Behind The Scenes At The Taste Of Home Cooking School
Nearly two-thousand of you got enjoy this awesome show from the seats, but what was it like backstage as a sous chef?
The day for the chef's assistants started at 8am and I walked in right when the chef was doing inventory of a huge table of the most groceries I've ever seen in one place besides shopping trips to Price Chopper whom incidentally provided the food for the event. There was much to do namely making a copy of the ten recipes that chef would later do also live in front of the audience and then prepping his food too so everything went smoothly onstage. There were 5 of us and we each got swiftly to work on making 2 recipes a piece. I haven't cooked anything other than mac n cheese or hamburger helper for years so this was a definite step up for me!
With heavy instruction (at least for me) and making lots of messes (sans cuts!) by noon all recipes had taken shape and were in the fridge or cooking in the oven. We washed all the dishes to free them up again for the actual show and then were debriefed on what the chef expected from us while onstage. We rehearsed and had printed instructions for everything (chef runs a tight ship) and by show start we all felt like real sous chefs!
An hour before the show we performed last minute preparations on the food making sure it was all ready for chef. Walking onstage for the first time with a crowd in front of us was pretty surreal as the spot lights were bright and there was a sea of 1,800 faces staring back at us! The time flew as there was always something to do. Chef would do a portion of each recipe in front of the crowd for time's sake and then one of us would go backstage to finish it and dress it to give away at the end of the show and give spent dishes to the dishwasher who was working feverishly backstage to keep everything cleaned and ready.
By the time the show ended two-and-a-half hours had gone by which felt like just a few minutes, but then came the fun part... Striking the set! Yay, haha just kidding. We actually had everything packed up and off the stage in less than an hour which chef said was record time! I hope to be a part of it next year and now you've got a peek into a little of what goes on to pull this Hugely success event off every year. Maybe by this time next year I'll be cooking chicken cordon bleu from memory!