Yesterday I finished my second class at Johnson & Wales: Essentials of Dining Room. I learned so much from this class - enough to color every restaurant experience I have going forward. A sampling of the things I learned:
Always, always, always mark for the course before bringing the course. "Marking" means bringing the appropriate flatware. I was terrible at this at first. I'd have to say: "Ooh, let me get you a spoon for that soup!" I hate when this happens in a restaurant, and I will never forget to mark for the course again.
- Speaking of soup, did you know that a thick soup is served in a bowl with a potage spoon? And a thin soup is served in a bowl with a bouillion spoon? Me either. But I do now.
Garde Manger Buffet
- I learned that "garde manger" means "keeper of the cold food" and that I ADORE the garde manger buffet: pate, crudite, puff pastry with seafood, cold salads... I love it all.
- I learned that chamomile is not a tea at all, but rather a tisane, an herbal infusion. I learned to taste tea with the 5 S's, just like you would a wine: see, sniff, swirl, savor, swallow or spit.
- I learned the difference between viticulture and viniculture, what factors to use when desribing a wine, and how to present and open a bottle at the table.
- That you should always serve "open to the guest" on the right, with the right hand.
- And that I really enjoy serving.
- I know many more napkin folds than I ever thought I would. Above is the bishop's hat. I used this fold when I set the table at John's grandparents' house last week, for which I earned: "This is what you're learning in school?" Note to self: no napkin folds at home.
- Finally, I confirmed the knowlege that going back to school at 31, when you know it's because you're passionate about what you're doing, is by far better than going to school at 18 because you're supposed to. Far better.