Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Dinner/Exam...............Part Two

So with the black pants/not black pants saga behind us. Mark and I leave work earlier than normal, so that we are not late for Dinner. We came home Mark showered and changed, I just freshened up, because there was no time to shower and dry my hair, which takes forever, seeing that Dinner was 6.30 for 7.

We arrived at the school at 6.15pm, I don't know how we managed it, but we did. Most days we only leave work at 6pm. It was pretty deserted outside the school, the gate was locked and Mark did not want to park in the street. We waited in the car and around 6.25 pm other cars arrived, gate opened and we pulled into the school gate.

Turns out the people who arrived were some "musicians" for band practice - neither parents or students. We went round the back and sat at the tables outside and waited. The first parents to arrive - looking all eager and excited. Chad came to say hello. He looked so smart and I wish I had a photo of him - but I was not to embarrass him taking photos. I kept teasing him, saying I needed photos for my blog  - the answer was no. So the only photos I have are these two I took last night, of The White Shirt and The Blacks Pants.  {I did start this post last night, but never managed to finish it}

Chad was a waiter - there were 4 waiters - 3 boys (including Chad) and one Girl. In total 9 students do Hospitality. The other 5 were chefs and more boys than girls do hospitality. Is this because more men are chefs in general or is it because the boys thought it was an easy subject? I don't know it is hard to tell, one boy most definitely has the drive and passion to be a chef. The others including Chad - I doubt it very much.

Other parents started arriving and finally Only Girl. came up to us and said we could go towards the door as we would be seated soon. Teacher called Chad's parents and Passionate about cooking's Parents. Were we in trouble? Were our children in trouble? No that is just how they were going to seat us. Only Girl was our waitress for the night. She introduced herself, seated us, introduced the welcoming drink and brought it to us. Chad seated his guests then Boy One and Boy Two seated theirs and then they went back to get their other guests. They were so nervous.

The waiters were the chefs for the first exam. It was breakfast for the teachers last term. They pulled the short end of the straw without a doubt. Being waiters for the first time ever for virtual strangers, is on par, with Public Speaking in my opinion. Even worse having to serve the parents of your peers, your harshest critics - shame I really felt for them. Being critiqued by parents is just on a totally other level. Even your own parents, not the critiquing, but not many children are confident enough to pull off their school persona in front of parents.  Fortunately it was only 9 couples, actually 8, because one boy never had his parents there, he had two boys in his class as his guests. Apparently he did not want his parents to come - maybe his parents could not make it.

Teacher explained that we would have salads for starters, different pastas for main and Lemon Meringue and Coffee for dessert. She said it was a buffet, but the waiters would be there to attend to our needs, bring juice; take away plates etc. The tables were set with wine glasses, for white and red (no wine though - just for exam purposes) and candles on the table and our side plates were for our starters.

We duly went up to get our salads, then it was time for main. Teacher sat down to grade them. Chad and Only Girl were standing at the buffet table, introducing each dish. The pasta was homemade, made from scratch. There was Carbonnora; Bolognese ; Alfredo; Spinach & Something and the last one I can't remember. We were lining up and getting our food, next thing teacher was standing there, the two boy guests were in front of me and she said to them let me dish up. I thought she saw them struggling so was helping them. Chad and Only Girl greeted me, told me what each dish was. I dished up a tiny bit of Bolognese ( my low cholesterol diet still very much on track) as I picked up the serving spoon of the Alfredo, it was snatched out of my hand by teacher and she plonked a spoonful of Alfredo on my plate. I was stunned. Who does that?? Maybe she was tired, maybe she was harassed, I don't know, but it was dam rude.I just walked off without even considering trying the other pastas. Good for my diet!!!

Apparently Chad and Only Girl were meant to dish up, but never did because the parents just starting helping themselves. Surely Teacher should have explained to the parents that we would not be dishing up our own food. After all it was supposed to be "Fine Dining" buffet style, not a carvery in a cheap restaurant where they guard the meat with their lives and only the meat. Some dads were obviously hungry and wanted more and Teacher in her loudest booming voice said "If you hungry you can come back for seconds." 

No parent went back for seconds, imagine how the chefs felt when the waiters brought the serving dishes back to the kitchen still full of food. The food was really good, what I had of it and the students did really well. The waiters and Only Girl waitress were all very professional and their nervousness was covered up with sweet pleasant manners. After all our  my stress about the black jeans/pants saga in my previous post (I know I do stress over nothing usually) and Chad's last minute stress about smart black pants, I think he could have gotten away with the not quite black jeans (image below), because only Boy One and Chad had smart black pants on. Only Girl waitress and Boy Two had black jeans on. I think Boy One waiter had smart black shoes on, I can't remember if I noticed his shoes and Only Girl and Boy Two had "All Star" type shoes on - not smart at all. The brief was for comfortable shoes, did not specify smart. Boy One waiter had a shirt on that I was going to buy Chad, but it was not plain white and had those elbow protector kinda goodies on them, like a denim colour and the same material on the collar. When I told Chad that I nearly bought him a shirt like Boy One. He was like "Good you didn't coz I don't like it"  

Not Quite Black Jeans

Chad really looked smart, all the waiters did and again I am so sad about not having photos. Chad knows how important photos are to me and some times I think he does it to just annoy me - that is how Chad rolls. I think he secretly wishes I would just take the photos, like when he told me Passionate About Cooking Chef's dad just walked into the kitchen and said "Come Come kids Photo Time"  and took photos of all of them. If Chad did want me to take photos, he knows by now that I am over that whole "pretend I don't want you to do something, when I really want you to" mind game that he used to like playing.

Everything went smoothly, but there was a bit of a wait before coffee and dessert was served. When it was finally served, after they cleared away the piles of untouched food and stacks of plates that were just there for decoration. They cleared the tables and then brought out the Lemon Meringue. It was good, but the base was a bit hard and was made with crackers, I think or pastry that went very hard. A tennis biscuit base would have been better. Not the students fault - more a case of there are better easier recipes out there.

I should have taken photos of the food, but it was one of those things - phones away and switched off - out of sight - out of mind. Chad's table wanted coffee (we didn't have) Chad took the man's cup and disappeared forever. They ran out of coffee and he said he was tired and had enough and by then he did not care whether the man received his coffee or not.

It ended off with the Chefs and waiters all introducing themselves to us and the chefs telling us which dish they made. Then it was tidy up time. The parents sat outside whilst they tidied up - which took forever. I was starting to get extremely worked up. It is extremely difficult going to the school, because of the reminders of Clint going there and although I make it about Chad, just sitting and waiting and getting more and more tired, the lines get quite blurred and memories overlap. Finally it ended at close to 21h30.

I forgot to ask Chad what he did between 2 and 6 when the chefs cooked. So yesterday he told me that, the waiters had to prepare the tables, wash and steam all the cutlery, crockery and glasses. Not only 18 sets, but all the crockery etc put out on display. They had to set out the tables and chairs and then lay out the tables and buffet tables. It was a really long day for them.

Chad also told me that their grade will be the last to do Hospitality. The school is dropping the subject and will only be doing consumers. Consumers is more on the business catering side. It is a shame for kids like Passionate About Cooking Boy. I do get the idea that the teacher is not too passionate about it. When Clint went to the school (he never did hospitality) the teacher they had then was very passionate about the subject. I don't know when she left or how long this teacher has been doing it, but just by the way Chad talks and observing the other night, you can see there is no passion, compared to before when Clint's friends and family kids who went to the school did Hospitality and the way they spoke about it then.

Its done and wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was quite pleasant overall and I am so proud of my boy.

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