Monday, August 20, 2007
Fear Factor Italia
I awake again at 6am. I spend the quiet morning hours listening to music and doing whatever in my room. I wanted to eat some cereal but I had forgotten to bring a bowl for myself . I last ate at 6:30 pm the previous night and other than the orange before bed, I have nothing else to eat until lunch, which is at 11:30. We go into the kitchen at 9:15 and start prep for lunch service. Today I am to prep the cock’s head. We get (as in we purchase from the butcher or whoever it is we get our poultry from) rooster head and necks – still attached to each other. I first burn off any remaining feathers, that wasn’t removed, with the crème brulee torch. Then I peel the skin back over the neck bones removing the connective tissue and the esophagus. I cut the neck off just under the head leaving the head and skin of the neck ready for stuffing. The neck is stuffed with a mixture of sausage, ground pork tenderloin, chicken meat, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Before stuffing the neck I must cut off the crown and waddle of the rooster. These are used to make the sauce along with rooster testicles. Sounds like a Fear Factor challenge doesn’t it? The stuffing mixture is then piped into the neck or should I say the neck skin and tied off with butcher’s twine. I prep a total of 6 before service begins.
I also deep fry the zuchinni rounds that is plated along with the cock’s neck. We break for family lunch at 11:30. Our lunch consisted of pasta – and I had said I would talk about the pasta we are served at family meal. It is usually dried Barilla pasta prepared very simply. Simply means – at this point Patrick’s been the only person who has made the pasta since I have arrived – he sautés onions and garlic, adds tomatoes, salt, pepper and a little dried peppers then tosses the cooked pasta in. When Patrick and Genesis arrived (6 weeks ago) and when Patrick was first asked to prep the pasta for family meal, Andrea (the chef) made it clear that they like sauce with their pasta and not pasta with their sauce. Pasta, grilled pork filets…and bread - there is always bread.,,and water. We eat, then step outside the kitchen for a little conversation and café (espresso). Lunch service begins at 12:15 and ends at 3:30. After lunch service I have just under 3 hours of downtime. We usually use this time to hangout, Gen and Patrick have napped. The other guys in the kitchen come up to the apartment and play soccer on the playstation during this time. They smoke and listen to music until it is time for family meal at 6:30. There is also a room in which they can nap and a spare bathroom where they can do their business and shower if they want. If I am not hanging out with Patrick and Genisis, I am in my room listening to language “tapes” on the Ipod, journaling, taking a shower and now that Patrick has lent me his macbook, writing stuff for the blog. I have yet to take the tour for Badia A Coltibuono…sounds strange because this is where I am but there is the wine shop, the bed and breakfast and weekly apartments as well as the restaurant. The buidings are separate and there is a daily tour of the Badia (for short), I think we are planning to take the tour along with the visiting chef from Germany on Tuesday. There are plans to go to a neighboring town after work tonight to have drinks. I am told that it is a 10 minute drive. The thing about that is 10 minutes is relative only to WHO is doing he driving. Danielle leads while Gen, Patrick and I ride with Rene (the German chef) who is staying at Badia so the guys don’t have to back track to the Ristorante and can go straight home afterwards. I’ve heard stories of how crazy fast the guys drive but there is no Autobahn in Italy…there is one in Germany. Rene’s driving had me closing my eyes as equilibrium went out the window. I hadn’t thought to take my WalDram (Walgreen’s version of Dramamine) and the curves in the road were affecting me. I had my eyes closed for a good portion of the way and I was trying to find that pressure point on my wrist that supposedly cures motion sickness. By the time we park the car my wrist is nearly ready to fall off due to me pressing it so hard. The place is gorgeous and even better, they carry our wine. They are unable to seat our large party of 10 indoors so we are outside. We are served wine, bread, and cured meats. Language barriers are broken as the group we had were working with English, Italian and German respectively. Rene takes us back after and I am prepared to keep my eyes closed the entire time back as well as hitting that pressure point – neither works 100% but I also did not have enough to drink as to worry about messing up Rene’s rental. Gen, Patrick and I are revved up even though it was past 1 am. We open up the bottle of Moscato Di Asti and chat until the bottle was empty – which was 3 am. We didn’t have to be at work until 10:30 the next morning anyway. Hooray for early prep.