Another short 12 hour day but damn am I tired! For the first time in a while, I hit the end of the day and could hardly finish. I was just exhausted! I suspect it’s to do with getting 6 hours sleep every night.
The day started as per usual – up at 5.15, on the phone to the fiancé at 5.30 and out the door at 5.55 with just enough time to get to work for 6am (although honestly it was more like 6.03 this morning!). I stumble up to the staff room, greet everyone and put my things away in my little locker. There are now so many stagiaires that I am sharing a cubby hole with someone else – a mystery person in fact as I just keep opening the locker to find someone elses bag on top of my own.
One of my favourite things that we make each and every day is called “Guacachile” which is a burnt aquachile emulsion. The smell of the burnt chiles wakes me up in the morning and the taste is a warm and creamy, coating your mouth with intense flavour.
We got another new stagiaire today, Ogden. He’s Danish and seems like a really fun, nice and quick guy. Full of energy and he’s just come from a stage in Oaxaca. He was telling me about all the great parties and chilled atmosphere they had there. He was asking today about our schedule and when our break is – Harriet, Dara and I all grinned devilishly … “There are no breaks”.
And I found out today that the other practicante (stagiaire) who is Greek and speaks not a word of Spanish, works at a place called Hiša Franko. This is the Slovenian restaurant of Chef’s Table fame. He’s currently staging at The Restaurant for 2 months while Hisa is closed for the off season!
It sounds like a fascinating place. They all live on site in a big dorm situation and are like a close knit family. There is no tolerance for rude or mean behaviour – regardless of skill, you will get booted for a bad attitude almost immediately. After New Years, they shut the restaurant for 3 days and take the entire team on an “all expenses paid” ski holiday in Italy – making sure to supply amazing food, wine and fizz. And while the restaurant is closed for February and March, they get half pay! He reflected exactly what I was thinking when he said “…And no one ever wants to leave”.
Yesterday before I left, I was in charge of making some experimental beetroot. The order came up from downstairs, burn the beetroots, cure them and then cook them with basil (I won’t reveal the whole recipe online but it was a strange and very specific one). I did this without question but honestly thought it was a bit of an odd recipe. Today, the head of hot service, Otto, came up testing the beetroots with the sous chef and a couple of others. I peered in the hallway hoping someone would let me try but gave up when I couldn’t catch anyone’s eye.
Otto (curly haired man who I previously found scary and now think is lovely) came into the prep kitchen saying, “Emily, do you want to try this?” I responded with enthusiasm (also impressed that he knows my name). I bit in and it was delicious! The beetroot and the basil showed through perfectly and the added sugar perfection. I told him about my doubts and how much I loved it – a big grin came onto his face. He described to me how it was made and I stopped him saying, “I know! I made it!” He laughed.
Another delightful day.
This is me signing off for the night.