Guests left inspired and satiated from the dishes served in this term’s Diner Gourmand, our quarterly student pop-up restaurant event. Menu items included seared scallops, guinea fowl, and a yuzu mille-feuille.
Students of our cuisine diploma run a pop-up restaurant event every term as one of the final elements of their culinary studies. These one-time dining events are entirely student-organised and help prepare them for the pace and pressure of restaurant kitchens.
In addition to properly executing their menu, brandishing the techniques honed throughout their programme, students create recipes from scratch. Unlike regular household recipes, recipes for restaurant service come with the added complexity of costing, yield, and optimisation for kitchen operations. These elements combine in an expected cast of drama and challenges, but it is up to the students to cope with them and deliver on a memorable dining experience.
Pithivier of Foie Gras & Wild Mushroom,
Apple Compote, Port Reduction
« Charles Lafitte, Brut Prestige, Chardonnay blanc »
Seared Sea Scallop & Pickled Vegetable Tian
Lemon Fromage Blanc, Balsamic Caviar
« Jean-Claude Mas, Les Grès, Chardonnay Réserve, Pays d’Oc,
cépage Chardonnay 2016 »
Guinea Fowl Ballotine
Textures of Beetroot, Crispy Kale & Cognac Jus
« Albert Bichot, Luberon La Bichette, Bichot Meilleur,
cépage Grenache, Syrah 2014 »
Goat Cheese Bavarois,
Orange & Toasted Walnuts
Chantilly Cream, Spun Sugar
Trio of Mignardise
Champagne truffles, Orangette, Florentine
Jonathan, one of the team leaders of the event, talked to us about some of the issues of the night and how they were overcome:
Q: What was your role for the pop-up restaurant?
I was the point person for the night, and I looked after the team handling the main and cheese courses.
We came up with the recipes, the workplan, and, during service, we needed to have everything heated, ready to serve, and fire the ballotines.
In general, I also made sure we were on track, that things tasted right, and improvised if things don’t go as planned.
Q: Were there some things that didn’t go as planned?
There are always things that don’t go as planned!
The first round of mains that went out was tough. We underestimated how many people we needed to plate during service, thinking we had enough with just our team – but the plating was a bit complex and we needed a few extra hands last-minute.
A couple members from other teams came to help, but they were from different teams, so they didn’t know where things were supposed to go down on the plate. There was no time to slow down and catch people up when you’re in the thick of it.
Q: How did you deal with them?
I originally drew the design on a plate to explain to my own team what needed to go where. Using that, I was able to get the extra hands to understand what we needed quickly – and we got to work like an assembly line. Everyone had one ingredient or component to put down and did it on their own.
Using visuals helped everyone picture the dish better and the second round of dishes went out much smoother.
Q: What was the biggest lesson from the pop-up restaurant?
Communication is very important. There are many things you can’t do by yourself. You need to keep talking to your team so they’re on the same page.
But it’s also important to be able to handle stress. A lot of things require your attention at the same time, but you have to stay focused and calm to keep communicating with your team.
In general, it was a good experience for all of us! I honestly think we did quite well – I don’t know what the guests thought but judging from the empty plates that came back to the kitchen, I think they enjoyed it!
Our quarterly pop-up restaurant events are open for anyone to attend. Come support our students and their culinary dreams and perhaps be inspired to pursue your own!