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...