Kitchens Of The Kentucky Dreby (Observation Essay)

1376 words - 6 pages

The Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs in Louisville Kentucky, is the oldest organized sporting event in the United States. People from around the country flock to Louisville to see the fastest horses in the industry run for the crowning glory of winning this historical race. While attending culinary school, I was selected from a list of students to work in the kitchens of Churchill Downs during the week of the Derby. Without prior experience in any high volume kitchens, and after hearing that over the three day weekend of the Derby around 350,000 people would be served, I was very anxious to see the operation. Upon arriving with fellow classmates at the front gate of Churchill Downs, I was taken aback, in awe of the massive size of the buildings standing in front of me. I did not expect to see seven story buildings that stretched a half a mile wide, with steeples that seemed to touch the sky. Waiting outside we were soon approached by a tour guide to help us familiarize ourselves with the Downs, before we started our jobs the following day. After our tour was over, the regional executive chef held a meeting, to assign each school involved to a particular kitchen on the premises. Due to a 112 million dollar renovation, a major section of the west side of the main building was not accessible. This section of the building was used for major parties, upwards of fifteen hundred people. They would have full bars, catering during the races, even their own private betting stations, accessible only to them, and bets were a minimum of fifty dollars. Because of the construction, a temporary facility to house these parties was built in the center section of the infield. Our assignment was to assist the chefs for the catering of these parties. Walking through the huge gates the following morning was nothing shy of exciting. First a left, then a right, and we were faced with two gigantic hallways, side by side, formed from cement, with signs over them. The sign on the left stated: Underpass to the Infield. The sign on the right: Underpass to infield suites Must Present Tickets... Making our way up the incline on the opposite side of the tunnel to the infield, we came upon the facility that was to house the parties we were there to cater for. The size of this building was intimidating; by my own estimation there was about thirty thousand square feet on the floor. The framework of the building was standard steel, sitting on a foundation of brick. Support beams for the roof of the building were cross connected with steel rods on a 45˚ angle and ran the entire width of the building, similar to the construction of scaffolding. The roof and outer walls of the facility were draped with a thin white PVC mixture which was very flexible yet protected the people inside from the elements. Starting the tunnel following the perimeter of the building was a chain link fence, covered in a very hard to see through green mesh, standing...

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