“Puta, que jjjjjico”
It’s another day at Quintonil.
I slept until 9.30am unable to get out of bed. Body sore, heels cracked and bloody. I text Alex to say I’d miss his call as I ran around showering, ironing and running out the door. I walked off for a quick coffee and arrived.
Changing at work I realise I’ve lost a fair amount of weight.
And so I go downstairs, into the trenches. Everyone’s stressed and running around in the prep kitchen, so I crack on with my tasks.
Downstairs everything runs smoothly. Sous walks down the stairs, “Hola, putas”. We all laugh. And I’ve got my tasks down pat – quick but no stress. Chef rocks up in a good mood. He settles down next to me, shucking clams. He asks me if I saw Chihuahua fall up the stairs the other day (he hurt his knee quiet badly) – I say I did and that I had just laughed at him! Which gets a laugh from the kitchen.
“Brrrriefing” we all walk outside. For some reason they’ve brought out the safety equipment – and Oliver puts on a florescent green vest which makes me laugh. He looks like he’s ready to sing YMCA in a gay bar.
And then “Buen servicio” Sous yells out our starting bell cheerfully.
By service time, things are chilled – I even pop up to help out in prep. I’ve started getting more cheeky with my colleagues, swearing at them and telling them to “f*** off” when they tell me I’m too slow. They laugh, “essssso!”.
Keep going – 2 menus, 3 jaibas, 2 cerdos, 8 menus… prep everything
And then “llevan …” and deliver the dish or accoutrements.
Lunchtime comes and so I pop out for some tortilla soup while talking to a very sleepy Alex (11.30pm his time).
And at 6pm I return to the trenches.
I ask Sous for her opinion on my caviar cream. I don’t think it’s that good. I shake my head and curse, “está puta crema” – she and Bea burst out laughing, “eso!!!”
Paps favourite phrase is “it’s ok, don’t worry” in his soft Mexican accent. He and Chihuahua are so nice and hardly get angry or stressed. I feel lucky to be on the team with the nice pastry girls behind us. The five of us are always laughing and singing whatever pop song comes to mind. Paps bends down to search for something in the fridge and the pastry girls just start kicking him softly in the bum mindlessly. Their expressionless faces push me over the edge and I nearly double over laughing.
Chihuahua is a really encouraging manager. His signature “eso!” when I get something right is motivation enough to improve. And then we were delivering 5 clam tartares for the menu, as Paps was making the mix I said, “wait isn’t one without onion?” – Alex looks up “yes! You’re right!” He pauses, looks at me, smiles and says “I’m proud of you, Emily – you’re learning!”
And so the evening flew by.
Our nightly 1.5 hour cleaning session started. Scrubbing walls – cleaning… everything!! Ollie (head of hot) shouts at me for being careless and spraying my soapy water near some food that we were about to serve. I look up and apologise while heartedly and he just looks at me, points at the suds and looks back at me angrily.
I just keep thinking, you’ve got to be able to shrug things off to work here. And so I am.
Finally things wrap up – “Miami and Emily, go home”. We look at each other and head upstairs.
And that’s it. Bedtime!
Nighty night xx