Day 5 of my internship at NOPI

ROVI last night was splendid. We loved almost everything we ordered and had a great time. Of course I went to bed way too late again, but luckily I was not too tired the next day. It’s just that my feet are killing me and I need a foot massage really bad. But my hubby O is not here so that’s not going to happen.

ROVI

For the staff breakfast I decide to try and recreate the scrambled eggs Andrea made earlier this week. I honestly was too tired to come up with something else. Scrambled eggs are best when you cook and eat them immediately so I did not start with the prep for breakfast today.

I started to sort, clean and store everything that came in today. When Chef Quyen comes in I start helping her with her prep for the larder section. I peel 7 kohlrabies, deseed 4 pomegranates, grate 6 cucumbers and slice 6 grapefruits into segments. Again, the quantities are crazy. All the while we talk about food, dinner parties and her idea to take a course in making Thai food. Then she says she might try to get an internship at a Thai restaurant as I did at NOPI. Why pay for an expensive course when you can do it with an internship.

When I’m finished peeling, deseeding, grating and slicing I make the scrambled eggs for breakfast. Unfortunately, I put enough salt in the eggs so it doesn’t need the Parmesan anymore: if I add the Parmesan it would become too salty. So it’s not exactly the same as Andrea’s version, but it was nice anyway. This was my first time cooking scrambled eggs with 32 eggs.

Then Quyen asks me to make a dip with fresh herbs called Green Goddess, but chef Xristos just came in and he’s actually the one I will be assisting today. I clean my work area at the larder section and go to Xristos to see what I can do. Chef Xristos is from Greece and a very sweet guy. He’s constantly calling me beautiful. Hey beautiful, thank you beautiful, can you pass me that beautiful, can you please go get some coriander beautiful…………..If you ever need an ego boost, just spend a day with Xristos.

NOPI

Xristos is on the meat section today and it’s his first time on this section. Nevertheless, somehow he knows exactly what he’s doing and while he’s working on the pass I do some of the prepping for him. Then chef Frances comes to me and asks me if I’m doing something important because he wants me to help him. I tell him that I don’t know if it’s important. I’m doing the prep for Xristos He tells me to stop and follow him because we are out of dried tomatoes. While he’s cutting up 3 big boxes of tomatoes he gives me the recipe for the ginger and garlic paste that goes on the tomatoes. I search for all the ingredients and make the paste in the Thermomix. We then mix it in with the tomatoes and put them on baking trays and in the oven to dry.

Tomatoes NOPI

Then we realize we don’t have enough pork neck skewers for tonight’s service so we start skewering 30 of them together. We start talking and he says he had a day off yesterday and he did a catering job (so basically he didn’t have a day off). He tells me he has a good story on catering jobs. He has a brother who is a member of the Rotary club and he asked Frances to cater a party there. Frances asks him for how many and his brother says 30. Later his brother called him and said it might become 40 and he says ok. When he arrives for the job he heard that there would be 60 people, mind you he was doing this alone. When he entered the kitchen a lady walks up to him and asks him where the rest of the kitchen crew is. She couldn’t believe he came alone to cook for 86 people……….. He slightly changed the menu he was planning to make, did some more shopping and pulled it off. Unbelievable!! Of course he had a good talk with his brother afterwards.

Chef Frances is my favourite to be honest, but don’t tell the other chefs, ok? He has been working for Ottolenghi for almost 16 years now. Chef Frances tells me he always said he didn’t want his own restaurant, but he recently changed his mind. He is thinking about opening his own restaurant in his home country Brazil. I think he will be missed at NOPI when he takes the plunge.

Chef Frances NOPI

After we finish the tomatoes and the pork neck skewers I go back to prepping for Xristos We pick the leaves from 5 bunches of coriander and 5 bunches of mint. This is the base of all the green salads. Xristos and I talk about Greece and London and Holland. He complains about the weather in London and he tells me he prefers nature and quietness over busy London. Maybe that’s because he is from a small village in Greece. He says he wouldn’t go to Amsterdam if he was on holiday in the Netherlands, he would prefer the countryside. I tell him he may want to reconsider the Netherlands altogether because the weather is nothing better than in London.

While we are leaf picking chef Calvin comes in. He comes up to me to ask what I thought of ROVI. I tell him we loved it and that there was only one dish none of us really liked. It was a white polenta with charred grilled peppers. He tells me again that if I ever want to come to ROVI for an internship, I can contact him directly via email. I can’t believe how kind everyone is here.

  

Xristos and I finish the leaf picking and chef Frances comes up to me and asks me if I want to make the marinade for the pork skewers. I look at the clock and it’s 15:30 (I get off at 15:00). I tell him I would love to, but I’m meeting friends for dinner and I need to go now. He says we can do it tomorrow in that case. I walk up to Chef Carlos and ask him if it’s ok to take a picture with the whole kitchen crew. I’m afraid if I wait until my last day it will be too busy to arrange it. He calls for everyone to come and we take a group photo in the kitchen.

NOPI

I then change into my normal clothes and head off to my hotel to get some rest before I meet the ladies for dinner at Scully’s tonight. I also need to call my kids and hubby for the daily update. Tomorrow is my last day at NOPI. I can’t believe it. It went by so fast………….

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