Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Adventures of a kitchen slave, pt 6. I work the line

Sunday 8/22/10
The end of the busy workweek is here! I'm already looking forward to Monday, my only day off. I dare not add up the hours in the last workweek, as I know I have blown past the 60 hour mark. The chef asks, "can you come in on wednesday?" I know that this will mean 4 double duty days in a row (8:30-1:30 @ Gymbo, 2:30-11:00 in the kitchen). "Absolutely", I reply. The opportunities just keep on knocking...It is up to me to find the motivation to tackle them. I had no idea what surprises Wednesday had in store for me.
Wednesday 8/25/10
Venti Starbucks down, I was feeling ready for another exciting day of dicing & slicing. "Let me see your burn!", I'm commanded by the chef upon walking in. How does he even know about that? Someone told him. Someone told him "everything"...my little blog included. Oh no...they aren't going to buy my "nice girl" act anymore?! No way, those days are behind me. Turns out, the head chef thought my tough attitude was pretty "hard core" and furthermore "bad ass". In fact, this turns out to be the reason he wants me, yes ME!, to be his new line cook. I swallow the lump in my throat, and give myself a silent pep talk. I can do this. I can do this, right?

That night, I am trained on the pizza station, but it produces alot more than pizza. A small pizza oven, 6 burners & a flat top grill, this station churns out mussels, cioppino, crab cakes, salmon sandwiches, ahi clubs, veggie clubs, crab quesadillas, and seafood pastas. It's also responsible for making some of the kid food...pepperoni pizza, pasta marinara, grilled cheese (which will always remind me of my Dad. He made the BEST grilled cheese. If we were lucky, ham & cheese. In my mind, he might have well have been friggin Escoffier). The sous chef tells me that they used to call this the Bistro station. I will now refer to it as the LBistro station :)

I could see the surprise in their eyes. I could FEEL the surprise in my bones! I OWNED this station! Making details notes to my menu, I learned how to create every one of these dishes, along with tips for time management. Unsure of what to expect, I exceeded my every intention. This station is my bitch! For the next 4 days, I felt it an honor and a privilege to own this little part of the kitchen. No longer having to ask, what can I help you with (not to imply that I won't lend my help to others), I love having something to be responsible for. I am toasted with my favorite treats to a job well done. I skip off to get something. "Did you just skip?", someone says. They don't know that Ryan calls me Skipper, something I tend to do when I'm excited. "Ok, you have to stop being giddy", the Chef says. "Line cooks aren't giddy. They are MAD, and their anger motivates them." This one is giddy, and may be for quite some time. They will just have to get used to that.

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