28 November 2010

volunteering at FareStart #2

I had so much fun helping out in the FareStart kitchen back in September that I decided to do it again in November.

As testimony to how popular volunteering at this charity is, I reserved my spot two months in advance and by the time we showed up they were booked through the end of the year. Nice. This time around I didn't go alone and was joined by Dean J, RC R and Jennifer W. Good times.

The chefs wasted no time putting us to work. My first task was...

Sandwich efficiency!
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We're talking 50 sandwiches in record time. One slice of bread, meat, lettuce, tomato, the second slice of bread, condiments, apple, carrot sticks, done.
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In the mean time Jennifer was tasked with chopping tomatoes. Kitchen efficiency seems to be all about large, mechanical devices. Why use a knife to dice the tomatoes when you can just cut them in half, remove the stem and then use a massive, cast metal contraption to pulverize them?

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Jennifer does tomatoes.

Everything here is big. Need to add a pinch of spice? Here is how you do that FareStart style.
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Meanwhile RC was getting his hands dirty (figuratively only – see gloves for proof) with some vegetables.
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That guy has some work ethic! Just check out the fruits (or vegetables in this case) of his labor.
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Of course slicing vegetables is not all RC did. Chef Louis also put him in charge of the salad dressing using what can only be described as some slasher movie prop.

1000 gallons of 1000 island.

This theme was repeated more than once...
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Even just sitting there it looked menacing.
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He got so good he could do it one-handed. FareStart has obviously tapped into some hidden talents here.
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Dean was doing what I started off with last time I was here – slicing bread.
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There were a rash of injuries on this day. Not only did I get blisters from slicing bread again – proving irrefutably that I don't have a single blue collar cell in my body – but Dean and Jennifer cut their fingers.
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Note phenomenally cool, cloth adhesive bandage. These things are the best I have ever used! They stuck like crazy, are flexible and last. Why can't they sell stuff like this in drug stores?

I must have felt pretty indignant from my injury because when Dean tried to document it, I proceeded to give him a load of crap for not knowing how to operate my camera.

Blister

Speaking of big, mechanical devices, this kitchen is loaded! Here are some of my favorites.

The steamer/fryer/cooker thing.
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The crockpot(?). This was fully five feet tall.
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Not sure what this was but damn it was big.
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They do everything big here at FareStart. Not exactly sure what this was for either but Chef Louis said if I keep coming back he might show me.
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In spite of all the injuries, being intimidated by large appliances and tired, sexual innuendo we got our jobs done. Case in point; croutons for everyone.
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We call it enchilada, you call it industrial grade calking.
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Lunch! I think...
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Dinner. I'm pretty positive.
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Part of the thrill of working here is you get to eat your own food. And really, they help you cook up quite the lunch buffet as you can see here.
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As industrial as the kitchen looks in the hands of skilled FareStart chefs it produces some extremely delicious food. Here is what we sat down to for lunch.
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Can you say fresh asparagus, mixed green salad, new potatoes with sautéed mushrooms, various cheeses and a chicken/rice dish? We could.

Thanks to my friends for joining me, to FareStart for allowing this and to the invaluable service they provide.

Here are all the pictures and video.

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