Germany, Tuesday Evening

PA210119 Tonight at the hotel, we had an interesting dinner of pork, pineapple, peaches, and cheese on toast served with french fries. Afterward, we worked to get Chef Greg Skibinski’s Category B presentation done and ready to go. Chef Thomas, of the hotel’s restaurant, stopped by for a while to watch.Plating went very well, and Greg’s plates look outstanding. I was able to be a “fly on the wall” and watch and learn while Chef Skibinski, Chef Neace, and Chef Potter sliced, dipped, and plated the items. This is valuable experience and knowledge since participating in the International Culinary Olympics has ignited a spark in me – I want to compete now. I feel like I’ve got a head-start on my learning from watching these seasoned professionals go through the entire process.

Chef Stephane Thierry from the Radisson Hecla Oasis Resort in Manitoba Canada was our work-room-mate. He stopped by this evening and we had a great discussion, trading tips and techniques. Chef Stephane is a really nice, even-tempered individual and is extremely knowledgeable about the pastry kitchen. I hope we get to see him again in future competitions.

We have to pack the car at 4:30am to make the drive to Erfurt. It’s 2:42am now, and I am heading to bed for a couple-two-three hours of sleep since I have to drive. Most everything is done, and when I left them, the rest of the team was finishing putting aspic on Greg’s dishes. I feel like we’re ready for tomorrow, which will be another whirl-wind day – arrive at the convention center by 5:00am or so, set up Chef Skibinski’s plates, then leave to drive back to the hotel for a few hours shut-eye before Greg & I go back to the convention center to attend the awards ceremony and clean up. The rest of the team will stay in Gotha to begin organizing and packing our equipment to ship back to Cincinnati.

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On a personal note, I have not been so tired and so exhilarated at once in a long, long time. I drag myself to bed for a few minutes (or hours) of sleep because my body simply cannot continue (I fell asleep at the hotel bar while waiting for beverages for the team!) and I lay in bed reviewing the events of the day and the to-do lists for the next time I get up. All the team members are feeling this way – Chef Rick Potter said, “even my toenails hurt”. Our spirit and enthusiasm remain high even though our energy is a bit subdued. I am pleased at how I’m holding up… My feet are killing me and my back hurts, but overall, I’m where I should be physically for the amount and type of work I’ve been doing.

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