This weekend I helped, along with a lot of the other students in the Grossmont College culinary program, at a culinary event. This event, titled Chefs Fire Up the Iron Horse, was a co-operation between The Chefs de Cuisine Association of San Diego, the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association, and the Southern California Vintner's Alliance. It was a food and wine tasting out at the Campo Depot of the museum.
We did preparation for the event Friday morning. We gathered at the school, and made the salads. We made a Caprese salad, potato salad, Caesar salad, seafood salad, and ceviche. I originally was assigned to do the Caprese salad with another student. We washed grape and cherry tomatoes, and did a chiffonade of a tub of basil. We mixed the tomatoes and basil with mozzarella balls, olive oil, and black pepper. We finished quickly, and helped cut up romaine lettuce for the Caesar salad, and cut up more basil for the seafood salad.
Saturday, we met at the school early, and worked out carpool arrangements for the drive to Campo. The reception was held in a large hanger full of engines and cars. The food and alcohol booths were set up along either side of the central walkway, with tables in the middle.
There were stations for salad, seafood, sushi, carved meats, grilled sausage, and desserts. There were tables from a number of wineries in the San Diego and Temecula areas.
There was a mess car with a coal fired stove. The oven was used to braise pork belly in beer, and bake ham. Chili was cooked on the stove top.
We set up a grilling area out back. That's where I got assigned to work. We had to grill a lot of sausages.
The day was perfect. Sunny, a little warm, but with a cool breeze. We got there around ten, and helped set up. We worked cooking and serving most of the day. We did get breaks toward the end. That gave us a chance to try the food, and check out the wineries.
It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too. And, it counts as extra credit for my culinary class.