Skip to comments.What's Your Biggest Holiday Cooking Screw-Up (And How Did You Fix It)?
Posted on 12/19/2012 11:47:18 PM PST by nickcarraway
Holiday cooking catastrophes are nothing new, but when you're in the restaurant business, they can be doubly disastrous.
See also: - Chefs, What's on Your Holiday Wish List This Year? and What's Your Most Horrifying Kitchen Accident Story?
This week, Valley chefs and restaurateurs share their holiday cooking horror stories and let us know how they recovered from them.
Chef Taylor Domet, North, Kierland Fire years ago, I was working at a resort restaurant and let my executive chef help me with a Christmas event -- a plated dinner for 120 people. He said, "I'll take care of the chickens." Ten minutes before plating, he left for the night and I assumed he did what he said. The first five plates we sent out came back with undercooked chicken. It was almost a disaster. We managed to bring the chickens up to temperature and execute by the skin of our teeth! Lesson: Always double-check your misé en placé -- even if the executive chef prepped it himself!
Silvana Salcido Esparza, Chef and Owner, Barrio Cafe and Barrio Queen My biggest cooking screw-up was Christmas 1991. I was starting a new catering project, and it was my first paying gig. My staff was on site, but I got stuck at a train crossing and I had the food. I got there 15 minutes late and the host had already ordered Domino's. My staff and I went home, with hundreds of dollars worth of shrimp and finger foods, and had our own party. The following day, I signed up for culinary school in Scottsdale. To this day, I have a phobia about being late for catered events.
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com ...
My Mom made peach pies for me and the boy once to show her love at Christmas.
We awoke to such a clatter we said what the ****’s the matter?
We kinda peeked though the door and there she wa at 5 AM cussin and fussin and chipping at burnt sugar syrup on the bottom of the oven.
We said whats up? and she cussed and chipped at it and said she made it for us.
We acknowledged her effort, gave her a hug and salvaged the pies, which were quite tasty.
I don’t cook.
Well, have you ever chosen someone else to cook, and realized you made a mistake?
No, but I did make a mistake eating something that my sister cooked once.
1980 I shot a goose. Decided it was Christmas dinner, got a recipe for it, thawed it out and put the ingredients with it and placed it in the oven. Wife had invited twelve of her relatives and I had six relatives and two good friends coming over. wife and I left to get liquor, snacks and little gifts. Came back and while unloading the car I sniffed and said someone’s sewer backed up in the block. We opened the door and I gagged, ran to the oven and when I opened it the smell of rancid fish/ sewer made me almost puke. I threw the bird into the backyard and opened all the windows in the house (During a 12” snowfall). Found out later that my bird had been eating fish mostly (we lived on Lake Erie) and NEVER kill a goose if there are no big grain fields nearby. Called Domino’s for eight Pizzas. Good thing I was well stocked for liquor.
Then, I discovered brining.
And The Culinary Heavens Opened And Blessed Me.
How did I fix it? I had just mopped the floor that morning so I scooped it all up, put it back in the dish and served it.
home made lamb and feta cheese ravioli with home made sauce - plated for serving, turned quickly - spilled entire contents on floor - several hours worth of work destroyed
it's so easy even a caveman can do it, if he had a pot-or-pan and fire, so I'm not bragging or anything...
I catered as well (bbq on site) - didnt you use contracts? - i got 50% up front and allowed 100% refund up to one week before hand - after that - if they cancelled, they bought the groceries. Never had a cancelation
That said - try smoked bbq on a tow behind smoker in 98 degree heat on asphalt / no breeze - I got heat stroke 5x that year, and was seriously concerned about a heart attack
I still would rather be doing that - I love cooking
Dad pulled a similar stunt when we were kids - they shot a bunch of ducks and cooked a couple one night - come to find out they had been at the nearby sewage treatment outflow into Lake Ontario....I dont think he hunted much after that
oh yeah - and once - i had a large crock pot with a removable stoneware liner - the electric base was broken so I made baked beans and placed the stoneware in the oven - after about an hour there was a lot of smoke in the house - the stoneware had broken in two and 2 gallons of beans were on the oven tray
I guarantee I NEVER shot another goose again and gave up duck the year after. I did shoot a bear about two miles or more from the area dump, and I got a whiff of the thing while dressing and didn’t chance eating it. Gave it to a buddy who ate the meat and said it was “Interesting.” I translated that as ‘I don’t know if I don’t like bear meat or I didn’t know how to cook it’.
At Thanksgiving dinner, I popped a bottle of champagne.
The cork shattered parts of the chandelier over the table. Tally one entire dinner ruined by shards of glass. Oops.
My friends dad put a canned ham in the oven. Unopened. Said on the can “Heat and Eat”. Blew the door off the oven and there was hot ham all over the kitchen. It melted the carpet!
Nobody was in the kitchen at the time......
The fix? New carpet, paint and oven.....
...let me count the ways.
You need to pen up wild birds before the holidays and feed them on grains (or whatever). Same I think with other small wild animals that are edible.
THE NIGHT OF THE CHRISTMAS EVE GUMMY PASTA
My In-Laws gave my wife and I a pasta maker. A novelty item to be sure, but I was intrigued with it and began playing around with it.
After a while, I got pretty good, I could get the consistency just right...I was able to make batches of excellent fresh pasta, ziti, linguini, fettucine. I would put portions in zip locks and when I wanted some, I could just pull it out and have fresh pasta!
My in laws are Italian, they used to do the whole “7 fishes” thing (to the extreme) so I offered to make the main course of fresh pasta...my father-in-law, the Italian guy he is, would make the sauce, and good sauce it was. I was really going to impress my in-laws. This was a big deal...they were entrusting me, someone who was only 1/4 Italian, to make the pasta for the anchovy pasta.
The night before, I worked for several hours making enough pasta to feed 20 people. I carefully laid it out, placed it gently in zip-locks and placed it in the freezer.
Then next day, I came over with all that pasta. My In-laws have the biggest pasta pot you can imagine...it must be 25 gallons (in reality...maybe 10 I am guessing...:) so the thing took a frikking hour and a half to boil (or so it seemed)
When the water is boiling, I start throwing the pasta in, but...something ain’t quite right. It isn’t separating normally and is kind of...sticking together in great big huge ziplock sized globs.
Apparently, my clever little scheme didn’t scale up well, and the weight of the pasta on itself in the bags just pressed it all together.
Well...they had a good laugh at that, and my father in law mentioned he had boxes of pasta in the cellar (doesn’t everybody?) So...we dumped out the pot, threw away all that homemade pasta, refilled the pot and started heating the water again. An hour and a half later (again, so it seemed) the water was boiling, so I rip the top off the boxes and pour the pasta in.
I am watching it cook, dutifully stirring it, and I see all these little black specks and think “Hey...I didn’t put any pepper in there...”
And then I realized the pasta had been infested by weevils.
They still talk about that night in her family...
Hahahahahaha! That’s great! You just can’t make that up!
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