UK/USA The Taste Winners Diary: Day 10


Our working space  for prepping
Our working space for prepping

It’s Friday and it’s prep day, so not a lot of exciting stuff although a few bleeps and bloopers along the way.

We had booked Hana kitchens in Industry city perfectly located across the block from the event site with Industy City Distillery. The only time slot they had was 4pm til Midnight and as we had no other options this would be the time we would do the cooking.

The morning started early again – a pattern of no sleeping, 4am , and early starts has remained the course of my whole trip, but hey ho someone said “Your a long time dead” so I won’t moan about lack of sleep!

The late morning was spent just running around getting last minute stuff, loading, unloading the borrowed car aka Sherpa style, the consequence of doing PopUps on two different coasts is that with no direct base there is no storage of any items, so it’s a collect as you go process. Logistically it’s all about the list and making sure we miss nothing. It also consisted of borrowing kitchen equipment from Pete for the most part as the hire kitchen only came with the large catering equipment not any small tools all essential in prep.

Fully laden and ready to cook
Fully laden and ready to cook

We get to the prep kitchen well before our 4pm slot , drop off the non perishables and collect the perishables to cook with that we stored in Industry City Distileries fridges overnight, we have our trolleys loaded up ready to go and press the button for the lift- imperative as the prep kitchen is on the 6th floor!
Graffiti on the lift sign!
Graffiti on the lift sign!

The lift doesn’t come? We wait patiently , although after 10 minutes we were now into our paid cooking time, we pressed the lift call button again, we wait 5 more minutes still no lift. No more waiting we had cooking to do, Louise opted to do the 6 floor jog upstairs to find out what was going on, a few minutes later she returned to say the brakes on the lift were broken! The prep kitchen said they would extend anytime lost so at least some benefit there.it would have taken a n hour to walk up and down the 6 floors of stairs, so next problem solve of the prepping commenced.

The company on the other side of the building had a lift and we asked could we walk through their site to get to the other side, agreement made ,we set off with our laden burgeoning borrowed shopping trolleys full of unprepped food and made the 6 floors in the lift, walked through a cushion making factory and out to the other side to Hana Kitchens.

It literally was unpack, allocate working stations, familiarise ourselves with the location of ovens, dishwasher, get cooking, large equipment and off we set.
Each of us Louise, Julio and myself had a work station each and we got our heads down and got prepping we were catering for 100 of everything so that we had enough food for our 80 guests.


I started with making my different flavoured pastries as they need to chill before I could roll out:
Cumin and cardamom crust for the Chicken curry pies with brown butter mash
Nutmeg sweet pastry for the Sticky Toffee Pudding Pie
Then onto the Sticky Toffe Pudding Batter
Roasting the chicken as stage one of the curry filling
Making the spice mix for the curry pie filing
Prepping the vegetables with Julio
Making a herb crust for the fresh goats cheese
The list went on and on……

Louise made her Preetzel dough,
Prepped the mini pears for poaching in red wine and spices
Made her pulled pork for braising slowly…..

Julio worked diligently doing the dressings, garnish and prepping the potatoes for my mash and anything else we needed help with, speaking Spanish to the support team at the kitchen and making sure we followed all the protocol required.


Several hours in, ( 11pm), and culinary disaster struck Louise’s Pretzel dough was not poaching or baking properly and my mash was just gluteny and if we worked it more would be wasted, and even though it tasted delicious needed a quick remedy . Solution roast of the potatoes to make a crust , delicious and problem corrected. Pretzels attempted to make them into Preztzel sticks but the water want boiling upto to the right temperature and they just weren’t baking right. Consensus was to scrap the pretzels and make sure we had a Solution in the morning. Solution came with Julio saying he and his girlfriend Madeleine would make Empanadas , delicious solution in place.
Everything else was perfect so with our time running out we sanitised, cleaned, loading everything up on a speed rack for storing overnight in the walk in fridge for collection tomorrow.
So as much as was humanely possible done and prepped. Exhausted we got back to the apartment at 130am, I crept into my room not to wake my sleeping hosts and slept for as long as my body would allow ready for Event Day…….
Our NYC event on Saturday 8th November
Our NYC event on Saturday 8th November

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