and taking the time to carefully consider their plating decisions to make everything look great. Food was served and everything was very good — the teams made sure that Chef, Joe, and I got to try everything, so we had a nice dinner!
Chef, Joe, and I worked until about 11:30 to get the kitchen back in shape, and I went home sore and tired, but happy to have helped out.

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