One of the great things about the SDC conference is the Speakers Tour. The conference has always been a Monday-Tuesday show, followed on Wednesday by the organizers taking all the speakers out on a tour of the Netherlands.
In ten years, we've done all sorts of things - explored Rotterdam, the waterfront, tulip gardens, gone go-kart racing, paintballing... you name it.
This year was different again for everyone in general, but especially me.
Instead of actually touring around, the tour brought everyone to the seaside. Because of the fall date, the weather is much more pleasant by the sea, although rather windy. We worked from a base location of a restaurant on the beach. There were a number of things going on around the restaurant, including kite flying and various other games. After lunch all the speakers, spouses and crew took bikes to the storm management and water control works. Much of the Netherlands is below sea level, so the Dutch take management of the sea very, very seriously.
But I didn't do any of the tour activities... I was making dinner!
Remi Caron, my friend and one of the conference organizers, approached me a few weeks ago asking if I thought it would be fun to cook for the conference. So the two of us took on the task. We had access to the restaurant for doing the cooking, including some huge grills. We're cooking for about 50 people.
We spent the morning shopping, buying all the supplies for the meal, which included ribs, burgers and salmon. I usually blend pork and beef together when I make burgers, I was surprised to find that butchers in the Netherlands regularly stock such mixtures, so it was pretty easy to get those things together.
We made a number of salads as well, and bought dessert - cleaned out a nice little bakery of all its pastries.
The afternoon was spent in prep work, making salads, burgers, preparing buns, and so on.
Then, when everyone left on the bikes, we started cooking. Burgers went first because they can keep, followed by ribs. Remi prepared the ribs restaurant style, having boiled them with spices and flavors during the day, they just needed grilling and glazing. The salmon went last, which was a combined effort - Remi's spices, my cooking technique of cooking whole, on foil, one turn... just to medium. The trick to great fish is not overcooking it.
In the end, we had too much of everything, but that's to be expected, really. It was fun to make rather North American food for Europeans, all the ingredients are available, they just don't normally cook like that. The guy who owned the restaurant asked Remi and I if we were available next summer for work.
And the SDC folks gave me an iPod Nano as a thank you present!
Now I'm off to Prague... going to drive across Germany on the autobahn and back again. Good fun.