In my case, I was asked to help with some kitchen work, as many of the regulars are either in the choir, or couldn't make it. Naturally, I said no. Then ended up going and helping Reverend Naomi despite that, as apparently she and I have a totally different understanding of my saying no to her. And so, I was tasked with cooking the yakisoba, which would be served in Bento-style boxes. This means warm, not hot, and that is a hard sell with fried noodles. Plus, a brand new pan, one equipment I have not used, and noodles that are the hardest to use for this purpose (despite what the label says). So, an 8-burner Wolf Commercial range, nice, with an 8" high, and 12" wide ledge built for the fact that everyone else that uses this stove is under 5'-2" tall. So far, by back is okay, but, reaching over that ledge, hmmmm...if I am going to do this more, we need to see about moving that thing.
Yes, I wore a hachimaki
It was hot, as are all commercial stoves when going full blow, and I prefer to cook full blow when I can. So, a hachimaki was fashioned, as I forgot a cap, my toque would be a little over-the-top, and let's face it, I rock a headband. The other beauty of this, is that as the celebrity cook, all of the prep was done, all of the mis was done, all I had to do was cook. Easy job, if a little toasty.
Brand Spanking New
Ever cook in a brand new, uber-shiny pan? Truly, I hate it, I much prefer my oddly greasy, well seasoned and worn out looking pans, as I know they cook with little stick. This thing was so new, and yet, here we are, several pounds of onions to saute, then many more pounds of cabbage, and then carrots. Prepare the chicken bits, along with a tare for flavor. It all goes along so swimmingly.
There were actually four service tubs of vegetables and three huge colanders of noodles, all needing to be combined in my brand spanking new pan, sticking like duct tape every step of the way. One of the problems with this all, is that since these were to be served Bento-style, the noodles had to be lower in grease than normal, and a new pan wants more grease. Still, there was the job to do. Frying up the overall dish in 8 batches, things moved along nicely, with the final result being not too bad.
Done and ready for packing
My schedule goal was to have it all done by 3:00 p.m. for packing and sale. I hit that with about 5 minutes to spare, and things were looking good for all. And I did manage to do this, managing a few different pots, with just two grabs of a hot oven door, three scalding splashes of water onto my forearm, two dips of my hand into the boiling water and maybe three incidents of grabbing a very hot handle. Not so bad really. I have some chops still, I think. Incidentally, for those wondering, it was all kept very hot, well above Safe-serv standards. (I found myself thinking "I could totally do a ramen pop-up out of this kitchen")
And why would I do this anyways, it's not like I am all that religious, sort of religious, well, religious at all, okay, I am amazed the windows don't blow out of the chapel when I enter the church. But, I grew up in this building, a lot of who I am came from the people who are a part of this church, and who loved this old institution. They are the only people who are not family, who can call me Bobby and I will answer. And if they call, I will answer, as in the end, it isn't about the building, the Book or even about the food, it is about the people and what they mean to me.