Parma ham & melon salad marinated with honey and truffle oil

Two weeks of absence. Solitary? natta...

For the past month, this was what I've been putting into my mouth: greasy battered fish, gluey soup that you don't even know what it is except for the flour and chicken powder, slurping fake strawberry smoothie. I've been food auditing for a restaurants chain. Some people might say it's the perfect job, going about eating the whole day. Well, I tell you not. Imagine eating the same food everyday, day in day out. Anything that is good will be horrendous after the 4th tasting session on the same day. I only hope the next tasting could be better. By the end of the day, you couldn't put anything else in your mouth and seriously, by the end of all these, I need to change my dress size.

Being in the kitchen for a good portion of my life, I notice a lot of chef don't taste their own food. Even during basic preparation of sauces and soups. Sometimes I wonder. How can a cook cook food for hundreds of people and not knowing how their own food actually taste? Had they once, when first started out, filled with passion, ideals and perfection to what professional cooking should be. Or had they through out the years, been beaten down with mundanity, the stressful demands in the kitchen plus the low salary, turned chef-ing into a job that just foot their bills.

I agree that in order to have consistency across all outlets, it relies heavily on good recipes and portioning SOP. Reviewing the latest food prep SOPs, it's very detail in telling you a teaspoon of this and that. But then again, that guy prepping the sauce might overlook on the salt or misinterpret a teaspoon which can be leveled, rounded or heap. That chap finishing this dish confidently assumes that the previous guy had properly seasoned. Before the dish is presented to a customer on the dining table, this dish might change hands 4 times from prepping to finish. 4 cooks and still no one spotted the flaw? What happen and went wrong along the way?

SOPs serves as a guide and a lot of work are still dependable on the cook himself as each batch of produce is different and must be adjusted accordingly. That's the different between professional chefs and cooks. To fix this issue, the recipe SOP needs immediate revision, I will add in check-points and will have cooks sign-off each batch. So I will know who to shoot when something went wrong.

For now, I am so glad that the food audit sessions are over. With a report, I closed the health hazardous, artery clogging audit session. I can get back to my kitchen to cook and eat food that I feel good about. The good old parma ham & melon salad marinated with honey and truffle oil. Something bright, cheery and refreshing to snack over television and a good glass of Italian white.

(marinate and season according to taste)
Parma ham
Truffle oil
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh crack black pepper
Shavings of parmesan reggiano
Balsamic vinegar reduction

Cut the melon into cubes and let marinate for an hour with honey and truffle oil. Lay a strip of parma ham. Place the rockets and a cube of the marinated melon on one side. Roll up. Continue with the rest and stack it on a place. Spoon honey-truffle marinate over the parma ham, Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle some shavings of parmesan reggiano. Finish with a crack of freshly ground black pepper and a brush of balsamic vinegar reduction around the plate.

-till next post, ss.

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