Monday, October 19, 2009

A Perfect Storm ... of Desserts

This past week was the busiest banquet week we've had at the hotel since we opened last November. In five days, from Monday through Friday, the pastry department produced for banquets 700 plated desserts, a full sheet of focaccia and four extra batches of flatbread in addition to our regular production for Grange. The list of desserts included:
  • Chocolate Caramel Tart w/Caramel Sauce - 30

  • Gianduja Moussecake w/Chocolate Sauce - 30 (a new banquet dessert; see picture, right)

  • Mixed Berry Shortcake w/Orange Buttermilk Scones - 30

  • Deep Dark Chocolate Cake w/Espresso Sabayon - 100

  • Lemongrass Panna Cotta w/Ginger Cookies - 30

  • Orange-Almond Cake w/Mixed Berries - 100

  • Chocolate Raspberry Moussecake w/Raspberry Sauce - 60

  • Chocolate Mousse w/Brandied Cherries - 30

  • Lime Tarts w/Lime Curd - 35

  • Apple Crisp w/Cinnamon Anglaise - 30

  • Butterscotch Pudding w/Milk Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies - 230
The desserts required various components and accompaniments and I'm proud to say that we make all of them in-house: tart shells, cake layers, cookies, sauces ... even the brandied cherries. It's an incredible amount of work but I think it shows in the freshness, taste and quality of the final product.

And of course all of these banquets meant that we had a full hotel for most of the week, so we also needed plenty of desserts for Grange. To make the week even more challenging my assistant, Jackie, was out sick for two days.

But you know what? We all pulled together, and with a little help from externs and stewards we made the banquets, we kept Grange well stocked, and we had a lot of very happy guests. And, we managed to have some fun, too, as you can see from Jackie's picture. She's posing a la Vanna White next to one of the banquet carts loaded with the Deep Dark Chocolate Cake.

It's so important to have a relief valve when you're faced with this kind of daunting workload. Jackie and I share a lot of laughs as we work and allow each other to vent when we need to. I'm very fortunate to have an assistant who cares about the desserts as much as I do.

I'm not eager to repeat this kind of week any time soon, but I do know that when another dessert storm appears on the horizon, the pastry department will handle it with determination, perseverance ... and humor!