Career Day at Max Ultimate Food
I have a Little Sister (a volunteer Little Sister, that is — I have a real sister, but this is the girl that I mentor) through Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, where I am employed. When my Little Sister grows up, she’s toying with the idea of becoming a pastry chef — or a lawyer, or a vet. She lives for the Food Network and her favorite show is Ace of Cakes. This makes me excited, because I love food, I love cooking and I’m *trying* to get better at baking, so this is something we can obviously work towards together. I also am extraordinarily proud of the skills and goals she already has, especially at a young age. She’s quite the little go-getter.
As part of my job, I was part of a committee that worked on launching a career awareness pilot program for our Big and Little Sister matches. This summer, Little Sisters visited various companies, colleges and organizations, and learned about job opportunities and the experience and education you might need in order to achieve these goals. I took my Little Sister to a career day at Max Ultimate Food, a full-service catering company in Boston. We met up with four other Big and Little Sister matches, and we were all given the opportunity to try our hand(s) at various parts of cooking.
After a tour of the facility, we gathered together and made pizzas — each adult made one pizza and each Little Sister made two, one to eat for lunch and one to take home. The girls learned about some new and different pizza toppings, like broccoli rabe, caramelized onions and goat cheese. Some were more adventurous than others, but my Little Sister stuck to bacon, pepperoni and cheese. She did include ONE piece of red pepper — nothing to overpower the pizza, but something to try.
After setting up the pizzas, we spent some time with the pastry chef and learned how to decorate with yummy butter cream frosting. My Little Sister’s cupcakes were a lot more impressive than mine — she experimented with color and had a better handle on the pastry bag than I did. I also had an unfortunate placement of chocolate frosting on my cupcake, which made it look a bit more like poo than frosting. The pastry chef was SUPER cool, and showed the girls examples of her work, including a picture of a four-foot dragon cake, that was served on moving rickshaws! Though I probably will never be a pastry chef, nor will I have a career in cake decoration, I did confirm that I LOVE eating cupcakes — and I’m pretty much in love with Max Ultimate Food’s butter cream. It’s the best I have ever tasted — and that’s saying a lot, I’m sure.
After decorating cupcakes, we had a lunch break, eating our pizzas, Caesar salad and fruit kabobs. Yummy. I personally was stoked to eat, and my broccoli rabe pizza did not disappoint.
Lastly, the Little Sisters learned how to make fresh rolls. This was particularly exciting, because the majority of the ingredients were things that the Little Sisters haven’t ever encountered, including pickled ginger, celeriac, vermicelli rice noodles, mango, scallions and of course the hard rice wrapper, which needed to be soaked. The girls were all extremely excited to work with these (somewhat) foreign ingredients, and loved soaking the rice wrapper, to make it more pliable. They worked so efficiently, some of the girls making probably a half-dozen rolls, in sort of a quiet, zen haze. They might have been tired, but I think they were also pretty impressed at the quality of work they were doing. Once you have the technique of making fresh rolls down — you can pretty much conquer anything.
The highlight of my Little Sister’s day had to have been meeting and working with the executive chef. She was absolutely starstruck with him, likely because she’s such a big fan of Food Network (and Iron Chef, and Ace of Cakes ….and on and on). She did get a chance to work beside him, both when she was learning how to roll out pizza dough and when she was helping him serve the fresh rolls. I think that was easily her favorite part of the day — he was abs0lutely her rock star (and even more so when she found out he had an iPhone)!
I’m not sure what my Little Sister’s ultimate career goal will be, but I’m so excited that I got a chance to introduce her to a catering kitchen. I know she had a good time!