Presidents’ Day is usually a day to relax; some people even take the time to learn some history. I, on the other hand, learned something a little on the non-traditional route. I learned how to make a pan seared, caramelized cauliflower with roasted pine nuts and golden raisins. It was with great pleasure that I was afforded the opportunity to learn one of the best selling dishes from Capital Hill’s 5 star neighborhood café with the meaningful name that we all know as Tallulah’s.
Tallulah’s invited FEEST to not only learn how to make one of the top selling dishes, we learned how to prep everything for the dish we learned what a productive and neat-clean kitchen should look like and we also learned how to make selfie magic. (Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself on that last one.) Although we learned a lot from Chef Walter Edward, FEEST was not blind-sided with a few of the very important techniques used in Tallulah’s kitchen. Such as the “bear claw” and “mise en place” (etc.)
Along with learning a new dish that is completely out of my usual menu, I was highly influenced in a positive way by our host for the day Chef Walter Edward. He was really encouraging, motivational & he spoke with great sincerity. Often making himself relatable, Chef Walter Edward agreed that he strives for perfection but accepts that perfection is often not possible. When asked about his opinion and emotions when a plate is sent back to the kitchen his response is simply breathtaking, “it rarely happens, but when it does I always feel like there was something I could have done better” he then continued to say that everyone has a different sense of taste and sometimes ingredients aren’t listed on the menu but Chef Walter Edward made it very clear that alterations for customer satisfaction has/will never be a problem.
I have never been inside a restaurant kitchen and often when people are taken into a restaurant kitchen it is a short and sweet hi and bye to the commercial refrigerator. My fellow intern peers and I went on a tour of the kitchen, prepared the ingredients for that workday and most importantly we met Brandon the line chef who’s last name shall remain unknown because he’s Brandon THE AMAZING no last name needed! All fun and games aside I personally had one of the best experiences of my life thanks to Tallulah’s, Chef Walter Edward, & the woman who made this all possible, Linda Derschang.
Mise en place simply means ‘everything in its place’ & on Presidents’ Day of 2015, sitting in the kitchen of Tallulah’s neighborhood café, I honestly felt like there was no place I would rather be and nothing else I would rather be doing. Instead of learning the history of the USA, I learned the reasoning behind the name Tallulah’s: it turns out that ‘Tallulah’ is actually Linda Derschang’s daughter. With much love, patience, and energy instilled in Tallulah’s, being in the place that provides a family felt demeanor made me truly feel like everything was ‘in its place’.