Peeling grapes….and more grapes….and more grapes…

Many times through the week, I have opportunity to meet guests who are always amazed that we make all our baked goods from scratch.
I was having a conversation with one guest who had a quite an interest in our pie crust and various dough’s as she did a lot of home baking herself.
I was sharing a story about the time I learned how to make strudel dough from an Austrian chef, that she found quite amusing.
I watched in amazement one day as the chef prepared a softball sized ball of dough and stretched it over and over until it was thin as paper and stretched over a 4 x 8 foot table. He proceeded to make an apple and raisin filling, roll it and bake it. He was making Viennese Apple Strudel.
I was so amazed I just had to learn how to make this dough. I asked the chef to teach me how to make strudel. He agreed and told me that we would make Viennese grape strudel the following week. I was extremely excited to learn how to make the dough, stretch it thin as paper over the table, without tearing it.
The following week, 20 pounds of white grapes arrived. Chef explained that first I must learn how to make the filling. I proceeded to blanch all the grapes and quickly cool them, anxious to make the dough.
Chef looked at me and said “what are you waiting for, peel the grapes!” At first I actually thought he was joking. There was no joking. It took me 4 hours to peel the grapes as Chef made the dough, stretched the dough to make Viennese grape strudel. That was lesson I will never forget…I’m sure chef was laughing as the same thing likely happened to him when he first learned how to make strudel
By the way, the strudel was incredible, especially with fresh vanilla crème anglaise and he did eventually show me how to make the dough as well.
It was times like that, that made me appreciate the basics of cooking and importance of ingredients and techniques.
Some people think that no one will know the difference between homemade and processed foods. I happen to disagree along with many, many of our guests that continue to return to Fresco Cafe knowing that our baking is made from scratch.
It all starts with the basics!

Chef Paul
Fresco Cafe and Catering

Advertisements