Last week, I went to Restaurant Camp. It was at Kitchen Kid Manhattan Beach, where I went for “Mangia, Mangia” Camp last year. I had lots of fun, so I wrote a diary entry for each day.
July 2, 2012
Today was my first day at Restaurant Camp. Wiley from last year was there, along with his adorable sister, Kylie. I was so glad to know someone. Then, I met the culinary coaches, Caryn, Leslie, and Melissa. They were all so nice! Next, we all sat down and mingled while waiting for our fellow campers. I sat next to Kylie and across from a girl named Sabrina. Instantly, Wiley, Kylie, Sabrina, and I clicked. We were inseparable for Monday, and that didn’t change all week.
Next, we played the Name Game. We had to think of a food alliteration, and then show the action used to prepare that food. For example, I was Mashed Potato Meg, and I “mashed” some imaginary potatoes. Sabrina, next to me, was Sherbet Sabrina, and she scooped and ate sherbet ice cream. Across from me, Watermelon Wiley was chopping up some watermelon, and a girl named Crystal chose chocolate. Yum!
After that, we all discussed the difference between fast food, casual restaurants, and fine dining. We named examples for each of the three categories. Like Burger King was placed in Fast Food. Charlie’s in Santa Monica was placed in Casual, and Benihana was put under Fine Dining. We had a whole lot of fun bringing up some of our favorite restaurants.
Then, we split up into three groups. Wiley, Kylie, Sabrina, and I were Group 1, and we followed Leslie into the kitchen for the annual kitchen tour. Because Wiley, Kylie, and I already knew the ins and outs of the kitchen, we talked a lot about “Mangia, Mangia” and aimlessly followed Sabrina and Leslie past the sinks, supplies, main table, spice rack, stove, oven, dishwashing sinks, knives, freezer, fridge, and the pantry. Finally, it was time to transfer to Caryn for some restaurant designing.
“You are each going to design your own dream restaurant,” Caryn explained eagerly. “Here at my station, we will be figuring out our dream decor. I have picked our different home, garden, and food magazines. We are going to make collages in our notebooks.”
We were so excited to design and explore all of our hidden ideas! Sabrina came up with a brilliant Italian/dessert cafe, and Wiley served multi-cultural wines. Kylie had a super cool restaurant going on. I read some of it, but she didn’t share much. I had sort of the same idea as Sabrina. I wanted a cafe with a dessert conveyor belt, but I would also have a special menu with savory entrees. Overall, the collages were such a creative way to get inspiration.
We picked up our notebooks and pens and took them over to Melissa’s Menus. We looked at menus and wrote our own. I had lots of sugary desserts, like gelato, brownie, cheesecake, and other sweets. Wiley decided to serve a dish from each country he imported wine from. He had Greek wine, Italian wine, French wine, and wines from some other European countries. Clever, right? Sabrina decided on lasagna and pizza. Her cafe sounded really good and very authentic! On my menu, I had mostly the desserts I mentioned, but on my special savory menu, I had jumbo shrimp, some salads, and lots of other delicacies. After much hard work, my hand was getting tired. Finally, Caryn called out, “Lunchtime!”
Stir, stir, stir, I thought to myself. This Presto Pesto Pasta Salad was thick and chunky! But, then again, it looked delicious! The cheesy salad was combined with the perfect al dente farfalle and savory pesto to create an amazing comfort food, authentic Italian dish, and a delicious and healthy snack.
Next course was our own individual pizzas. Mine was kind of layered. This might sound not so good, but believe me, it was fantastic! On mine, I put tomato sauce and cheese (of course) and covered it in mushrooms. Now, I love oregano on my pizza! So I put on a layer of oregano, then a layer of pepperoni. Then oregano again. Then parmesan cheese … AND DON’T FORGET OREGANO! Then I added the perfect amount of pepper flakes and way too much paprika. I had to take some — no, most — of it off.
At last, it was lunchtime. A friend of mine, Ruby, made creamy tirimisu with her group. It was so sweet and heavenly and perfectly desirable any day! I even brought some home to my mom, along with leftover Presto Pesto Pasta Salad.
Cute little Stella and her group made a zucchini risotto, and guess what, I made the same recipe last year!
After our notably exceptional lunch, Melissa, Dylan, Ruby, Crystal, Sabrina, Stella, and I played “Guess the Spice.” We tried a spice like coriander, nutmeg, or even garlic powder. From smelling and tasting it, our nose and eyes told us what we had to guess it was. Everyone had a lot of fun proving their sensory skills!
Unfortunately, by then it was time to leave. I was so sad that the day was over, but there was always tomorrow. See you then!
Kitchen Kid Cooking Camp
Tel: (310) 450-3462