Ouch!!!!! I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I can’t believe how wonderful and challenging life can be sometimes.
A couple of month ago, Kevin, our previous F&B (Food & Beverages) manager had decided that it’s time for him to move on, and pursue his dreams somewhere else, and gave his resignation letter to Steven the general manager.
We all got it as a surprise and did not know exactly how things would turn out.
It looked like nobody had a plan that would suit everybody needs, financially and progressively, to match the hotel’s abilities and needs.
For a little while, the F&B department was supervised by Manja, the function and customer relations manager, and to be honest with you, I think she wasn’t very impress with the extra responsibilities that she had now and I totally understand because her current job is already HUGE and she has to do sooooooooo many little (and big, Manja, don’t get angry) things that just keep on piling up into a major and big job. Honestly, I’m not sure that she was aware of all of her duties before she signed up for this position.
Anyway, stopping my praising of Manja, time is ticking and there was no one on the horizon to take the F&B manager role.
Gling Gling… my office phone is ringing. “Itzhak, can you please come to my office?…” Steven asks me. “On my way,” I reply.
“Sit down Itzhak.”
“Now as you know, we are still looking at all options of getting a new F&B manager to replace Kevin, and myself and the directors thought about the option of handing it to you. What do you say?…”
Wow… If you look in the dictionary for the word overwhelmed, you’d see a picture of me at that specific moment. I did not know if I should smile or cry. One side said “hell ya.. Of course I’ll do it. Great opportunity, resume, money, responsibility, hours” and slowly slowly the other side kicks in and I understand the meaning of this role. … The hours, the responsibility, the headache. And mostly thinking about getting this whole department sorted and back on her feet.
“Can I get back to you on this one Steven?”
“Sure Itzhak, let me know after the weknd.”
Now, it’s not enough that I am busy running the kitchen working overtime and constantly thinking about work (even when I need to think about other things, and I let the cheeky ones to understand that) work was ALWAYS there. So what’s going to happen now? I don’t think I have enough hours during the day and enough brain cells to think about 2 departments now.
I had to consider it very carefully, which I did. I also spoke with my dad, who is a very logical dude, sometimes too logical, what made my life as a kid a bit hard sometimes, but I leave it to a different story, and he said and I quote: “there is NO CHANCE ON EARTH that I don’t jump on this opportunity.”
Ok. Let’s rock.
“Steven, I’ll do it.”
It took us about another two weeks to negotiate on the whole contract and decide who is who and what is what.
And there I was, an Israeli guy that came 5 years ago to this wonderful country with so many opportunities, finished his studies about 2.5 years ago, and here I am, Executive chef/ F&B manager of the Quality Cambridge Hotel in the center of vibrant, crazy, unbelievable wonderful city. Sydney.
I’ll leave you with a quick recipe for one of me most popular dishes on my new Retro menu that I’ve just recently launch at the hotel’s restaurant, Café 212.
The old good and respectful, Beef Wellington.
Make about 4-5 portions, depends on the fillet size.
1 beef fillet.
1 packet of frozen puff pastry sheets.
3 table spoon of Seeded mustard
1 stump of Rosemary Chopped fine.
1 whole egg wash.
20 gr of sesame seeds.
Ask your butcher to clean and portion the fillet into 200gr steaks.
Heat up a heavy pan with vegetable oil. I know that some people think that they will prefer to cook their steak in olive oil, but believe me, it IS JUST A WAISTE OF MONEY.
Olive oil burns in relatively low temperature, and by the time your steak in cooked or even just seared your oil will change his form in to smelly smoke and will evaporate strait in to your kitchen hood. Vegetable oil burns in much higher temp and could keep up with cooking of the steak.
So back to the hot pan, season well your steak and send them strait to the pan. Sear them from all sides. It is important to do so to keep all the yummy juices in side the steak and not on your pan, add the rosemary and finish cooking them in the oven on 180c fro about 10 more minutes. Depends on how you like to eat your steak. I think that in our case, beef Wellington will be served best medium well, so your pastry won’t get soggy from all of the cooking juices when it’s cooked under that temperature.
Rest the meat and cool in the fridge.
On your pastry brush the seeded mustard. Put the steak in the middles and wrap it with the pastry.
Brush with egg wash and garnish with sesame.
Bake in the oven at 180-200c for approximately 12 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
I serve it with confit garlic mash potato and veal jus.
OMG, absolutely divine.
And if you’re too lazy to make it your self, you can always come to café 212 and try mine.