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Chef Confessions: Culinary Disasters

Q. What has been your biggest culinary disaster? –Calvin, Kaukauna

A. While minor mishaps in the kitchen are pretty common for all cooks, even professionals, I haven’t had too many actual culinary disasters. The most recent one I can remember actually happened just last December when I smoked two crown roasts of pork we specially fabricated for our student culinary club’s annual Christmas party. I had the crown roasts in the smoker for about two hours at 225° F and they were coming along just fine. My goal was to cook them to about 140° F and let carry-over cooking take them to a perfect 145° F and then carve them as the centerpiece for the meal. I took an internal temperature and in two different places got a reading of 139° F so I rested them and thought they would be perfect. Well, either I put the probe in a bad place or my thermometer was off, whatever the reason, when I went to slice the pork it was grossly undercooked. Oh, perfect – epic failure. I had no choice but to put them back in the oven and let them finish cooking. Not my proudest moment, and I made sure to let my students know and took full responsibility. Hopefully it was a lesson learned for all of us!  

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