"This might very well be the Food Snob's first bomb" ran through my mind as I kept checking my watch. Timing was everything with this particular menu. And in my typical neurotic fanatical food snob fashion, I wanted nothing less than perfection for every food selection.
Jalapeno/Sharp Cheddar Beef Sliders
Pulled Pork/Slaw Sliders w/Spicy Mustard
Crispy Sweet and Russet Potato Fries
Chunky Corn Salsa
Freshly Fried Chili/Salt Flour and Corn Tortilla Chips
Vegetable Platter w/Cool Ranch Dip
Almond Lemonade Tea
Bread was freshly baked. Salsas and dip were made w/fresh ingredients. Fries were freshly cut. Cupcakes were from scratch. Nothing was premade, processed, previously bagged, frozen, from mixes. I like 'fresh' and if you're my family, my friend, or my client, that’s exactly what you get.
Some of the selections were a snap. We would have them out early (salsas, chips, veggie platter) for arriving guests to enjoy, and we would serve a couple later (mini cupcakes) as the evening wound down.
But some things just cannot be prepped beforehand, set out early or be served until just the right time. Sliders and fries are two such menu items. Set out too early, hot sandwiches get soggy and fries lose their crispiness.
So, when my clients requested sliders and fries and relayed the 'service time', it was my job to make sure that everything went out perfectly for optimum quality. And in this case, we had about a 20-25 minute window of opportunity for the perfect culinary scenario to take place in anticipation of the 60-70 expected guests.
Oil was heated and kept hot (but not too hot) in preparation for the potatoes. Seasoning was on standby. Bread was prepped: bottom sides flat and ready to receive the goods. Meats were warm, slaw was room temp, cheese was grated, not sliced, to help w/melting, garnish jalapenos were on hand. Ovens were preheated to receive the sandwiches as they were assembled. Serving platters were on standby. And my heart was pounding. It was definitely a ‘hurry up and wait, then hurry up again’ situation.
It's also my job, and my staff's job, to remain calm, collected, and professional no matter what. If clients want to change their minds, their timing, their set up- we roll with all their requests while maintaining positive attitudes. If guests are running late, we adjust and keep the host/hostess informed of our progress.
So, as the predetermined service time drew nearer, we were ready. It's no easy thing to individually assemble mini sandwiches and keep fries going, timing it all to roll out together: hot, fresh, crispy, melted, correctly seasoned- and all w/an eye-pleasing, mouth-watering presentation.
I have never forgotten the words of a successful Paris area business owner: “Don't tell me that things can't be done. Tell me how they can!” In my business, the expectation’s the same.
We also pray. I never for one second think it's all my doing. We have encountered situations in the past that seemed impossible. We pray before, during, and after events- always thankful to the One Who gifts us w/talents and helps us in the rush of the moment.
This was no exception as our hands were flying, the seconds ticking by, and I very firmly said, "Someone start praying!" Bless Vicki Frankland! Right then and there, w/out missing a beat assembling the beef sliders, she prayed for what we needed most: calm hearts and quick hands. And once again, we got the job done.
My goal is to keep folks talking positively about our menus months and years from now. I want them served with respect and care. My clients should be nothing less than thrilled with our attention to detail, high standards, mature and attentive staffing, and amazing food.
I'm so thankful to say that in one of the most mentally trying events of my food snob career, we were successful. Thanks over and over again to my amazing husband, Doc, and my outstanding staff. I could never do it without you!!
And thank you, Walker and Alix Putnam, for giving us the opportunity to serve you, your friends, and your family. Your trust is humbling.
Annie, Lindsey, Jim and Marcia, thank you!
Chip and Suzy, it’s always a pleasure to work at your beautiful farm.
It truly was our honor and our privilege.
Special thanks to Jennifer Tabangcora for the photos she generously shared. They are posted to the top right of this blog.
A Very Thankful Polly~ The Food Snob