After the five-hour train ride, we finally made it to Wuhan last night! We were able to find our way to the hotel and met our next host, Leran. He greeted me with a big smile and a giant hug. He is the main organizer of this event, and I met him the last time I participated in this event in 2012.
This morning we met for breakfast and had a quick meeting about the week. After that we went to th Metro to start shopping for the food that we need for our demos and tables. This is the Chinese version of Costco but there is no membership fee. All you need to do provide them with some personal information and boom. . . you are a member! This place is pretty cool, and I was amazed at the number of American-style items I saw. There were plastic jars of Hellman’s or Best Foods mayo, boxes of Corn Flakes, Doritos, and lots of other American products. It was neat to see it all written in Chinese!
So in China, all of the chefs have to cook and glaze at least eight entrees for each table. Since I am doing tables for Italy and Mexico, I have at least 16 dishes to make. Thankfully I’m working with Alisa, who was my partner in 2012. So picture it, 10 chefs each doing at least one table with at least eight dishes and a demo. That is a lot of food! We left with so many bags and boxes and then we had to load it all on the bus.
Then we went to the convention center to see the facilities. When we entered the kitchen there were lots of small rooms off to the side. It was the first time I had seen a fruit carving room and a dumpling making room! We get to the main kitchen and all of the Chinese chefs were preparing lunch for another banquet. So here we are, 10 Americans standing in the middle of a Chinese kitchen brigade. I saw lots of cool stuff but the kitchen is small and there is not a sauté pan in sight. All woks and no other cooking items, like a six-burner stove, sauté pans, etc. We left the convention center and my mind was already trying to figure out the logistics on how I will pull this off again! We got back to the hotel, had lunch and we will reconvene at 6 p.m. for dinner and 10 p.m. to begin cooking. Let’s just say tonight will be interesting!