My Worst Nightmare

Jake Fredericks

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Early in my cooking career, I vividly recall the first occasion in which I was required to make a large batch of aioli. For those who have never heard of the term– and those who are unaware of what it is exactly– aioli, is basically a garlic mayonnaise. Aioli is made by emulsifying egg yolks with oil and lemon juice, seasoned with a pinch of salt and black pepper and roasted garlic cloves. When I say a “large batch” I’m talking about enough aioli to choke Old MacDonald’s prize- winning pig at the county fair. So there I am: a wide-eyed, naive culinary student tasked with making a gallon of the base ingredient to our Caesar dressing on his first day working in a legitimate kitchen, and all I see within reach is a mixing bowl and a whisk. The whole process took nearly two hours, and the entire time I was thinking, “There’s got to be an easier way!” Just then the chef entered the kitchen and, noticing the wince I gave with every turn of the whisk, chuckled somewhat amusingly. He returned moments later (still grinning), bent his knee ever-so slightly as to access the counter adjacent to my workstation and unveiled an electric blender in a manner resembling a magician retrieving the white dove from his black hat. Mind, blown.