Spicy Thai Red Curry Soup with Jessica George
“A problem shared, is half solved.”
The function meant a week of preparation and then a 06h00 start on Sunday only to finish at 04h00 on Monday. That was almost 24 hours of non-stop preparations, cooking, breaking down and cleaning up. And we did it – everyone with a smile. On Tuesday, after a short break and a chance to reflect, I asked the students whether were still interested in a career in the industry. With a sparkle of achievement in their eyes they responded in unison – “Yes, Chef!”.
After every function we have a debriefing session that we call a reflection period. I asked the students what they had learnt from the exercise. Maganizo Penti, who came to the school all the way from Malawi, said he realised “that a problem shared, is half solved”. I too learn from the students’ comments. The consensus was that it was a very worthwhile learning experience – “a hugely beneficial, memorable occasion”. It was satisfying to note that the students had taken in the many little, yet very important, details they’d been taught. For example, because it was raining, they remembered to pack a few door mats which were placed on the floor of the satellite kitchen to prevent anyone from slipping. Another tip they remembered was that there should be enough trestle space to ensure all starter plates could be laid out to allow quick and efficient starter service. Everyone in our team needed to be present to secure smooth-running service to the 300 guests.
On the day, Maganizo was full of motivating words. “United we stand and divided we fall,” he said adding, “if we are united, we will never fall.”
The hours we worked are not the norm, but they do happen in this industry and I believe in preparing aspiring chefs for every eventuality. Remember, when everyone wants to “play” we work and ensure we provide memorable experiences. Easter Monday was a time of recuperation.
Today I am introducing readers to Jessica George. The reason I have chosen her is because at 02h00 on Easter Monday she was regaining her lively spirit in mud puddles. That was the farm girl in her. Remember how the rain came pouring down? Then at about 03h00 she asked me to open the school so she could place all the small utensils in the kitchen. I seldom stop students from going the extra mile, so I surprised myself when I told her to go home…
It’s exciting to see the growth and development in the students. Initially I had to follow up on Jessica to help her with organisational skills. The course focuses a lot on taking responsibility and meeting deadlines and I have seen Jessica respond well to my philosophy of being “hard on rules but fair on people”. She is steaming ahead - pushing the team to work fast, and getting their tasks done with perfection and haste. To me her handwriting reveals so much. I think her brain ticks extremely quickly and her hands can’t write fast enough to get what she has learnt on paper. Everything she is learning she shares with her parents. She relates her learnings to the family business and how she could add value and develop certain elements. I look forward to seeing her progress, after all we are only four months into our three-year course.
Jessica is originally from the Cape and I remember her flying to KwaZulu-Natal for her interview. And, I shall always remember her father’s comment to me after the meeting. “Well done on what you have done with your school, we need more South Africans like you,” he said. What a compliment.
Jessica chose to share her Spicy Thai Red Curry Soup. “This dish bursts with flavour,” she says. “It excites my tastes buds and reminds me of some of my favourite things - visiting my boyfriend on his family’s coriander farm; and sitting together as a family at a warm fire while sipping delicious soup and listening to the rain as it pours down outside.”
Although we have had the perfect weather to test Jessica’s soup, we remember the less fortunate who are suffering during this time of exceptionally-heavy downfalls.
Explore my website to find out more about my women’s, men’s and children’s chef ranges. Remember Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home and Baking with Jackie Cameron – the books highlight all my foodie adventures. I always look forward to hearing from you so please communicate via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Jackie Cameron - owner of Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine in Hilton, KZN. For enquires: Email email@example.com “Find me on Facebook – Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home, Twitter - @jackie_cameron and Instagram: jackiecameronincolour”