Guest Blogger: Hoang Nguyen
Meet Hoang Nguyen, Hoang is an International student and Uni SA Marketing graduate. In January 2017 Hoang decided to pursue his passion for cooking by starting further study in Commercial Cookery at TafeSA and leaving other work commitments aside. Hoang states “It is not an emotional decision but rather a rational one because I am very passionate about the Hospitality and Tourism industry.”
Hoang was lucky enough to be involved in Tasting Australia event, held in Adelaide recently. Here’s what he had to say about it.
Tasting Australia has been an amazing experience for me as I have a passion for cooking a dream of working in high-end restaurants one day. The food was incredible and to get to work alongside such a high calibre of chefs was a dream come true.
Each plate of food brings not just flavours of South Australia but a story behind it. The below Albacore Tuna dish by Chef Josh Niland, of Sydney’s Saint Peter Restaurant was prepared with a freshly caught Albacore tuna in SA.
The whole fish was brought to the kitchen fresh and un-gutted.
As a commercial cookery student, it was quite an opportunity to learn from renowned chefs across Australia. Being able to see what chefs can do with the some of the greatest produce that South Australia has to offer is much more rewarding when you are involved in the process of food preparation.
At cookery school, we learn that Mise en place is one of the most crucial parts of a successful service. Basically it means that the better you prepare for your service such as picking herbs, pre-cooking some elements, organising your section, the better you’ll be during service. Good Preparation is key.
But my goodness me, these chefs have raised the bar!
In my first shift of the week, myself and two volunteers were asked to prepare the herbs for dinner service.
We spent 4-5 hours picking, washing and counting every single leaves. Everything was prepared and calculated precisely to ensure we had extra for service, with 200 guests dining with us that evening, that’s a lot of herbs to pick!
This approach helps chefs estimate how much food is required and how many portions are ready for service, which in turn help them communicate better with front of house staff.
There is such a level of detail to get all the elements of a dish on to the plate. You can see in the picture the counts on each tub, Yep, we counted all of them! After picking leaves, washing, counting and washing again!
All herbs were labelled and placed in a particular spot in the cool room for each dish so that chefs knows exactly where every element of every dish is. This approach ensures that anything and everything is good to go.
Learning to cook is also learning to plan, demonstrating just how much effort goes in to getting great food on to your plate. Great produces and a polished product comes with great preparation.
Once a job is finished, everything was cleaned down until spotless and the section was ready for the next service and the next onslaught of preparation.
Service done. Cleaning begins.
Until spotless. And then the cycle of service begins again.
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: