First full day in service.
I turned up at 11am (just before) this morning as instructed. Putting my things in my little cubby hole in the staff room with the sous chef, I had a sudden realisation that I was probably late. “What time should I be turning up?” – “Oh about 10.30am”. I laughed. Sous looked up with a smile, “you’re going to be so tired by the end of the day”.
And it was fun! We’re only plating up really, not cooking per se but it’s a real buzz. Learning how to make beautiful quenelles, perfect dots – que bueno.
My main task if the day was plating up flamed mamey with caviar (apparently the best caviar house in the world) with a little dot of some honey cream. At first I was fairly mediocre but really got into the whole process. I managed perfect quenelles and worked out the perfect dots. Sous wasn’t happy with my first few dot’s but Alan gave me a little lesson that stuck. Everyone thereafter was perfect – and quick! The 2 kgs of caviar I was working with cost $4,000.
Chef turned up for about 30 minutes, causing everyone to stand up straight and heighten standards. I got shouted at for trying to pre portion caviar. Not that I cared a huge amount – my skin seems to be getting fairly thick.
The guys on my team are really nice although still pushing you to go faster and be better – and getting stressed in stressful moments. I’ve got Alan, Paps (don’t know his real name) and Colin.
The day cracked on. We had a new treat – a break! An hour! I had my leisurely dinner, sat outside for 10 minutes and then back to work. We hauled ass until midnight – me struggling to understand the ordering system / Spanish / struggling to hear Sous’s orders that she shouts out from the pass and leaning on Paps for help.
I’m working on the pastry girls station for the moment as we don’t have enough space at the cold station. So far the girls are really nice. They’re calm and always seem to have time to jump in and help us – or tell me what I should be doing.
Finally things started wrapping up at the end of the night and we started our daily deep clean.
And the day ended brilliantly. With the manager hauling down a crate of cold beer. At 1am we all sat in the kitchen, relaxed – “chela” in hand, reviewing the day. The bad tip one table left, the burns Ellian got in his first days in tortillas, and the Sunday that stretched ahead. Ten chefs, just shooting the shit. Exactly what I imagined this would be.
After leaving I was desperate for a shower and heading back to the apartment to find Elise. We popped out for a cheeky 2am taco and then crashed!