Happy valentines day!
I woke up this morning to a text from Alex, a lime with a smiley face drawn on it and a note attached that said “Happy Valentine’s Day! Garrrriba” I think he meant “arriba” – the whole little scene made me laugh in my half sleep and remember how much I miss my fiancé!
Despite this cheerful note, getting out of bed seems to be increasingly difficult as routine sets in. I’ve started snoozing my alarm and waking up at 5.27am, all of 3 minutes before calling Alex every morning. Somehow I actually manage to get dressed and put coffee / toast on in that time.
And as I rose of out of bed, I suddenly remembered in my haze what today was – Dara’s “descansa”. So I left for work as quickly as I could – walking quickly to cut down on my 5 minute commute.
I arrived and went down to the service kitchen to get the “to do” list and then cracked on. I made a perfect vinaigrette emulsion, and two lovely mayonnaises. I headed down to the josper and burnt 41 lovely beetroots. The list also said under “verduras” (for a salad that we make) “mejor y mas rico” (better and more flavourful) – having no idea what the hell this meant in practice, I asked my superiors who encouraged me to get creative. “If we can’t have fun with this stuff – what’s the point” said Harriet.
This made something really click for me. The thing that’s been driving me so mad – we have no damn recipes! I keep thinking “why don’t they just write the recipe down and then it can be consistent”. But I’ve been missing the point. They could write down the recipe – they could make it consistent. Loads of restaurants do this. Michelin star restaurants depend on consistency. But here at the Restaurant they’re not trying to create robots – they’re trying to create chefs. They’re telling you to be an artist, use your judgement and enjoy the process. And if you have an idea for something new, create a “prueba” – a test – show it to your colleagues and if it’s any good, it will go on the menu.
It was at this point in the morning that I really started having fun.
And so the day marched on – I cooked my “verduras” in the josper after the beetroot and then proceeded to smoke them with the smoking gun (to be fair this was someone else’s idea but I think I’ve got the hang of creativity now!).
And when the service chef’s turned up for service, they asked me what else I needed to do before service – I proudly answered “nothing”. We had a chilled late morning – cleaning soft-shell crab and portioning masa.
This day was a big test for me personally – for my own standards – and I passed.
After briefing the day rolled on.
I popped into pastry to discover that Dotty was making staff meal dessert: little heart shaped cookies. I stole a little raw dough for a snack. I returned later and she was painting them pink with little white outline. And then she sat there with the full staff list and wrote each damn name on a little individual cookie – even down to G – the vegetable delivery man that everyone loves. How cute!
On Sunday I bought a tiny little metal spatula / plate knife. It’s my new favourite tool and I used it to de-seed and entire box of Huazo on my own in about 1 hour. Not bad! – On a side note, when the speed of de-seeding a grain that you had never heard of before 1 month ago becomes a life goal – you realise things are changing.
I then made blue cheese butter.
Another long day. And all finished off with Ivan’s delicious tacos.
Nighty night. xx