a little bit of silliness....click on the picture to create a fly for it to eat....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Koto restaurant and Koto Training Centre

The training centre and the actual restaurant are in different parts of the city.  The restaurant is near the old quarter which is the tourist hub of Hanoi.  The two day's I spent in the kitchen there with Mr Doan were interesting to say the least.  Opening at 8am for breakfast buffet the kitchen dosn't stop till dinner service is over.  There is no end to lunch service to allow time to re-stock mise-en-place and clean down in between so everything gets done at a dizzying pace.  With only one oven for the whole kitchen and a tiny fridge for his section it was hard for Mr Doan to work far ahead.  I found it almost impossible to teach much because we were continually lurching from one crisis to another.  Thankfully soon Doan will soon be relocated in the catering kitchen at the training centre where he will be in a position to supply both the restaurant, catering and eventually a cafe that is in the planning stages.
A view of the restaurant from the kitchen

 The trainees and staff do a great job despite these contraints, they work with limited equipment (as many charities do) and still provide a sterling product.
Lunch service with Chef Doan on the far left and Chef Phuong on the far right.
 Today however, was spent at the training centre helping to present a class on Sweet Sauces.  The trainees have been doing their Soups, Stocks and Sauces unit of the syllabus.  Trainers Ms Hue and Mr Doan (a different Mr Doan) both teach in class at the same time so if trainees need extra help it is on hand.
When the trainees are undergoing induction they are taken to the restaurant to spend some time observing and doing a little work experience.  After that they are asked if they wish to undergo kitchen training or front of house training.  Generally the split is around 50/50 but for Group 17 there were only 7 trainees who opted for the kitchen.

Mr Doan observing a trainee's technique.

Creating a Bain Marie to make a sabayon when you don't have enough saucepans...

The sabayon half way to being made

Theory revision  
During the course of the class I demonstrated Sauce Anglaise, Lime Curd, Apple Sabayon, a Stock Syrup, and a Passionfruit Coulis.  The students went on to produce their own Anglaise, Curd and Sabayon with varying results as you would expect from first attempts.  One young woman stood out however, she had real ability and her sauces were invariably excellent. Later in the wash-up room Mai confided to me that she wanted to become a Pastry Cook. I will be keeping an eye on her for the duration of my stay and I'll see if I can't involve her in some of the masterclasses.
Now I'm off to bed, I've developed a nasty sore throat and what feels like the flu...thankfully I have finally been moved to a quieter room so hopefully I can get a good nights sleep and knock the bugs on the head.

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