Challenge and Confidence
I’m sitting here, the day after a formal dinner party for some friends, and great physicians, we are hoping to recruit to staff our local hospital. I have to tell you, I’m feeling pretty good about it.
I can’t say that about every party Randy and I have given because in the past I’ve been a little frantic and underprepared for those events. I’ve also had the benefit of some expert culinary coaching in the last couple of months. My mentor? A new friend and blessing to both of us; a gifted and internationally acclaimed chef; one of the most passionate and influential teachers we have ever met, he’s Chef Gordon Rader. He is the guru and Program Director of the Culinary Arts program at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, IA. Check out some of his cool and practical video podcasts here.
The difference between this party and all the others we have given in the past can be summarized in two words: CHALLENGE and CONFIDENCE.
I thought about the menu, we discussed it, and had all of the menu items nailed down one week in advance. In the past I didn’t think about the menu until a couple of days before the event, probably because I was insecure and dreading it. This time I took on the dinner as a CHALLENGE instead of a burden and my whole frame of mind changed. I actually enjoyed the entire process, from planning the menu, to buying the food, preparing the gourmet dishes and finally presenting it in an alluring way, it was all part of that CHALLENGE.
The other part of the equation was my increased CONFIDENCE. I know I have served self-taught and nutritious creations to our family in the past, but I was really in a rut when it came to menu selection and complex dishes. Taking those culinary classes increased my confidence and opened a whole new world of food possibilities for me. I really have had the time of my life, and I highly recommend anyone who loves eating and cooking to get some serious training.
Aversion or Adventure?
Think about it. Food is a daily necessity we can’t do without, so why not make the process of eating an adventure, instead of drudgery? In addition, all of the items I served last evening were already tested on my family (remember Mikey, the Life cereal kid?), that gave me an extra confidence boost. I actually had fun last night, talking to my guests and serving them dishes they might normally expect only at fancy-shmancy restaurants. I am even thinking about the next gathering and how I can improve.
Changing my frame of mind was a game changer for me.
Try a visual sample of these appetizers (l to r): Profiteroles with goat cheese mousse and tapenade or sun-dried tomato pesto, tender asparagus spears with prosciutto and garlic aioli, sweet and salty bacon mixed nuts.
Everyone flipped over them, but if I had to take a “finger” poll, the nuts really disappeared quicker. But alas, they were all winners….there’s none left for snacking today.
If you want to take a stab at these goodies, check out the recipes here