Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vendys - Written

Our full-time preparation mode began a few days before The Vendy Awards. Bryan took two days off from work to shop, prepare toppings and caramelize bacon. Friday night we brewed hot chocolate, and finally tucked ourselves in at about 3am.

We were up at 5:30am to pack our rental car full of food and equipment. Bryan set off to pick up our team, and I left for the depot. I had to wait a while for the depot to open. I was given a different (bigger) truck for the day, which was both good (it was big enough for me to stand up in) and bad (it was filthy.) After stripping some unnecessary equipment from the truck and loading up all of the ice cream I would need for the day I took off for Flushing Meadows and met up with the rest of the team.

The next two hours were spent de-gooing and organizing the truck to make it presentable. Our team set about getting our prep area running. We worked right up until the gates opened at 2.

From 2 until 6:15 we served non-stop. Our line was shockingly long, and we worked as fast as we could without spinning out of control. Ice cream trucks really aren’t set up for two people to work, but we did our best to have proper "production" and “finishing areas.” An ice cream truck’s working space is designed to make a cone, throw some sprinkles on it, and get it out the window. We had well over 20 different components lined up, stacked up, and fridged up. The folks in line were wonderfully good-natured, and we are appreciative of their patience. We ran trays of “samples” out to the back of the line. It was our way of letting those folks know that we were aware of just how far back they were… I hope it made a difference. You can’t make ice cream ahead of time- it does this weird thing if it’s left sitting around- it melts! Therefore each order had to be done completely at-the-moment.

Bryan was on the truck the entire time, except for the 30 seconds he came out to get his picture with Jacques Torres. I stepped off to do a number of interviews, each one cut as short as possible so that I could get back to work.

At 6:15 the organizers asked us to turn off our generator so that the awards presentation could begin. We still had at least sixty people waiting. I’m sorry that some of you were left treatless… that’s not the way we want to work, but the situation demanded it.

The awards were presented, though not to us. Bryan and I were so thrilled that we were there at all, and so amazed at the food our “competitors” presented, that I can’t say we were disappointed to not get a prize. Would it have been nice? Sure, of course it would have… but boy, we’ve been winning all summer long. What an amazing experience.

More photos to come.

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