06 October 2011

Day 37: Multitasking

I have never been a huge believer in multitasking as far as office jobs are concerned. To me, it's a buzzword, like team player and fast learner and self-starter, that people throw around during interviews. It basically means "I know how to stop one task, do a second task, then resume the first task."

We had our first cooking practical yesterday. I had things on the back burner. Also, the front burner and the oven and the cutting board and several containers. Simmering and reducing and straining and chopping. It was a test of timing and multitasking.

We essentially had an hour to make and present three sauces: béchamel, beurre blanc, and hollandaise. Our chef-instructor recommended we all make ourselves personal Cliff's Notes versions of the recipes on index cards so we didn't waste time reading our notebooks because, as he explained, being fast is as important as being good in professional kitchens.

I took the index card thing a step further and created an almost literal step-by-step list of actions, including when I'd step away from the stove to wash utensils or grab more equipment. 
I was hoping to finish in a shade over 30 minutes by completing my beurre blanc and hollandaise while the béchamel was simmering. I ended up finishing the béchamel before the hollandaise. Clearly, I'm not Iron Chef/Top Chef/Chopped material quite yet. I finished with about eight minutes to spare.

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