This week, the Petits Chefs did something a little different – we catered a dinner for 6 using recipes from In the French kitchen with kids!
We cooked 7 (!) dishes from the book and served a family from the school who had bid on the opportunity in a silent auction at last year’s school Gala. At the time of donating the dinner (in April 2017), I guess I was on a bit of a high as I’d just handed in my manuscript and feeling like I was invincible (LOL, so naïve because at that point I had no idea how much work there was STILL to be done on the book!) and if I’m being honest, this was quite an ambitious idea for a group of 10-14 year olds to get that amount of dishes done in 2.5 hours. The good news is that we did it (of course we did!).
For various reasons, I only had 7 of the boys with me on Monday which made it quite challenging given the menu (you know, you can’t just change the menu at a restaurant because the staff doesn’t show up!) but they settled into their work, each boy more or less focussed on one dish. From 3pm to 5.30pm when the guests arrived, they were working pretty solidly and despite the fact that there was lots of lovely cooking, chopping, grating, mixing, stirring, whisking, frying etc… going on, *I* was also working pretty non-stop so I literally have a handful of photos to prove we made anything (it’s hard to be instructor and photographer in some sessions!).
The gougères for the apéritif were a bit of a group effort and they turned out beautifully!
Our entrée (in the French sense, meaning “starter”) was a Trio of Bistro Salads (carottes râpées, céleri rémoulade, taboulé) and whilst it was the most labour intensive plate (a fair few ingredients, lots of mise en place to prep), the group of boys making this worked under the supervision of my fabulous assistant Janet and produced a bistro-quality plate:
While I couldn’t quite appreciate it in the moment, all these dishes came out beautifully. It’s always nerve-wracking to publish something (a recipe, a blog post – yes, even after 9 years of doing this, I still get nervous hitting publish” a few times a week!), let alone a whole cookbook of recipes that people will be paying money for… but to actually serve people food from your book (and be there to see their reactions) is even more so! The feedback from our guests was super positive and I was especially thrilled to see they were super impressed that a small group of boys had pulled off these high-quality dishes. I mean, I never have any doubt that we can achieve the impossible (in a “big picture” kind of way) but for a while there in the “trenches” I wondered if we would manage to pull it off.
Thanks so much to the boys for making my food look and taste great and to their parents for letting them stay late at school to help with this. When your guests email you and say “What a great way to start the week!”, though, you know you all did a great thing.
In the French kitchen with kids will be published on July 31st, 2018! Click here for pre-order details!