Now I have a new morning routine.
Today it was waking up at 10am and running out for a coffee with Elise. We had a delicious fruit bowl and a latte. Perfect start to the day. I then ran off to get to work early as per instructions – for 10.20am.
Arriving to work in daylight feels so leisurely. I ponce around saying hello to everyone and changing into my uniform.
I walk through the prep kitchen, checking in on my old friends and asking how the morning went.
I still haven’t fully grasped / remembered the new morning routine yet, so I headed down to the service kitchen to ask for my instructions. On Saturday night (after shift) I made the mistake of giving our squeeze bottles to the pot wash and so, come Monday, I lost all the tops – so I spent about 45 minutes looking for squeeze bottle tops throughout the kitchen, begging the dishwashers to tell me if they found some – which they did, eventually.
I then had the mission of refilling all the squeeze bottles – which brought the next challenge: Aguachile straining. The damn boxes that we store the aguachile sauce in disappeared. I spent about another 45 minutes searching for and then washing boxes. At one point I tried to give up and ask if I could put them in bags instead. I got a snippy response form Joel who overheard – “just find them”. Note to self, tomorrow grab 3, 1 litre boxes immediately in the morning.
I then rushed to make 45 “shrimp flautas” which is raw shrimp in the aguachile emulsion (that I used to make every morning) wrapped in paper thin miniature zucchinis.
As per normal, my superiors keep leaning in throughout every task and saying “faster Emily” while simultaneously assigning me 5 new, totally unrelated tasks “find this”, “do that”, “can you get me this?” I was in a dead sweat trying to please all my new masters.
But I’m also really warming to my new bosses.
During service I try to listen to and desperately try to understand what is being asked for by either the Chef or the Sous Chef in a busy kitchen. They stand at the end of the pass shouting out orders. Between the foreign language, the noise of the kitchen, the noise of the restaurant and the shape of the actual kitchen (we stand at the far end of the room) I find it impossible to hear about 50% of the time.
My tasks include making a beautiful crab tostada plate, laying little flowers and leaves on top of the shrimp flautas and jumping on the pass to help finish a plate when things are getting busy. It’s a lot of tweezer work. Incredibly specific.
Chef dips in and out of service. Just to check on us and keep us on our toes. He ghosts around the kitchen. And at one point I screwed up a tostada and reached to put it in the bin only to look up and see him standing over me – whoops! And then I handed something off to the pass and he was asking me “what my story was” with a big smile. I stopped and told him about the pop up in London and how I was coming to learn from the source.
Chihuahua continues to be lovely. He tells me to go faster and faster but he’s up for a joke as well.
The day cracked on at breakneck speed and finally it was time for clean up. Every surface of the entire kitchen is scrubbed and every fridge is inventoried by about 10 chefs.
I headed upstairs to tidy up the mess we had made in the prep kitchen throughout the night and found Sous Chef teaching Chihuahua to make her sourdough bread. When she finished, she found me washing dishes and got stuck in and we chatted about her training and what it’s like to be a sous chef at 27.
And then night trod on, it was midnight and several people told me to go home. I tried to hang around asking to help people but everything seemed to be done so I headed off home.
I found Elise at home and we chatted about life and our days adventures until 2am.
Time for bed now. xx