I could see you all smiling
It was an early Monday morning. Students from four countries had met and should soon began the most intense week in their STUDIELIV. They had three day to complete a menu and TILLAGA it to invited guest. Moreover, this at the same time they would meet and get to know several other student and learn more about the modern sustainable restaurant. Could this be done?
The students from Borås, Jyväskylä and Kuressaare came to the BFZ School in Slagelse (Denmark). Since Slagelse are far away from most of the participant, the journey started already on Sunday. Some came by air but most by car and train.
Four dishes with beverage
During a week, they have to get to know each other, learn to work together and finally make four dishes for paying guest at a restaurant. The theme chosen for this event was locally sustainable, and the menus had to consist of one small starter, followed by fish, meet and a dessert.
The members of each group had met online to plan the week to plan and prepare. Originally they was supposed to use Microsoft-Teams, but as it turned out, there where digital alternatives.
- We thought it would be better if we used WhatsApp instead, since we all have it in our phones. Much handier so we could send pictures and short messages.
- It only took us a few days to have a menu we all liked, said team leader Magnus.
On spot, the teams started well. Just one group had some problems, since there team leader was back home, sick. But a mutual effort by the others, with some help from teachers, got them going.
As a Noble prize dinner, the preparations began Three days before the big day. Everyone works according to a strict schedule both in the kitchen and in the dining room. Monday to Tuesday, the teams prepared the food and learned more about how one can work with sustainability in a restaurant.
At Thursday, 1900 hours, the guests will be served. Before that, everything must be at place. Not just the food. Every table had to be decorated to enhance the theme.
Those responsible for the wait at table are also responsible for the table setting and the presentation of food and drink. Since they are in the focus of the guests, they want it to be as perfect as possible.
On Thursday, the clock slowly tick to seven. There is tension in the air. Everything has to be synchronized to perfection. Everyone wants this to be good, really good. At the same time are both students and teacher unfamiliar with the situation and English as common langue is an obstacle all has to overcome. Magnus is standing at one work station, preparing the fish. At another we find Angielyn who´s giving instructions to her crew. They are both team leaders with responsibility for the group.
Lucky for all, teacher Thomas Munkholm is there to guide. It isn´t that easy to do the job under pressure when you don´t even know where to find the whisk or the spice cabinet.
All around the room student are polishing glass and cutlery. No spots are allowed, all must be shiny and clean.
- We want it to be nice for the guests when they come, said Suvi Hautanen.
- Shall I cut here?
The student ask teacher Lillian what they should do with the ivy on the table. After some thoughts and nodding, she decides to cut it so lies on the table cloth with only some small branches outside. All is just perfect and together with the chestnut nuts the ivy branch creates harmony to the table.
The tables are set with thoughts, a bit different from what the student are used. The cutlery are placed on the side, but sideways and the glasses are not where they used to be. Maybe not the most practical setting of a table during lunch hour, but it looks very nice
- We want them to learn how to set a table in a modern way, exactly as the do at chef competitions around Europe nowadays, said Thomas.
The serving staff had another mission to. As responsible for the table and serving the food, they should also be able to present it to the guest. In detail. Explain where the food came from, how it is cooked and (almost) most important, why they have chosen the beer and wine to go with the food.
When all is over, Thomas sum up the week. He talks for a while but all could be compressed to two simple sentences:
- Well done everyone, beautiful presentations all over.
- I could see you all smiling.