As is well known, birthdays are a momentous occasion around here at the Hangar and personalized to the likes or, unfortunately, dislikes of our fellow team members. It should also be known that the planning of each birthday is the responsibility of the birthday guy/gal’s pod mate (pod being the term we use to refer to our 2-desk stations around the office). This being said, it was my pleasure to serve up a birthday theme for my pod mate, Gordon, that revolved around something he actually likes – unlike the year we backed up a dump truck to his desk…on his birthday…which you can read more about here.
Along with being our National Director of Accounts, Gordon also serves as our official cooking connoisseur. He usually leaves each day asking “What’s for dinner?” and then proceeds to channel his inner Tyler Florence explaining the deliciousness he’s planning to make his family that evening. He also offers up tips and tricks for kitchen success to those of us who barely manage to scrape together a one-course meal most nights!
With so much cooking experience, Gordon has had couple of run-ins with kitchen safety issues (such as getting a microscopic knife-cut which required him to wear a cast-like bandage on his thumb for an entire week). So, we knew he’d feel right at home with sharp metal kitchen utensils dangling above his area for the entire day including a cheese grater right at eye level.
For lunch, we ventured down the sidewalk to our lovely friends, and one of Gordon’s favorite restaurants, Aqua Terra. Since they love Gordon just as much as we do, they welcomed him back into the kitchen for an inside look at how they make their delicious Panko Tomato appetizer. They also outfitted him with all the necessary sanitary items, which included a hair net…very appropriate. He could hardly contain his excitement! (Although, I’m not sure what the instructor was thinking of his new sous-chef.)
While they didn’t give away all of the kitchen secrets, they carefully showed Gordon how to plate the dish properly.
Within minutes, Gordon had managed to stack tomatoes like a pro and get a smile from his instructor.
And, just to top off the health department’s worse nightmare, our Panko master made his way into the dining room to show off his delicious creation!
The masterpiece – which we allowed Gordon to enjoy all to himself. (Not that we don’t trust his cooking…or that hair net.)
After watching Gordon enjoy his appetizer we decided to play a fun game of “Guess the ingredient!” Enclosed in 10 paper lunch bags were individual ingredients ranging from garlic cloves, ginger root and rosemary to powdery seasonings like curry and nutmeg. Participants couldn’t look inside the bag, but could use their sense of smell, touch and taste if they so desired. Whoever correctly named the most ingredients would win a great prize!
It didn’t take long to discover that we have a lot of sniffers in the group. I’m pretty sure Gordon’s game strategy was making sure no one else would want a bag after he was finished with it.
Poor Jessica wasn’t sure what she just tasted. And since the bags of ingredients had been half-way sniffed, touched and tasted by the time they got to her, there’s no telling what she really tasted. Bradley, on the other hand, learns from Jessica’s mistake and sticks with feeling his way to victory.
But, alas, Gordon lives up to his birthday theme and conquers this kitchen quest like a pro! His prize? The smallest jar of pesto sauce the local supermarket has to offer!
To top off the day, we indulged in a little treat. Really little. Just for my pod-mate, since he couldn’t bear the thought of another Publix birthday cake (or disaster for that matter as in Jonathan’s case), I chose to serve up personal-sized jars of Chocolate Delight with little forks and spoons for each to enjoy. Nothing less for our connoisseur!
Here’s to cooking up many more happy birthdays, Gordon!