Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Typical Day

Days at the Olympic Park start around 6 am and end around 4 pm. In a couple of weeks food service will run 24 hours per day. Currently, we only feed the staff (about 1,000 people) and only feed them breakfast and lunch.

The culinary staff is divided into teams, representing food from all over the world - Mediterranian, Western, Chinese. I am working with the Western hot food section, preparing multiple entrees, starch, and vegetables from the United States. The challenge right now (and possibly going forward throughout the whole event) is to prepare and present global cuisine with Chinese ingredients. The availablility of ingredients and the quality of those ingredients is something that requires daily adjustments - but, that's the business we are in.

Soon, we will open additional venues - the Media Press Center and Athletes Village. Soon, we open 24 hours per day. The past several days and the next few days of preparation will start to pay off.

The Chinese prep cooks and line cooks are great to work with. They all come from cooking schools from all over China. They have a strong work ethic and are eager to learn. It is a chore to work with them all day long, though. It is much easier in the Chinese section because they are already familiar with the cuisine. As a western chef working in the western section, I spend most of my time teaching, training, and micro-managing the cooks; as one would expect, they have no experience with western cuisine and have to be taught methods, techniques, use of ingredients, presentation, etc. The language barrier makes it even greater challenge.

I like to teach; that adds to my daily job satisfaction and enjoyment of this project.

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