On day two of my internship at NOPI I meet sous-chef Paula and she assigns me to the pastry chef, an Italian guy from Bologna named Andrea. At 8:00 we start with the breakfast service and he shows me how to make and plate the black rice dish with mango and banana. After he showed me I did the rest of the orders for this dish. While we wait for the orders he is churning ice cream that we need for lunch and dinner service today. We also prep for the baked chocolate ganache with orange oil and crème fraiche. We mix and bake the ganache together and I make the orange oil alone. Then we prepare a crème that we serve with the pineapple sorbet ice cream which we then put into piping bags and store it for later. I start to understand that kitchen prep also known as ‘mis en place’ is the lifeblood of restaurant dishes. It allows you to cook and serve any meal “a la minute”.
We then mix the batter for the roasted corncake and pickled strawberries. The burned butter we use in the batter smells amazing. We also put this batter in piping bags and in the fridge for later use. We then have breakfast which Andrea prepared while I was plating the black rice orders. He made scrambled eggs for the staff and they taste absolutely fantastic. I have seen him make it so I know it must be this good because of the amounts of butter, cream cheese and parmesan cheese that went into it.
After breakfast we go back to our section and then all of a sudden Yotam Ottolenghi walks in and comes into the kitchen to say hi. He walks up to me and says ‘So, now you’re not only cooking Ottolenghi at your own house, but also here…..?’ As he follows me on Instagram, he knows I’m a big fan of his recipes. I tell him I’m doing an internship at NOPI for 6 days. He talks to some of the chefs and then he comes back to ask chef Andrea to make him something nice he can taste. Andrea makes him a pineapple sorbet with tamarind, and Pampero rum infused with banana leaves, and powdered sugar infused with kaffir lime. Yotam is clearly impressed with the dish. Hole in one for chef Andrea. Before Yotam leaves I ask him to sign a copy of Simple for me which he does and he tells me to put it away before someone else takes it.
After he left chef Andrea and I start roasting barley to make malt ice cream for tomorrow. We warm up milk, cream, malt and the roasted barley until it starts to simmer. Then we put it in a container to cool down and get infused with the barley overnight. Tomorrow chef Tim is going to show me the rest of the process of making the ice cream. Chef Andrea tells me it takes a total of 3 days to make this ice cream.
At 15:00 chef Paula shouts the last order into the kitchen and we plate the last baked ganache and some ice cream. After that order we are done in the pastry section. I then ask the larder section if they need help. They need a lot of garlic and shallots cut on a mandolin so I help them with that. Luckily all goes well on the mandolin, even though I don’t have my mandolin glove with me which I always use at home. Before I realize it, it’s already 15:30 and my shift is over. During the staff lunch I pass around some Dutch goodies (stroopwafels, pepernoten and kruidnoten) which I brought from home. I get a lot of positive reactions on the treats and the stroopwafels are everyone’s favourite. Then it’s time to go back to my hotel. My feet are killing me, but who cares. I had a fabulous day…….