Another week under my belt.
Having been asleep by 3am last night, I slept straight through to 10am with no hope of an early rise. Exhausted, I peeled myself out of bed when my alarm rang. I jumped on the shower, decided my chefs jacket from yesterday was passable (not too smelly or wrinkly) in its current stare and threw on my ill fitting, black chefs trousers. I walk to work in my uniform, swinging by the coffee shop.
When I get to work I swing through the cold store for my lettuce and then walk through the prep kitchen greeted by my old team. “Buen día everyone!” Harriet looks up from her cutlet tying and laughs, “where’s my coffee?!” They’ve all been here since 6am.
I walk down into the service kitchen and settle into my morning. As everyone walks down the stairs it’s a “buen día” or “que onda, putas”.
It was a stressful day. Saturday – very fast paced with people ordering lots of set menus which is our queue to run. We have to plate up two dishes, the caviar which is second course and the ceviche clam which is fourth course. The ceviche is has a ceviche mix as a base with teeny cubes of mango, avocado, habenero and freshly chopped raw clam with four little fresh slices of clam on top and then three sprigs of samphire, three cilantro flowers, three gooseberry slices and about 4 little sprigs of criollo. All beautiful and all carefully placed using tweezers. Finally we top it off with olive oil, sea salt and two sprays of yuzu juice. Incredibly labour intensive. So when people order the set menu, we get working as quickly as we can. And today we put out about 50 +++ set menus. We spent the entire day in a dead sweat.
And I’ve realised that polishing plates (which we do for every dish we put out) is an incredible work out when you’re doing 100 plates in a hot kitchen under pressure.
Finally a 40 minute lunch break.
And then we kept going. More problems with the caviar cream. More tense moments and jokes. And then service ended. About 10.45pm we sent out our last bread basket from the cold station and started cleaning.
Every surface, every wall is washed, squeegied, towel dried and then polished with alcohol. To me this is the most exhausting part of the day – lifting plates and pots, scrubbing.
Finally we finished and the beers came out. Chihuahua waved me over, “Emmy!” (as everyone now calls me) “do you want to learn how to sharpen your knives”. My face lit up – “Yes!” He took out his wet stone. He explained to me in great detail and with great excitement how a wet stone works – the 50/50 angle versus 70/30 and how to achieve both. Ollie walked over (a knife sharpening enthusiast) and showed us how he does it. Chihuahua told me I should have a sharp knife for Monday as I’ll be working with Kevin (head of the cold section) exclusively on the pass. Intimidating.
And now it’s bedtime. And damn am I ever ready for my descansa tomorrow.