In June we were honored to have Claire Hodgson, a head chef at Ottolenghi in London, become part of our culinary exchange. She worked with us in our state-of-the-art 10,000 sq ft kitchen located in Long Island City. It took almost 6 months to sort out the paperwork and make all the arrangements, but on June 15, Claire arrived at our door, knife kit in hand ready to jump in. Here’s what she has to say about the experience:
Neuman’s Kitchen kindly gave me the opportunity to come to New York and work alongside their corporate and events teams through an exchange program set up with Stacy Pearl, Neuman’s kitchen Executive Sous Chef. Stacy had come to London last summer and work with me at Ottolenghi. We noticed a lot of similar aspects between Ottolenghi and Neuman’s kitchen; in that we both present fresh, tasty ingredients in a creative and interesting way.
At Ottolenghi, We do some outside catering and events but not nearly the vast amount that as Neuman’s kitchen. I was very fortunate to work in the brand new space in Long Island City, where the facilities are unbelievable!
The most interesting parts of my visit were seeing the details and organization involved in getting all the orders out. I enjoyed the morning rush of getting all the hot food out and the freedom of creating the custom lunches in the executive boxes.
I liked following the process from working with the events team in the morning; preparing all the items and ingredients from a very specific itemized list, and then seeing how they were used for the event, or tasting later on.
It was great going off site in the truck with Stacy to set up a tasting for a new client. The effort and meticulous details that the sales team and chefs went to was fantastic. The lengths you have to go to in gaining new clients, needless to say, was very impressive to see.
I also had the opportunity to experiment and create new dishes, working on new platters and sandwich recipes. In particular a Swedish Platter with stuffed potatoes, pickles and beetroot cured salmon. I also helped work on the asparagus and basil element to a strawberry glazed chicken sandwich, which was delicious; and created a Moroccan spiced salmon and preserved lemon chutney wrap, which was also good fun.
Not only was my time in the kitchen an amazing experience but I also got the opportunity to attend some events after work like the Slow Foods Distillery event that Neuman’s kitchen catered in Brooklyn. Not to mention all the fun post-work trips Stacy took me to including Katz’s Deli, Union square farmer’s market and the Chelsea market. I don’t know where to begin in thanking Neuman’s kitchen, in particular, Paul and Stacy for making all of this possible! It’s been a fantastic experience that I will never forget. Thank you!
No….Thank you Claire.